Thursday, October 16, 2008

T.I.E. (Proceed with Caution)


The following is a rant, pure and simple. I will probably offend you, and if you think that is possible, don't read this, because I don't really want to offend you. I just want to tell it like it is, so to speak, and weigh in on some of the present issues in Ethiopian adoption. So, basically, read at your own risk.

Adoption- especially international adoption- is not for sissies. And it is really not for people who choose to not inform themselves about the process (and the potential for changes in the process) before hand. And it is super not for people who choose to believe that when a government changes it's policies, it is specifically directed at the individual.

I am really frustrated right now... there have been some policy changes (not surprisingly) during the court recess in Ethiopia. And now a lot of families are finding that their cases will be delayed. For some of them, they will be delayed again... months of delays, months of missing those milestones, months of empty arms.

I am so sad for these families- I cannot imagine how horrible this feels, and I am praying for you all. I had the pleasure of meeting several of your babies, and I cannot imagine anything more wonderful that you being united with your precious ones. I am so sorry, and I wish there was more that I could do.

But, to you, the one who incessantly complains- to you I say... GROW UP! This is not about you. This is not about Gladney (and in fact, Gladney is awesome!) This is about a policy change, and only a policy change.

I know it sucks to not be with your child... I know you have to re-adjust your expectations. But here is the thing- your words make it obvious that you have a lot of growing up to do before you can teach your child how to properly behave in discouraging and disappointing circumstances, because you need to learn it first. And maybe this is God's way of teaching you a few lessons.

If you stopped complaining about how you never get your way, maybe you could learn a thing or two about those who truly don't have hope. If you stopped focusing on what you want and when you are going to get your wants fulfilled, maybe you can learn about meeting the needs of others (this is what being a parent is about, especially when your kids are young.) And if you stop complaining about your situation (which, in the grand scheme of things, is not that bad) and started looking at the truly horrible things that are happening in this world, maybe you would be able to put this situation into perspective, and move forward into a place that is less about you and more about benefiting those around you (ahem, again, this is the crux of parenting- it's NEVER about YOU!)

My sister and I were g-chatting about this issue yesterday, and of course, the question she asked is "Why?" Why the policy changes? Why the lack of notification? Why the last-minute scramble now on the part of Gladney?

Why? Because... This Is Ethiopia. (T.I.E.) This is the way it goes. And the only thing we can do is accept it, or move on. Adopting from Ethiopia is a choice- it is not forced on you. And you can either accept that things may change from what you anticipate, or you can move on.

I know this is easy for me to say, sitting on the "completed" side of the adoption cycle, but more than anything, this is a good lesson to learn about life. Because, really, this is life. And there are always situations that are beyond your control- situations that disappoint and hurt and frustrate and anger you. And you can either accept that those situations exist and deal with them, or you can choose to move on in your life to a place where you don't deal with those situations- you can remove yourself from them.

Make the choice. And then deal with it.

And for goodness sake, stop complaining all the time!


Melissa said...

Good call. You're right about having to be flexible and rolling with the punches.
Hope everything is going well as you are settling in with your girls. Thanks again for all your posts (via Faith) while you were in Ethiopia and the pics you posted upon returning. I was doing a little bit of living virariously through you.

Ellen said...

Thank you for your honesty and candor - I am sure that was a difficult post to write.


Lisa and Peter said...

Thanks for your honesty. We all need to strive to develop a "glass half full" perspective, to remember what's important in life -- and to be thankful for our many blessings.

The Albertsons said...

AMEN Grace. We absolutely MUST respect that these are ETHIOPIA's children. They are trying to protect their children. This is all very hard for the gov't, I'm sure. They have a huge number of orphans, they know that they want to help them, and they're trying to figure out how to have these adoptions happen the way they see fit. AND to take care of the orphans remaining in their care. Complaining by Americans only makes us look disrespectful and rude. As I tell my clients, every single time I meet with them: This will not be easy. You must respect the nation you are adopting from. Your agency and the US gov't have NO control over the foreign gov't. Either accept that now, or adopt domestically. Period.
Thanks for your words, Grace.

m&r said...

Oh Grace, after our many chats while in Ethiopia, you know I am with you here. I am so, so sad for all of the families currently in process and sad for what this might mean when we are ready to proceed with our next adoption (which is a question of when and not if). I believe that the government in Ethiopia makes all of these changes in order to ensure the ongoing integrity of their adoption program, and for that I am grateful. I hope families can try to take some comfort in this fact, even though it often makes this process even more challenging and difficult than we anticipate (and even when you do try to prepare yourself for the worst).

Anonymous said...

I can remember waiting for what seemed like FOREVER for our daughter from Taiwan. It just made me sad. I couldn't get mad at anyone, just sad. OThers moved so much more quickly than we did. Then for ET, we were prepared for the long haul and miraculously got through quickly. Unfortunately, it really is the luck of the draw. I know you remember when you got down because you thought you wouldn't get your referral before rainy season. It sucked. BUt in the end, I can attest, as you can, all the sadness/anger/complaints go out the window when you are holding your child.

So, I don't have any wonderful advice to get those who've been waiting through this last hurdle. I can only say, it will be a faint memory soon. And concentrating on others as opposed to yourself does help you get LIFE into focus and realize there are others suffering way more then you think you are.


Jennifer said...

Kudos Grace. It is sooooo what many of us have wanted to say. When we began our process, we were told to roll with the punches. That things will come up, balls will drop, programs will shut down...we will face hurdles, we will carry crosses, we will cry and think it isn't fair- and it isn't and if someone told you life was fair, well, they are liars- and it teaches us to grow up and WANT this child more than we have ever wanted anything before....adoption is NOT for sissies. if you can't take this part, I would love to be a fly on the wall when you go to get them and you miss your flight, your guest house floods, your kid has worms, etc...etc... the world keeps revolving and I for one am thrilled that Ethiopia cares as much as they do that they do things right.

VALARIE said...

Well said Grace. Honest and to the point. We all chose this road, our children have few choices and NO voice. Thanks for speaking up.

LoveNotes4CocoPrincess said...

Thanks for the "reality slap" it makes us quiet down and remember the purpose of the journey!

Sandee said...

Bravo. I don't belong to Gladney. but have cybermet many folks like you describe..and it is draining.

I have worried about the children joining their families...if this is how they handle setbacks. Makes me pray for them more.