Returning to Visit First (Birth) Family

Honeybee with her sister in Ethiopia

This week’s Tuesday Topic is one I have thought about quite a lot.  Leslie asked the question:

Our 7 year-old Ethiopian daughter, K.,  has been with us for a year.  We are in process of adopting a 3 year old boy and hope to travel for court in July.

We are trying to decide whether to take our daughter with us. I met her birth mother when I was there last year and liked her very much, although, of course,  it was a very emotional meeting.

My husband is concerned about our daughter’s attachment to us being impacted if we take her to visit.  K seems attached to our family and happy.  She used to throw tantrums a least once per day about not getting her way – clothes, food, etc.

In the last month the tantrums have been rare.  She sometimes pouts, but is not crying and throwing herself on the ground.

I would like to take her to visit and we probably will not be going to Ethiopia again for several years.

Has anyone taken their children back to Ethiopia to visit birth relatives after only a year or so?  How did you prepare them?

I know she will feel some sadness but I don’t want her to be devastated and feel torn.

As your comments came in, I read each one and thought to myself, “That is a really good point.”

I have thought about this question every day since I posted it last Wednesday, and to be honest my thoughts have been all over the place as I’ve sifted through the implications of taking your daughter or not taking her.  I am going to offer my opinion, but know that I offer it very humbly and with a rather small voice, because it is a complicated question and there is no one right answer.

Four Years – plus Four Kids – Forever

Departing Addis with Eby and Little Man - March 2007

Today is our fourth Forever day with our four children!  Four years ago today, we met them, at two different orphanages, with two different agencies processing our adoptions of three of our children.  We met Honeybee that day as well, but had no idea she would later become our daughter.

Isn’t it amazing to consider the way we plan, and prepare, and think we are in charge of our own lives, only to look back and see that we could not have planned this is we had tried?

Tuesday Topic: Is International Adoption the Right Response?

Dimples at the orphanage -- Fall 2006

This question comes from Renee who asks:

My husband and I did not enter into international adoption lightly; in fact we gave it *much* thought. In the end it seemed right, and we felt it was where the Lord was leading us. I still wonder though, even after bringing our son home, whether it was in fact the right thing to do. To take him out of his home country. To perpetuate the cycle of westerners swooping in and carrying children away, instead of putting our money toward programs that could help to break the cycle and keep children in their families of origin.

From Soddo to Italy to Idaho

Eby in Addis - March 2007

I am amazed by God.  Truly amazed, and I’ve got a great story to share with you!

When Russ and I adopted Eby, we knew he had an older sister.  She was seven years older than Eby and they had lived together with their mother in Soddo.  We traveled to Soddo on our first trip to Ethiopia and learned that following their mother’s death, the children had been separated and M. (I’ll abbreviate her name) went to an orphanage nearby. We were told that she was then transfered to an orphanage in Addis and adopted by an Italian family.

Before I Knew She Was Mine

This photo of Dimples was taken the day we met her.  You see her surrounded by other children as they play with balloons we carried on our long journey to Ethiopia.

We knew Dimples was ours, but we had no idea that the little girl on the left, now lovingly nicknamed Honeybee, would become our daughter.  Honestly, it amazes me to witness the hand of God in our lives.  He knew — He really knew that this child who happened to be in front of my camera would be my daughter.  I am in awe of this.