This is a family picture we planned to share when we could announce we made it through the African court system and officially have parental rights of these 3 precious boys. Instead we are sharing this picture under much different and unexpected circumstances.
We can share this picture now because we have withdrawn our application to adopt.
This likely comes as a shock to many of you… You’ve journeyed with us the past 3 years as we began this process and have experienced the highs and lows of meeting the boys, going through the court system, experiencing several setbacks and an initial denial in the courts.
You’ve supported and encouraged us as we’ve quit our jobs and given up everything to move to Africa to start raising these boys. We’ve been committed to this process and fighting for them with everything we have. So what could possibly lead us to end this process?
I’ve been reading a book called “In Defense of the Fatherless: Redeeming International Adoption” by Amanda Bennett and Sarah Brinton. In talking about International adoption, Bennett explains:
“There are times children are separated from their families due to death, diseases, abuse, or neglect. Most of the time, however, children are separated from their families due to poverty. Families in desperate situations make the decision to place a child in an orphanage or for adoption because they feel they have no other choice. Moments like these require great care to protect vulnerable children and families...”
In the situation of these boys, they were neglected and abandoned by their mother, leaving them with their father who works full days in order to provide for the family. Even with a job he struggles to make ends meet and does not have the resources to care for 3 children as a single father.
Therefore, he had to seek out other options which led to our adoption process. However, during our time in Country, we have come to find out the Father would like the boys to remain in the country and does not want them to be adopted.
It is very common culturally here for single parents to put their children in orphanages because they are unable to provide for them. This does not make them true orphans and does not always mean the parents want to relinquish their parental rights and have their children adopted.
It is often a temporary situation as orphanages tend to be able to provide more food for the children as well as an education.
With that said, we can in no way continue fighting for our adoption to go through. We now need to transition to fighting for this family to be reunited, even if that can’t be done immediately. Everything in this entire process led us to this moment. Without it, we would not have decided to move here, and if we didn’t move here we would not have found out this very important information.
It is absolutely devastating for us as we have loved and considered these boys our sons. We never imagined this would be the outcome and we are just beginning to grieve and process the impact this will have on our lives.
With our adoption ending, we do not believe our care for the boys should end. It will just look drastically different from adoption. It is very humbling to live in a foreign country and try to figure out what is best for children in a culture completely different from your own.
We naturally see things through an “American” lens which doesn’t easily transfer over to the African culture. Since we are just tapping the surface of learning the African culture, what we think would be best for the boys could really not be best.
Thankfully we have a very good relationship with the orphanage director and trust him completely. He is a local man and is helping us figure out the best next steps for the boys. We feel our job is to ask questions, but ultimately to trust his wisdom and guidance as far as what would be best for them.
As of now, we plan to enroll the oldest in school as soon as possible. He should’ve started in January but we asked the orphanage director not to enroll him since we were moving here and planned to home school him. Schools here are currently on break, so we will be able to get him enrolled by the start of the next term in a couple weeks.
We are visiting schools so we can decide which one to enroll him in. The twins are still too young for school, but will be enrolled for January 2019. In the meantime we are working to find the best living situation for them and plan to meet with family members and the orphanage director in the near future.