In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big Kid Update - including Brooke

 Yesterday was a bit rough since it was Gabriel and Alayna's last day in Virginia. California is just so far away and three years is just so long. Here's a quick picture right before they walked out the door for the airport.

 JD and I with them -

 We had some sad little people. I wouldn't think that Selah would understand, but she understood enough to cry.

Gabriel and Alayna both rank right near the top with Elijah - I'm afraid it's going to be really hard on him!

We did get news that they landed last night and began the housing hunt today; it's not going to be easy with the size dog that Harley is.

We are also down to the end of the time Alyssa is away - she should be on her final week's work in South Africa. I have heard very little from her, but it's all been super positive.

Alyssa in Ethiopia last year
After a full year of waiting for progress with Brooke's adoption, they finally leveled with me that she isn't progressing. Although it's not good news, I appreciate someone finally explaining what the problem is. The issue is that there are two paths that allow a child to be cleared for adoption in Ethiopia. One is the child is abandoned and there are police reports indicating it; the police then are the responsible party as that child progresses through the court system. The second is that the child has a relative that relinquished them to the orphanage; that relative is then required to appear in a few court sessions and an embassy appointment authorizing them to be adopted. There are also approximately two million children like Brooke - children that are stuck because they don't have a living, or willing, relative to do their paperwork, nor were they abandoned. These children are often the ones who need adoption the worse, yet they are trapped in a system that won't allow it.

Study hut at Brooke's orphanage

The difference between Bella and Brooke is that their mom was alive to appear in local and regional court for Bella's adoption. Bella was then hung up in federal court because her mother was in a coma. The judge said that she had to wake to sign the final order, or pass away and the death certificate could be used. We held on to Bella's referral (we were asked if we wanted to swap for a child without a glitch) and it was only the matter of a month or so that her Mom passed away and the judge finalized the adoption with the submission of her death certificate. At this point, Brooke still lived with her mother and only entered the orphanage after her mom's death. Now we are back at the beginning and the local and regional court will not accept the Mom's death certificate in place of a signature and there is not a single living relative to sign for her. Her packet has been in the the local court system for a full year!

coffee at the orphanage
So, we are in a bit of a difficult position. We are not going to progress like a normal adoption, but neither can we walk away from her knowing that we are her only hope for a family. Bella is her only living relative and her future in Ethiopia would be to age out of the orphanage at 15 and be on her own with no means of support.

I asked the adoption agency what they recommended that we try. They are going to check to see if she is able to represent herself in court in place of a relative, because at her age of 13, she obviously is old enough to verify that her mother passed away and that she has no other family. Our other attempt is to petition MOWA (Ministry of Women and Children) to give her an orphan packet based on the fact that we already have her biological sister.

The plan is that I will be making a trip to Ethiopia in the next few months to see what door may be opened and to just reassure her that we aren't giving up on bringing her home This adoption is going to require extra prayer!


  1. Brooke's situation makes me feel physically ill. My children have a brother in the same situation.