Our daughters took dance class together, so we started hanging out in the Starbucks upstairs sipping our grande skinny Caramel Macchiatos🙂 Little did I know the impact those coffee dates would have in my life. Over our first coffee, I asked her to tell me the story of her adoption from Ethiopia. With her drama background, the story she told me was mesmerizing… just like a movie. Her adoption journey left me feeling like I could accomplish anything. A lot like the movie Seabiscuit where you find yourself standing up in the movie theater cheering as the horses are battling down the home stretch. A story about not having a chance in the world to defeating every obstacle put before her. I was inspired by her story of courage and determination and perseverance and ultimately love. She is one of the first brave pioneers that adopted from Ethiopia, without the assistance of a staff or agency to help her.
My first adoption hero…who exemplifies courage, is Randi Shetley. She and her amazing husband, Shane received a referral for 2 sibling boys from Awassa, Ethiopia in 2001. Randi’s mom owned an adoption agency, but this was brand new territory for them. Americans had rarely had a successful experience adopting from Ethiopia. They waited 15 months to travel to Addis Ababa to bring the boys home, but tragically, they lost the boys to circumstances that were out of their control. The day they heard the news, they were shocked to hear they received another referral for a boy-4 and a girl-6
This time, Randi completed her new paperwork and updated her home study in record speed and 3 months later headed to Addis Ababa to officially complete the adoption procedure…ALONE!! The family that traveled right before her had spent 10 weeks in Ethiopia to bring their children home, so she knew she was heading into the unknown… the road less traveled, literally. Every morning she headed to court, but was turned away day after day due to the judge out fishing (for real!!) She hit every obstacle imaginable during her extended time in Ethiopia, but never gave up. Finally meeting the judge, he took one look at her completed authenticated dossier and threw it in his garbage can…yelling at her (and I quote) NO GOOD…START OVER!! She left his office completely discouraged, but not destroyed. She would pull out all the tools she had and start again. I always had a hard time believing this part of her story, but it was true. My adoption hero started over from scratch in a foreign country. For all of us that understand the incredible amount of paperwork that is involved…this was truly a heroic, action packed, massive undertaking. Randi never gave up. She trusted in God to help her through every single detail and He showered her with mighty miracles every step of the way. She was protected from the corruption at every level, but slowly… page-by-page, she completed a new dossier. She felt beat up, bruised and punished emotionally, but in the end, after spending over 3 weeks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she WON the race and came home with her beautiful children!!!
I met Megin, her first week in America. My husband and I were helping out at Kindergarten indoor recess, due to the rainy day. I recognized her immediately as the precious girl recently adopted from Ethiopia, but had no idea her new mom was going to be my hero:) I smiled at her & she immediately came over and sat in my lap. I was in heaven. I signaled for Roger to come over and say hi. He smiled and reached out to pat her shoulder. All of a sudden, this quiet calm little darling let out a blood-curling scream & went into hysterics. Poor Rog waved his hands up in the air, so no one would think he was pinching the screaming child.
Beautiful, courageous, radiant, vivacious Megin is now 12 years old and is our adopted niece. She still teases Roger by screaming at the top of her lungs when she sees him!!!! LOL
My adoption hero started a ripple effect in our community. There are dozens of families that are adopting from Ethiopia, but I have had the rare opportunity to know one of the *pioneers* who helped pave the way to make these adoptions even possible. Thank you for being so brave and strong and passionate about the children of Ethiopia. Thank you for making a difference. Thank you for holding my hand through the crazy ups & downs, never doubting for a second that we would bring Zoie home.
Randi & Shane currently live in Kansas with their Awesome 5 children …2 biological and 3 gifts from Ethiopia!!!!
We love you!!!
*Please share YOUR adoption hero story*
I can’t wait to share my Adoption Hero #2