She was curious as to why we chose another country and not the US. I seriously cried happy tears reading her message. I told her it was a post in writing, but I gave her the shorter version. Here's the longer version...
The thought of children being abused and neglected has always made my stomach turn. I've never understood how someone could hurt children. Yes, sometimes children are difficult, but to hurt them? Really? I posted last time that I went into social work in college to change the world for these kids. My first job out of college was working with children and youth at a non-profit counseling center. About a year later, I started working for the state investigating child abuse claims. It was a hard job, but necessary. There were times that I had to put children into the foster care system. I know the numbers...there are over 100,000 children available for adoption in our foster care system. We always thought this would be our route to our son. It seemed right. We knew we weren't trying to adopt a brand new, teeny tiny baby and we thought a private or international adoption was way out of our financial league.
But then we started really researching it. And we found that our family could not meet the needs of so many of the waiting children in our foster care system. We just couldn't. It was a hard reality to swallow, trust me. For months I felt like such a hypocrite. How could I have, at one point in my life, put kids in foster care to try to make sure they were loved and had a family, and now not be willing to be part of the solution for their lives. I cried many, many tears. I wondered how we would ever fill the desire of our hearts to adopt a child. And so we prayed.
We thought about a private, domestic adoption, but again we weren't set on adopting a teeny, tiny baby and it just didn't feel like that was the route God was leading us to.
Finally, we started to consider international adoption. Even though God already knew my heart, I told him that this route scared me. How was I going to "prove myself" to two different countries? How in the world were we going to afford a $30,000+ adoption? How would we pick just 1 country among many that allow international adoptions? How....so many things?
The more we considered it, researched it, and definitely prayed about - a huge sense of peace began to fill our hearts. We remembered that all we're required to do is to be obedient to Him and He will work out the minor details.
The process and cost for most countries is very similar, so the biggest thing we looked at was the travel requirements for each country. Some countries require multiple small trips, some require one short trip, and some require one long trip...so this was a big factor in eliminating several countries.
For a while, I had my heart set on one country in particular. Jacob did not. It was a hard few weeks for us in our adoption discussions. I reached out to a couple of adoptive mommy friends and simply asked them to pray for us, as we had reached a point where we could not even talk about adoption. They both responded separately, but told me the same thing...that he is my husband, he is the leader of our family, I need to let him take the lead on this. Honestly, my first thought was, "Okay...I wasn't looking for an Ephesians 5 lesson, but whatever." But, I did take their advice. I decided I was going to be quiet about the matter and just let God do all the talking to Jacob - His voice is so much louder than my own, right?
Once I stopped talking, I started listening. And as I listened, I realized I was wrong. What?!?! How could I be wrong about this? There were almost 5 MILLION orphans in this one country, who risk death at a very young age because of poverty and hunger. How could this not be the country? How could this not be where my son was? But it wasn't. Don't get me wrong, there are many sons and daughters there waiting to for their mommies and daddies to find them, but our son is not one of them.
One day Jacob just walks up to me and says, "Colombia. What about Colombia?" And, friends, in that exact moment I knew in the depths of my heart that he was right. That was where our son was. We prayed for confirmation and over and over again, God gave it to us. The number of orphans there aren't as staggering as it is in other countries, but one thing I've come to realize is that it doesn't matter where it seems like the biggest crisis is...an orphan is an orphan, and they need a mommy and daddy...whether they are in America, Africa, China, Russia, Latin America, or anywhere else in the world.
So really, we didn't choose Colombia, God chose it for us. And God doesn't see national borders or races or ethnicity's or any of that...He just sees hurting, broken, lonely children who need and want a mommy and a daddy. And He sends people, who are willing to be obedient, to get them, to love them, to parent them...to be their mommy and their daddy. And so, Colombia is where our son is. That is where we will go to get him and bring him home.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6