Randy and Sary-Jo recently returned from Ethiopia with their two boys, Fraol and Behayelu. This is an awesome family and here is a bit of their adoption story...
We believed (and continue to believe) that God called us specifically to adopt two older children from Ethiopia and that He led us to the Adoption Ministry of YWAM in a way that could only be God’s way. As we partnered with YWAM, we had little knowledge of the process, despite the fact that we are, shall we say, more mature than most adoptive couples. Following initial meetings and discussions with Joy Casey at YWAM, we downloaded all the materials and went away to fill out the application paperwork. Yes, we actually spent much of our 30th wedding anniversary trip to Las Vegas filling out the adoption application. Seven years with an empty nest was enough!
We began our homestudy and spent many hours reading the biographies of – and praying for – the waiting children. Also, we were aware that the staff of YWAM would be praying for us and we continue to feel God’s comfort. We then seriously explored scenarios for our children – what might they be experiencing as they leave everything they know, travel thousands of miles, and settle in with these strange people as parents? Trying to empathize with them before we even knew their names really helped us and, we believe, will continue to help us as we parent.
During the homestudy we asked how the referral process would work. Specifically, would YWAM suggest children based on their knowledge of us or would we “choose” from the waiting children? In all candor, we really were not prepared for the responsibility of choosing. When we learned that the selection was up to us, we prayed earnestly for God’s direction. How could we choose two of the waiting children and leave the rest behind? It was probably the most emotionally draining part of the entire process, but God gave us unity in our selection. Contrary to what we all expected, God led us to two brothers. Boys! We just didn’t see that coming, but it’s consistent with how God has acted throughout this process – His wisdom rather than ours. We would not want it any other way.
The process of international adoption has periods where there is so much work to be done in a short time that it seems overwhelming; there are also periods where you sit back and wait, hoping that the gears are turning elsewhere. Hurry up and wait. During these downtimes, we were eager for any news, pictures and video of the boys. As you can imagine, once we knew our sons we just wanted them home!
When we traveled to Ethiopia and got through Immigration, Abebe (YWAM’s in-country representative) was waiting for us outside. What a great host he turned out to be! Everything we had hoped for was accomplished during our four short (but sometimes long) days in Ethiopia. Abebe and CHI’s Pastor Abdissa were very attentive to us and essential in-country resources.
At YWAM’s recommendation, we stayed at the Ethio-Comfort Guest Home and were overwhelmed with the hospitality! Tsebay and her staff were so warm and welcoming that we almost felt like family with them. Food and bottled water were available whenever we desired it; the boys played in the courtyard and on the balcony. We even updated our blog a couple times using their internet access.
After the long trip home, the boys spent the first days exploring their new environment. It was a joy to see things through their eyes and we continue to be amazed at their reactions to things we see every day. They are attaching well and adjusting to life in the Averill family. We continue to benefit from the support of YWAM. Because we live so close to the office, Joy has visited twice and the boys really enjoyed seeing her. When we started this process, Joy told us she knows all the kids because of her frequent visits to Ethiopia. It’s clear that she (as well as Mark and other staff) knows them all VERY WELL, which is a great comfort to us. Liane, our social worker, has phoned to check in and offer counsel as well.
We’re still at the beginning phase of a long journey parenting these boys. So far, our experience with the kids has been amazingly positive although we realize there will be ups and downs along the way. We believe we have all the support necessary to get us through whatever comes down the road – sharing our many joys and guiding us through the challenges.
Be sure to check out The Averill Family Blog! Thank you Randy and Sary-Jo for sharing this with us!