When we started our adoption process 9 months ago, we knew enough about international adoptions to know that this process was going to come with unexpected hurdles and difficulties ... and that the very nature of this adventure was going to require a great deal of faith ... maybe even more faith than we feel we could muster at any given moment in time.
Yesterday was such a day as we received the devastating news that our trusted adoption agency filed for bankruptcy and seized all services effective immediately. If you know Bjorn and I, you know that we researched potential agencies with pain-staking detail. We'd still like to believe that it was an ethically and morally outstanding agency who just happened to come under very hard times following circumstances mostly out of their control (like the recent ban of US adoptions in Russia, one of their largest programs). Unfortunately for us, there was no indication of just how deep their financial hardship was until now. It is one of those pieces of bad news that you just don't see coming. And that even after re-reading the e-mail announcement time and time again, you still are not quite sure you understand. And yet, as devastating as this news is to us and our adoption, unfortunately this is the reality of international adoption: Policies and laws change, countries open and close for adoptions, and subsequently agencies sometimes lose their ability to survive.
Our agency has transferred all of their open cases to another agency that is willing to help families complete their adoptions. This, however, only sounds easy on paper. It requires us to redo a great deal of the process we've already completed .... including making changes to the dossier we submitted 2 months ago, and ... of course ... re-paying some if not all of the agency fees we've already paid. At this point, we've paid for about two thirds of the total adoption expenses (mostly from loans), which was A LOT of money ... and the vast majority of that money went to services provided by our agency, which means they are non-refundable. Some people we have shared this news with have speculated that because it is a bankruptcy surely there should be some refund to the families. Even though we will consult with a lawyer, I honestly do not believe that will be the case. Of course, funding this adoption in the first place was a huge stretch for us financially, and we still hadn't figured out exactly how to come up with the remainder of the fees due later this year. Humanly speaking, having to repay a large chunk of the agency fees we've already paid could mean the financial end of our adoption. Right now, we are at a total impasse, at a loss of ideas and words.
If we believed only in what was humanly possible, of course, we would have never chosen to adopt in the first place. We believe instead that there is a child out there, without a family and a home, a child loved by our Heavenly Father, a child who already found a place in our hearts and will one day have a place in our home as well. We believe that in all things, God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight ... but I'll also admit that to be a pretty big task right about now.
So my heart is a sad one today ... sad about the trust that was broken, the faithful partner in this journey we lost, sad for what this means for our own family and our ability to bring our son home, sad about all the other families affected by this terrible news (some of whom we call our dearest friends), and so sad over the fact that for some prospective adoptive parents, this might mean the end of their adoption journey. Beyond everything else, of course, my heart just grieves for these children with families on the waiting list like ours ... children within reach of a forever home, who are now being hurled back into the nightmare of life in an orphanage.