Today is an important day in the lives of our two sons, Josiah and Gideon. As you read this, a private investigator is interviewing their biological fathers in Eastern Congo. We set up this investigation for several reasons- to hear their father’s hearts, to get details of the boys’ history, & to confirm that the boys are, indeed, true orphans. We feel it is critical (& our responsibility) to know that the best effort has been made to keep the boys in their own country & international adoption is the last hope for these boys (without them remaining in an orphanage until adulthood).
But this has not always been my approach to orphans and adoption. The story of our adoption of Solomon from Ethiopia almost two years ago might help explain this transformation…
When we met the 21 year old, she showed us where she found him. “It was early in the morning & I was on my way to a funeral. I heard crying & I found him here.” H confirmed the details in our paperwork & as she recounted the day she found Solomon she was able to give us extra insights that were not in our paperwork. It was a sweet, sobering day but we now had the truth confirmed & could rest assured that we had enough of his story to share with him someday.
It’s been almost 2 years since we brought Solomon home from Ethiopia. You can watch his story here.
A year ago when I tried writing Solomon’s story I remember thinking, “I wish we had met his birth mom & that she had given us her blessing to take her son away. I wish she had expressed to us how much she loved her son but simply didn’t have the means to care for him. If all that were true then writing his story would be easy- he’d always know that his first mom loved him.” I hated the fact that one day we’d tell Solomon he was found abandoned.
This year as I try writing Solomon’s story I now think, “I’m so very grateful I didn’t have to look into the eyes of an impoverished mother who loved her child but was making the hardest decision of her life by handing him over to us. I don’t have to tell my son that I took him away from a mother who loved him.”
The truth is, I will never know if Solomon’s birthmother loved him well or not. I don’t know why she (or his father) relinquished him.
Why am I writing all of this & where am I going with this? With all my heart, I’ve come to believe the world doesn’t need more orphanages. We need more families! Ironically, if we try to solve the problem through adoption, we can make things worse. If we apply our energy and resources toward preventing children from becoming orphans and international adoption as a last resort, we might move in the right direction.
More to Come…