my husband, jamie, and i started an adoption from ethiopia in the spring of 2009. various life experiences had impressed adoption on our hearts before we ever even met. when i was 14, my cousin adopted a 9-month old baby girl from china. as i watched her grow up and ride horses and play instruments and be loved by a family, i couldn't help but wonder how her life would've played out had she not been adopted. for jamie, the desire to adopt was placed on his heart as he became interested in justice issues related to children. his dream is to one day use his law degree to defend the vulnerable in another part of the world.

when we began to discuss starting a family, it seemed adoption came to the forefront of our discussions immediately. while we considered pregnancy, we felt God calling us to pursue adoption first. for me, the calling became clear through a religions of africa class i was taking at the time through my studies at wake forest divinity school. not only did that solidify our calling to adopt, but it also opened up my heart to adopting from africa.

we researched african adoption and found that ethiopia had one of the easiest and most predictable adoption processes of african countries open to intercountry adoption. we signed with christian world adoption in may 2009, pursuing the adoption of a baby boy. however, 2 months later, we felt God nudge us further and decided to adopt 2 children. after many months of raising money and gathering paperwork, we officially got on our agency's waiting list on february 2, 2010.

at that time, the wait time for a referral was 4-6 months, and we expected to have our children home by december 2010. however, as adoptions in ethiopia slowed down, the wait time for a referral quickly jumped to 9-12 months. in december of 2010, our adoption agency told us we were next on the list to receive a referral for unrelated children. but due to a decrease in toddler referrals and families changing preferences, we continued waiting for months. in july 2011, we decided to accept a referral for an infant and complete that adoption while continuing to wait on a toddler referral. we expected to receive a referral almost immediately and were disappointed as we continued waiting.

finally, after 19 months waiting for a referral, we received a phone call about a 9 month old boy on september 9, 2011. our agency also informed us that they were expecting one last piece of paperwork for a 3 year old girl soon. we received her referral exactly one week later.

on january 5, 2012, we met our children for the first time in ethiopia. we stood before a judge on january 10, 2012 and consented to the adoption. the judge approved our cases that day, declaring us our children's legal parents. after a paperwork delay, we were submitted to the US embassy on march 13, 2012.

on april 16, 2012, we were informed that our son's case had been sent to the uscis office in nairobi for further review. on april 18th, 2012, our daughter's case was cleared. on may 4, 2012, our son's case was cleared. we left for ethiopia on may 13, 2012 (mother's day) and were reunited with our children on may 15. we arrived home on may 19.
for us, adoption is not merely a choice we have made to grow our family in a particular way. instead, we see adoption as a calling from God and a picture of the gospel. you can read more about the gospel and what i believe here.