Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not The News We Wanted to Get Today

We did get our phone call from Acres of Hope today, but it wasn't to tell us our case was finalized in the Liberian courts. Instead, it was to tell us that we aren't going to be able to adopt JJ at all.

JJ's father returned to the orphanage and removed him from the program. He was under a lot of pressure from his family, especially his sister, to not go through with the adoption. One of the staff members from AOH visited with the family and explained that this case was at the final stages in the courts, and that our family has been preparing for JJ to be a part of our family, but their minds were made up.

In the beginning, we were told that JJ's father was injured during the war and lost his leg. Being disabled, he had been unable to provide for his son, so he and JJ's mother came together to relinquish him to the orphanage for adoption. I thought that since both parents were together and in agreement to the adoption, that we were safe from this happening again. I've been worried that the anti-adoption propaganda floating around Liberia might cause problems. I'm not sure if that was the case here, but I think it might be. I pray that they will be able to take care of him. Hopefully, the extended family that was so against the adoption will be able to help care for him.

Karissa, my wise beyond her years little girl, listened to me tell her that JJ would not be able to be a part of our family. She gave me a back rub and said, "Mommy, all of the things that have gone wrong for our adoptions aren't bad things."

I asked her what she meant, and she said, "They are good things because now they don't have to leave their families."

I know that this news will be frustrating to our friends and family members who care so much about us. I don't have a lot of answers to the questions I'm sure you have. When Rachel called today, she was in tears right along with me, and was just as frustrated that this could happen to us again.

I'm not sure I understand exactly how things work, but I think the children in the orphanage are wards of the state. The orphanage provides shelter and helps to facilitate the adoption, but they are like foster parents, and are accountable to the Ministry of Health. I don't know if they have the authority to not return a child when the birth family comes back, even if they have gone through the relinquishment process. I think they see themselves as a humanitarian organization and can't keep a child that parents want back regardless of where we are at in the process.
At least, I think this is how it is.

I do know that the staff meets with the adults bringing the children to the orphanage three times before they allow them to leave them at the orphanage. They explain what adoption means and make sure they understand and have time to think about it before they will take the children in. Then they do all the relinquishment paperwork ahead of time, and then they give the referral and start the process. These precautions don't keep lost referrals from happening, though. I don't know how to fix the problem. I guess it is just the risk you have to be willing to take. I don't want to adopt a child that a family wants to raise themselves. I just want a child who needs us to be his family.

Pat and I aren't sure what we want to do next. If we accept a new referral, it will take approximately 6 months for this new adoption process to be complete and that puts us right at my due date for the baby. If we continue, we will have to update our immigration fingerprints and documentation and our homestudy, because these will expire soon. Please pray for us to have discernment about where to go from here.


Owlhaven said...

I'm so sorry.....praying that you will know the path you should take.



Anonymous said...

praying for you and your family, Becky. I am at the beginning of the adoption process and feel the same way, that I want a child who needs us and don't want to take a child away from those who want to raise him/her. It seems like there needs to be a change made somewhere to keep this from happening and breaking expecting families' hearts.

Crystal said...

Becky, I am so sorry!!! I will pray for God to give you wisdom as far as what to do from here. Take time to grieve the loss of this little guy. We had a failed adoption in Sierra Leone back in 2005. But then we got a referal for our son, Luke. I wouldn't change it for the world. It sure did hurt at the time though. My heart truly breaks for you!! I have watched you go through this process and I was so hoping you would have your son home soon. I am praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Becky, I am SOOO sorry for your loss. I knew JJ before he was ever brought into the orphanage. When I welcomed him to the orphanage I thought "the Avella's should get this baby". I was so happy that you did...for awhile. I am heartbroken right along with you because I KNOW he needed you guys. I pray along with you that his extended family is able to give the care his dad couldn't.

Yes, the process is as you say. Despite who has legal possession of the child, the child MUST be returned if the biological parent comes back for them. It's a very hard reality for adoptive parents.

Remember that this adoption is about the work God is doing in your life - not getting a baby, not even helping an orphan. It's about how God wants to be glorified in and through you. Getting a new child and helping an orphan are just a result of the work God is doing. I encourage you to stay with the process. You are a wonderful family and would make some little boy's dream come true. And your good attitude through this all has been a testimony to many about the work God has already done in your life, even since you lost little Ben (I knew him too). I will be praying for you.


Christine said...

I can hardly believe this is happening to you again :( Over the years, we've had children we thought would be ours fall through, a couple early in the process, a couple later in the process. We've had people tell us, oh, you can just get another one. They don't understand the emotions involved and the attachment already made, for us it was kind of like a miscarriage.

God's plan is perfect...even if we don't understand it now. Praying God's wisdom for you as you decide what step to take next.

Michelle said...


My heart is right where yours is right now. Please know that you are not alone. I will continue to cry out to God on your behalf. Remember, "Come, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you REST." My prayer is that you would fine rest in Him.

Michelle Johnson

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry. Praying for you and encouraging you to stay the course that God has laid out before you.
Debbi Busack

Andrea said...

I I don't even know whatto say to you but I am so sorry. My heart is broken for you guys and I was weeping as I was reading your blog.
We will continue to pray for your family.
Much love,

Amy said...

Becky, I'm so, so sorry. This is such a huge disappointment. You must really be leaning hard on God right now. You are becoming stronger through all of this, and I know God has big plans for your sweet family.

Lisa said...

Becky, I'm so angry you have to experience another loss. You are an amazing woman and you have shined God's light throughout this adoption ordeal. I am so very sorry. Praying for comfort for each of you and wisdom as you plan your next steps.
I will continue to uphold JJ in pray too and his family.

Mrs. MK said...

OH, Becky!!!!! HUGS! I am so sorry!!! Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you----in fact, I just was sharing your story with my husband yesterday morning, before I knew about this latest suffering.

God is good....all of the time!

Scarlett_333 said...

Hi there! I am just trying to get the word out to other families who adopted (or are adopting) from Liberia, that the Charity of the Month for March is a family adopting a little boy named William from Liberia, and who already adopted a little girl named Naomi. I am stylizing blogs for $20 to raise money to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and $5 of every blog stylized in March will go to their adoption. Thanks so much!