Adoption: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

adoptionAdoption can be a wonderful beautiful amazing thing.

But it’s also messy and complicated and risky and not quite so black-and-white as I originally supposed.

World has orphans. Orphans need families. Families adopt orphans.

Sounds nice and tidy, but oh is it ever-lovin’ not.

Before I jump into an explanation, let me share a non-update update.

I haven’t blogged about our adoption lately.

Mainly because for a long while there, nothing was happening.

Well, that has changed.

I can absolutely say that things are happening. A big decision was made and we’re moving forward with a strange mixture of caution and eagerness.

I promise that as soon as I can be less cryptic and more specific (hey, that kinda rhymes), I will. As soon as I have something I can share, I will gladly shout it from the rooftops.

Until then, I’ll say this:

We’ve learned so much. Our brains are water-logged with all the learning.

We’ve seen the sticky, rarely-talked-about underbelly of adoption, especially from impoverished countries like Congo. We’ve learned that the greater the need in a country, the greater the risk for corruption. Which should give you a hint at what we’re up against. DRC is one of the poorest nations in the world. It is a war-torn country ravaged by AIDS and poverty that has resulted in an orphan crisis that is most grievous.

Yet I wouldn’t encourage anyone to adopt from there until they’ve done much praying and are willing to do much research.

How does that work?

If there’s an excess of orphans, let’s hurry up and adopt them, right?

Well, not quite.

There are orphans who will never have a family unless they are adopted. In which case, go adoption!

But then there are orphans who already have a family. A family who wants to raise them, but can’t feed them, so they end up in orphanages that can feed them. Orphans like the ones mentioned in this post.

Many orphans in Congo fall into that second category. They don’t need a new family. They need assistance reuniting with the one they already have.

Yet there are agencies and lawyers in country who have turned a blind eye to the corruption, to the fraudulent papers, to the lack of investigations done to ensure that the children being adopted should actually be adopted. Which is exactly why the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasha is now requiring an additional 3-6 month investigation before they will issue any Visas. They are trying to clean up the mess these agencies and lawyers left behind.

So what do we do with this information?

For us, it meant reconsidering everything. We tossed around domestic infant adoption, foster care, trying to conceive on our own, changing countries, stopping altogether.

But the more we prayed and fasted and sought guidance, the more our hearts kept landing where we originally began.

The DRC.

Only this time we come armed with knowledge we didn’t have in the beginning. And knowledge is power, right?


So we’re going to wield that power. We’re going to use it to help us do all we can to make sure we’re not somehow adding to the corruption in the country. To make sure we’re doing everything possible to navigate an ethical adoption.

This means asking the tough, uncomfortable questions. This means taking extra precautions – like a third party investigation. This means checking my emotions at the door, because my mama heart yearns to race headlong with eyes and ears shut tight. This means being on our knees, praying for God’s best and God’s truth.

This means TRUST. Oh, heaven, trust.

It means surrendering all my fears to a God who knows everything–not just my past, present, and future, but our child’s past, present, and future too.

Come what may, He’s got a plan and a purpose for having the Gansherts on such a crazy, nutty, eye-opening journey. To Him be the glory.

Now, If you’d like to help we crazy, nutty, open-eyed Gansherts travel such a journey, then please hop on over to our Adoption Fundraising Blog.

Because it’s big-time time for another fundraiser. One that I am totally, completely psyched about. It involves a puzzle, a sharpie, and 500 willing hearts. I get teary just thinking about what a testament the end-product will be to our little one someday. We’re also selling t-shirts and hosting an online Tastefully Simple event! So come on over, read the details, and know that we covet your support and your prayer.

All donations are tax-deductible, thanks to Lifesong for Orphans!

Let’s Talk: Have your eyes ever been opened to something you had no clue about before?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
~Micah 6:8

13 thoughts on “Adoption: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Come visit today – promoting your new fundraiser 🙂

  2. Holly

    Oh Katie…the wait must be excruciating. Especially knowing what you know about the plight of orphans in the DRC. I’m trusting and praying that someday soon you’ll be holding the tangible reality of God’s perfect plan in your arms…your sweet and long-awaited little boy or girl. Until then, allow yourself to be the paralyzed (wo)man and ride on the faith and prayers of the people who love you guys. I only say this because I was reminded last night about all the seasons along the way where I just couldn’t pray about a baby anymore. I had to trust that God knew my heart and my desires, and that my friends and family would carry my prayers on my behalf. It’s what the body of Christ is all about, and it was SO freeing. And what an incredible testament this will be to Mara someday when I can point to each and every person who prayed her life into being. The same will most certainly be true of the next little Ganshert. We’re in this with you for the long haul…

    Love you, sister.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Love you right back, Hols.

  3. With you in the wait…and the learning…and the wondering…and the trusting. Thanks for the update!

  4. I love hearing about this journey…I’m sorry it’s been such a long one, but it’s just so cool to hear about your and Ryan’s heart…I can’t wait until the day you get to announce amazingly happy news!

  5. Thanks so much for posting this, Katie. You are so very right. Like everything else in life, adoption is a beautiful thing–until it’s twisted. As an internationally adoptive mother who is starting down the same path again (different country, older child) my heart is tuned to both the need and the rampant corruption. Praying blessings over you and your family!

    1. Katie Ganshert

      You’re adopting again! That is so exciting Nicole! Would love an update when you get the chance!

      And you’re right – it is beautiful, until it’s twisted. Unfortunately, there are a fair few people in Congo twisting it right now.

  6. Mary Bauercamper

    Wow, read your post and the blog post you attached. That really opened my eyes to a whole new side of adoption. Naturally, there are lots of families that don’t want to lose their “babies”, yet they do. I had no idea… Thank you for opening my eyes to this… May I never be the same…

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Amen, Mary. It’s been an incredibly eye-opening experience. I’ve learned so much about the plight of the orphan and how well-intentioned adoptive parents can actually unintentionally exploit the orphan and the widow in their eagerness to help. It’s so very complex and complicated.

  7. Oh, Katie! There’s so much in this world our hearts and brains struggle to grasp fully. Thank you for educating us on such a heart wrenching process.

    I visited an elderly home while in Haiti, and it was almost as heart-wrenching visiting with people who knew their loved ones wanted to be with them or take care of them, but they simply couldn’t. And these family members usually lived in another area of the country trying to survive, so these elderly people pretty much felt like their sons and daughters had already said good-bye to them. It broke my heart! It’s breaking my heart again right now writing this. But it’s so important for us have our eyes open to such matters.

    Praying for you so hard my friend!!

  8. Oh, Katie, your honesty is going to bless many, I just know.

  9. God has a way of doing that–opening eyes. He does it for me a lot & I’m ever-lovin’ grateful!

    Excited for you, Katie!

    Going to head over to your site after I get my hairs cut.
    ~ Wendy

  10. Wow, that sounds like such a test of your strength and faith. My hat’s off to you.


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