We have officially withdrawn from the Ethiopia adoption process, we are adopting from Uganda independantly and are open to a child older than a baby!! You see, we were suppose to be adopting from Uganda all along. That is the country that first stole our hearts. Bryan has been there on a mission trip and we have sponsored children there for almost 8 years. The truth is that we already felt terrified in following God's plan for our family to adopt period much less from Africa. Remember that I am the one who never expected to consider adoption, not the one who "always knew at some point it would happen". No I am/was the type A with a plan and comfortable with our control!! Well I (Bryan included) are here to tell you that THE ONLY plan is GOD's plan and He is in charge of everything. Uganda adoption seemed a bit scarier to us at first so we really feel like God had to take us down the road we have been on to be able to follow Him down this one. None the less we feel confident that we are where He wants us. There are huge differences and you will learn about them as we go along. I will tell you that we (as a family) have experienced the most spiritual adversity we have ever faced. I will not post the details but just know that the devil has been working overtime to keep us from hearing God speak to us about this. As we have prayed God has shown us many things including the age factor. We originally said we would only except a child 0-12 months at time of referral. We were really convicted that God did not just accept or adopt us in our purest most innocent form. AND our physical adoption really follows our spiritual adoption so we are open to a child up to Cole's age . (actually approved for 2 kids up to 6 yrs old just to leave God room to work) We truly want to see God in this. God has already put some amazing women in my path just as I have prayed and I am forever grateful to them for helping me on this journey.
So I am sure that you might have questions spinning in your head and I am going to attempt to answer them in a question and answer format. (told you about the type A personality)
Question 1 Does this mean that you have to start all the way over?
Yes we do have to prepare a different dossier, however a TON of the same stuff is needed so a lot of it can be reused. Also our home study just had to be amended (already done) and sent back to immigration for that to be changes. (mailed this week) I thought I would never have to do a dossier again, especially so soon ;) but it just doesn't seem like a big deal this time....maybe because we are doing what we are suppose to be doing.
Question 2 Are you going to lose money?
Yes the money that we already paid to Holt is lost. However we consider that a small price to pay in order to truly follow God. Also we think this adoption will not cost as much so it should kind of make up the difference. God always funds what He favors and He does favor adoption.
Question 3 Does this have anything to do with the slow downs in Ethiopia or Holt?
Absolutly not. I would tell you if it did but we had been feeling uneasy about where we were before all of the latest news. The uneasy like we are not following him and we have our own agenda uneasy. Not the this is taking too long, I can't believe all of this is happening, what are we gonna do now uneasy. Holt is a very good agency and if I ever felt called to adopt from country that you had to use an agency and Holt was there then I would use them. I feel like they do their best. Holt does have a Uganda program but they wouldn't let me open our age up like we know we are suppose to do. AND we won't let anyone or any agency dictate God's plan for us. Our money also wouldn't transfer from Ethiopia to Uganda with Holt. We are totally open to the plans God has for us in this adoption. We have set our own parameters long enough.
Question 4 What is your timeline now?
The real answer is that we really don't know. It is a very different process so we will know more in a month or so but I am hoping to have another sweet child in my house in under a year.
Question 5 Will you have to go twice?
We do not have to go twice like we did in Ethiopia. However there will still be a court appointment and then an US embassy approval process for a visa. We ( ALL 4 OF US) plan to be in country for this entire process. The Cantrell Family will be spending between 4-8 weeks in Uganda and that is assuming that everything goes well....which we of course are praying for. This question brings me to the next one.
Question 6 Is is safe for your family? (Which really means is it safe for my kids?)
Now this is Africa, it is not Canton TX or anywhere in the US. It is a 3rd world country. There are many dangers, however we obviously are doing everything we can to ensure a safe trip. BUT....the bottom line is that when GOD calls you to something it doesn't really matter if it is safe if you are committed to following Him and raising your children to follow Him. It will be an experience that they will never forget.
Question 7 How will adopting a child that is possibly older going to affect your kids? Won't they have so much more baggage than a baby?
All of this IS going to affect my kids!! However I believe that it is going to affect them in the most positive ways. They are going to get to experience the healing power of Jesus and the difference the love of a family makes. Averie and Cole are going to possibly see a child in the deepest depths of despair turning into a child that is a part of our family in every sense of the word. They are going to get to be a part of that. This is really a whole blog post in itself. They will more than likely even get to teach their sibling English!! And like I mentioned earlier WE are adopted into the family of God sometimes at our worst...so who are we to say that we will only take an orphan at his or her best. It is all in God's hands. Oh yeah, and yes they are going to have to give up more time with us but I have so many friends with 3-5 kids and no one would even consider this an issue if I were to announce that I was pregnant again.