Our Adoption Journey: Benjamin & Joanna

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Since we’ve been married, our discussions of having a family always seemed to include both biological and adopted children. Adoption (both domestic and international) has played a large role in the growth of both of our families, so starting our own family in this way seemed natural. After doing some research, we were drawn to adopting from Africa. This was mostly because of the tremendous need for adoptive parents in this part of the world. We wanted to be parents, and there are millions of children in Africa that need parents. It seemed like an easy decision for us.

We began to learn about the new Ethiopian adoption program through AAI and decided that it was definitely a good fit for us. There was some uneasiness at first since AAI had not even brought home a child from Ethiopia yet when we started the process. However, we were impressed by the relationships AAI had seemed to form with Ethiopian contacts and orphanages and were confident that this program was the one for us. Once we got started, we were surprised by how quickly everything moved along, and we were swept away by the momentum of the entire process.

We first received pictures of our son, Mikias, in April 2007. What an amazing experience to be able to see pictures of the baby boy we would soon be bringing home. To feel an attachment to someone that you’ve never met before was an incredible feeling. Of course, seeing him in person made all the work and waiting we had gone through worthwhile. On June 8, 2007, Mikias was placed into our arms at the Adera Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After thinking about him and staring at the same pictures of him for so long, it was very moving and wonderful to see him in person and hold him. He smiled at us instantly, and we both couldn’t help but smile too!

Our experiences while in Ethiopia will be unbelievably important to Mikias as he grows older. We will be able to tell him all about the culture and customs of his birth country. We both took the opportunity to learn and remember as much as we could. In addition, while in Ethiopia, we were able to meet and talk to Mikias’ birth mother. She was so gracious in allowing us to ask her questions. We hope to share this encounter with Mikias in the future. Also, much of the luggage we brought with us to Ethiopia was actually filled with donations our friends and family collected for the orphanages. Many of the highlights of our trip were the visits to the orphanages to drop off these donations. Everyone was so unbelievably grateful and appreciative.

We are so lucky to now have Mikias as a part of our lives. He has fit into our family perfectly, and we’re honored to call him our son.

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