For two years my family has been living at the base of a volcano. We have seen evidence that our adoption would be complete one day. But for months at a time, we waited impatiently for an eruption that seemed always in the distant future.
For two years my family has been living at the base of a volcano.
We have seen evidence that our adoption would be complete one day. But for months at a time, we waited impatiently for an eruption that seemed always in the distant future.
Finally, the metaphorical vent has opened, and months of hope swallowed by delays, faith fraught with frustration and excitement delayed by investigations gave way to an eruption of joy when the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa set a date to finalize our adoption.
In less than two weeks, we will take custody of a handsome little 4-year-old, and all of our lives will be changed forever.
What could possibly stand in the way of such a wonderful event? How about a real volcano? The metaphorical volcano has now been enjoined in a battle of wills with a real volcano.
I have learned a lot during this adoption process. I know a lot more about the legal process of adoption. I also learned a lot about adoption as a spiritual parallel to how God includes us as members of his family. I have learned that nothing is ever to be taken for granted.
When we first started this process, adoption from Ethiopia required only one trip to the country, and the country was one of the friendliest to international adoptions because of its incredible number of orphans –– more than 5 million in a country of about 80 million.
During the process, Ethiopia’s congress voted to require two trips to more closely scrutinize adopting families, and the country’s agency that approves adoptions dropped its output from almost 50 per day to only five.
I have also learned a lot about faith. Our family firmly believes that this adoption is divinely appointed and part of the path God has placed before us. We have been anxiously waiting for the day when we go from a family of three to four so the reasons for that mission will begin to unveil themselves.
I have also learned about poverty; what it is and what it isn’t. Poverty isn’t being forced to live in a small house and only eating out at cheaper restaurants. Addis Ababa is home to some incredibly wealthy people. But it is also home to the most abject poverty I have ever experienced.
In addition to all of that I have now learned, there is a Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. The VAAC website showed an ash cloud from a volcano called Nabro in Eritrea –– one of Ethiopia’s neighbors and rivals –– spreading across the Horn of Africa.
Because this volcano is in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest and most arid regions of Africa, no lives have been lost to the recent activity, but many local and regional flights have been delayed.
Somehow, I am not even slightly surprised that a volcano could become the latest in a long line of unexpected delays in this adoption process. Previously believed to be extinct, Nabro exploded into life after a series of earthquakes in the area. VAAC said the initial eruption threw an ash cloud about eight miles high.
The activity is expected to be short-lived. But until the domino effect caused by the earthquakes, Nabro was believed to be extinct. This eruption surprised area residents, scientists and certainly me. But it wasn’t a surprise to God.
In a week or so, when we board that flight and prepare for the final leg of this journey, he will still be in control. We’ll be there exactly when he wants us to be, and that is good enough for me.
The final moments of a process that took years to complete are approaching. Soon our new son will sleep in his new bed and play with his new brother. We’re not going to let a little volcanic eruption stand in the way of that.