We are officially adding to our family, one last time! Our oldest (Abeba and Mary) have a little brother that we have known about for a long time now. He has always been a part of our family of course, but mainly in our hearts and our girls’ memory. We finally met him earlier this year and saw the situation in which he was living. We were hopeful that maybe he would be fine. His basic needs were provided for and we will always be thankful for that. Their mother brought him to relatives to help care for him temporarily, when she was sick. She was planning on coming back for him after she got better. She did not get better and passed away. She was distant to many of her family members for reasons that we are all too familiar with now, in which we will not go into details out of respect for family. We could never imagine the circumstances people are in here. When I asked our girls just the other night, “was anybody concerned about where he (their brother) was after your mom passed away?”, they answered “we were concerned with how we would survive ourselves”. If you do not know, the girls were on their own after their mother passed away. We are thankful for very kind friends/neighbors that stepped up to help them out. We are forever grateful for this family.
So fast forward to this year, and we confirmed the suspicions we had that he was not treated as a son. Families here certainly open their homes and provide for other family members, when it is necessary. But they are not typically embraced as a son or a daughter. We know it was never their mother’s wishes for him to be raised by these family members. She wanted better for what she had growing up. She valued education for her children. She instilled a fierce love and faith for the Lord. Her character, that we can see glowing through our daughters, is not our doing, but because of what their birth mother taught them through her example of kindness and generosity to others, even when you have very little. This is not the same that we see from family here. It is unfortunate. We have never felt our family is complete until he was with us. But of course the timing of it all has to be kind of laughable. Really? As we are getting ready to leave one country and re-integrate into our home country—is not the best timing. We have to start over now in the states. We are blessed with our church’s generous support, but we still are in the position of starting over. We sold all of our things to move to Ethiopia to set up an orphan prevention program, and now we have to replace our belongings, come June. But we trust that God’s timing is best.
We have started the adoption process now to get our newest Sullivan home. We are having our homestudy done here in Ethiopia to start the process. We don’t know about timing of things, as international adoptions go---you never really know. But our current social worker thought more along the lines of December, and I (Bridget) am praying for a miracle of this summer? So, we will see. We just recently spent a few days with him in their home town. He is great. He is FULL of energy. Oh my. Eyob asked (as he couldn’t take another step) , “does he ever run out of energy?” We never saw him stop! We had a lot of fun. He giggles a lot. He is a happy boy. We all wanted him to come home with us, of course. But we need to follow the rules and wait. So, here we are again, riding the emotional roller coaster of adoption again. Only this time, it seems different in a way? We already loved him before, now even more that we have all met him in person.
Since the timing of this all is not ideal for our finances, we are in this uncomfortable position now, to ask for help. This adoption will cost anywhere from $23,000- $30,000. I know---huge number that makes us gasp, too! The same amount for a private domestic adoption, mind you. We certainly feel like we can provide for another child financially and emotionally, but this large sum of money to begin with, will be difficult to get, without help from others. And no—there are no other siblings out there of any of our children! We truly feel “full” –our cup over floweth now with 7 kids! We could not imagine our family without him in it. Who knew our life would turn out this way? Our kids are all so excited to add him to our family. It may even make the “wait” worse with everybody loving him so much already. Oh—and he is 6 years old. He is a good head shorter than Eyob. So we are thinking he will be younger than Eyob? But we will see when they get his birth certificate.
Thank you all so much for your support and prayers in the coming months. Also thank you for considering contributing and sharing with your friends to our adoption. Not everybody is called to adopt. But maybe there are people that want to support adoption in this way, versus adopting in their own family. We cannot wait to welcome him home.
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Mark & Bridget