When I was a freshman in high school, I remember walking through our court yard and seeing a dollar on the ground. I thought that was pretty lucky, so I bent down to pick it up. Just as I went to grab it, the dollar moved out of reach, seemingly by the wind. I took a quick step, tried to stomp the dollar, bent down again to grab it and each time the dollar jumped at the last second. Finally, I took off my back pack and threw it at the dollar and as I did, a group of seniors lost it. They had tied fishing string around the dollar and were pulling it away as people reached for it. Apparently I had given them the best show of the day as they were laughing hysterically…
It’s hard to put into words the whirlwind of the last few weeks, and even more so the last 24 hours.
To give you a quick re-cap. We found out four weeks ago that we had our final approval from Federal Ministry of Women Youth and Children’s Affairs (MOWYCA). Our team was requesting a court date for the first week of May. We were anticipating getting our court date which would determine our travel date sometime this week. We had started packing. We were taking typhoid pills and had gotten yellow fever shots. We were scheduling follow up appointments withLittle Man’s doctors. We’d talked to travel agencies. We had scrambled to get his room done. I had given my last day’s notice (for the third job i’ve quit during this process) and been transferring my case load. We had gotten someone to house sit and were making arrangements for schooling when he gets home. This was finally happening, after 3 long years, we were actually going to go get our son.
On Monday we got a notice that Little Man had to appear in court to testify that he wanted to be adopted. He did this previously and this is customary with older children but he went over a year ago so apparently the court wanted him to do it again since so much time has passed. We were told we would hear something, again, most likely our court date within a few days. Tuesday and Wednesday passed with no word. Then on Thursday we got notification that Federal MOWCYA has suspended the review of all adoption cases immediately and indefinitely. There was no reason given or time line given. While we already have our approval, they are also not issuing the letters we would need after our court hearing to get our US embassy appointment to process Little Man’s citizenship. Consequently, we will not be traveling in a week like we thought we would. Initially, this meant that we would wait until MOWYCA opens up again which most likely will take months. At that point the court systems shut down for a few months in the fall. So we were looking at potentially traveling sometime at the end of the year. We were told he most likely didn’t know about us specifically and they would wait to tell him until things became more clear.
This was the backpack throwing moment. Just as I was sure back then that I could catch the dollar with my bag, we were sure that we were going to get our son. We had his room ready, we had just bought him a couple pair of shoes, we contacted a travel agency, we were packing bags… This was our all in moment. The moving target we had been chasing was actually within reach. We finally let ourselves get excited and let our guards down enough to feel the emotion of the moment. We thought it was safe, so we threw our backpack at it.
Friday we were able to talk with our worker and she had some different information for us.
Little Man did not go to court on Monday. Instead his guardian (a neighbor) was summoned to appear (again) to testify that he is an orphan. This has to happen before May 17th as that’s the date they have assigned to review this step. At that point Little Man may also have to appear in court. The team in Ethiopia is hoping that we will then be able to get a court date and travel even if MOWYCA has not opened back up yet. We would go for about a week to do court and then come back and wait for an unknown amount of time, until MOWYCA will issue the letter we need for our embassy appointment. While this is more hopeful news, it’s still an extremely uncertain timeline for events happening in a very unstable process.
We also found out that Little Man did find out about us. This, quite honestly, sounds like it was an accident, as the worker told him because she thought we were coming in the next few weeks and did not know about the delay. Had she known she would not have told him because it can be really difficult for children to learn about a family wanting them but not understand why they aren’t coming for them. They often don’t have the ability to understand that we aren’t coming because we can’t, not because we don’t want to. We barely understand the road blocks we keep encountering, let alone a child in survival mode trying to wrap their minds around this. We may be able to correspond with him sometime in the future but have not been given the green light to do this yet (nor do we know what this would look like).
On my bathroom mirror is a phrase scribbled in green letters that I wrote on there a few weeks ago as we were feeling overwhelmed with the rush of all the things that needed to be done before we left.
There is a enough grace for this moment.
Those words were true then, and they are true now. We are devastated and crushed. I fell asleep last night with tears streaming down my face as Little Man’s face wouldn’t leave my mind. I just desperately wanted to be with him. To look him in the eyes, to hear his voice, to learn his laugh. God set us on this peculiar path three years ago, simultaneously pausing all the plans and goals we had for ourselves. It doesn’t make earthly sense. but neither does the Gospel. And neither does our hope.
Meek and Britt:
A few weeks ago when we shared the news that we were finally going to be traveling to get our son, it was easy to praise God and to give Him glory. Today it’s harder. But If God is not the same good loving God when life isn’t going the way that we want, as He is when life pleases us, then He can’t be trusted. The Bible doesn’t work in that scenario. We have put our faith in the God of the Bible and we know that He loves us beyond measure in the midst of great joy, and in the midst of intense pain. We know that suffering is not pointless, and we have felt the comfort of a loving Father in the midst of this news that we really don’t like.
We are pretty crushed, we have both cried, and God is so good. We ask our 4th and 5th grade boys in Sunday School, “Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means that your life will be uncomfortable?” Our answer is yes. We believe that we are pursuing what God has called us to and even through the process has taken 3 times as long as we originally thought, and been much more difficult than we expected, we don’t believe that we misunderstood Him. So in the things that go the way we like and in the things that don’t, we give God praise. Here’s our song tonight.
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your glorious name!