Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grow Your Family Series: An Ethiopian Adventure

This post was contributed by Jackie, a long-time friend (and former babysitter - LOL!) who blogs about their family adventure over at The Mullis Life

Important things you should know about her family?  Her family of 5, started this process almost 2 years ago, and her {first} 3 children were extremely involved in the process. 

You can follow their journey from start to finish over at Our Ethiopian Adventure

But before I steal anymore of her thunder, here's Jackie:

"Two years ago this month our family began to pray about and to discuss adoption. At the time, we decided that what was best for our family was one baby boy and that was specifically what we were looking for.

Looking back now, I have to laugh at how little control we had over our circumstances and how God was using everything that happened, from the agency we chose to the people we met to direct us to the two children He had for us.

Yes, I said two.

And no, not the baby boy we were planning, but a strong, handsome 10 year old boy and a beautiful baby girl.

God is funny that way.

He takes our plans, turns them inside out and show us that what we wanted might not be the exact best thing for us, and what HE has is so much better.

One month after our paperwork was in Ethiopia, we received word, through another family in our agency, America World Adoption Agency, about a 9 year old boy in Ethiopia who was what they called a double orphan - both of his parents were dead. His sister had been adopted through another family and he was completely alone in Ethiopia. So much loss in one short life.

We printed his photo and put it on our fridge.  As a family, we began to pray for him on a daily basis.

It only took a few weeks of looking into his eyes and praying for him by name for our 10 year old son speak the words that our whole family was feeling. This boy did not need a family to step forward to adopted him. He needed our family to be his family. So we asked our agency to look for him and then we waited.  For 3 long months. Finally, he was found on October 14, 2010 he was referred to us.

Within a few months, we were given the referral of a precious baby girl as well.  And no baby boy.

But we were thrilled!  On January 17th, 2011, we left for Ethiopia.  We were on our way to meet our children for the first time. It was a wonderful week of getting to know them and loving on them.

At the end of our visit, we gave our consent to the Ethiopian courts that we did indeed want to parent these children.  Then, with heavy hearts, we said goodbye and left Ethiopia not knowing how long it would be before we would see them again or how long it would be before we could have them home with us.

It was a long 5 months before we were granted parental rights and were able to go back to bring them home.

But it was God's timing.

On Father's Day - June 19th, we walked back through the gates of the the Greensboro airport with our arms and hearts full, to be greeted by family and friends who had come to welcome the two newest Mullis children into their hearts as well.

June 19th , 2011…Finally a family of 7. At the airport, our first family photo.

Adoption had always been on my heart and Greg and I even talked about it in our first year of marriage. I am so thankful to see a growing trend of couples that are choosing adoption as a first choice to grow their families. I think that when there are no other children in the home yet and when finances might be a little more plentiful would be a great time to look into adoption.

We had explored the possibility of foster care (cheaper) or domestic (usually faster, but with greater risks) , but felt like the Lord was calling us to adopt internationally and specifically, Africa.

After much research, Ethiopia kinda chose us. The program was one our family fit the qualifications for and more than that, the children were all so adorable!!

To say that a white girl growing up in the mountains of Virginia adopting an african child is a stretch would be an understatement! Much less 2 of them.... 

Nathan, Abigail, Sarah Faith, Esther and Micah Mullis

The fact that the Lord was very clear on this helped me so much in answering the many questions and doubts that were voiced to me by others and were echoed in my own heart. God has shown our family over and over that He has an heart for orphans and that race or location doesn't matter..He loves us all the same and wants to take care of us.

I have heard people say that after a while you don't see color anymore, but I hope that never happens to me. I love the fact that our family is so diverse now. I love my sweet baby Sarah's brown curls and Micah's big chocolate eyes. I heard it said one time that instead of being color blind, let's be color blessed. I pray my family always celebrates our differences this way. As the exact special way the Lord created us all.

If anyone feels led to adopt, my advice would be to first evaluate your family dynamic and see what would work for you. Foster care, domestic adoption or international. Then research the heck out of it and find some Been There Done That's you can ask lots of questions to. Read blogs and request information and let the Lord lead you to the right way to go. There are many resources available and grants to help with the costs as well. You can always check out my blog and email me if you have any questions that I could help with.

~ Jackie Mullis

1 comment:

tasmiley said...

love the term colored blessed.... :)
i wish we were all like this....