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Adoption from Nigeria

Sep 27, 2018

When Shane and Beth got married, Shane did not want children.

But, when they got pregnant unexpectedly, everything changed.

After baby Allen’s 1st birthday the couple decided to go on an adoption journey to Nigeria, Africa.

On this episode, Beth takes us through all the challenges and blessings they experienced bringing sweet Ruth home…then Beth shares surprising news about their family!

Joined by her mother in the studio, April asks Beth how she first heard about ADOPTION NOW:

Beth says that the moment she and Shane were matched with their daughter they dove into research on everything adoption-related. The ADOPTION NOW podcast and blog was an invaluable resource.

But at first, her husband Shane did not want kids. Beth says that she and Shane were alike in so many ways: they had similar backgrounds and saw eye-to-eye on almost everything... with the exception of their desire for children.

They went to counseling and took a marriage and family class at the local university. Using open communication as a catalyst for compromise, Beth soon found herself pregnant before they had a chance to really discuss having a child.

But that’s not the only big change that occurred at this point of their lives: they both had career changes and that necessitated a move to the different part of the state as well!

April asks Beth what having their baby Allen was like in the first year of his infancy:

“That first year was so hard but so good...just all of these things that you don’t know how to handle, so you go through them.”

April wants to know if Shane’s mind quickly changed about kids during Allen’s infancy. She states that at first, he was a little tentative and slow to interact with his son because Allen was such a tiny, delicate person. But his outlook certainly did change very quickly and he felt like fatherhood made much more sense to him once he grew comfortable with having a baby around!

After about a year and a half, they broached the subject of having more children. After Shane put forth the idea of adoption, they soon found themselves leaning more towards adoption than having another biological child. 

When asked what their preferences for a child were, Beth says they tried both international and domestic to broaden the chances of being matched. They also decided they wanted an older child, preferably the same age as their son Allen. 

Beth says that they realized they would have to choose either international or domestic adoption. After speaking with a friend who used to be a social worker, they were informed that for their preferences the most likely option was international adoption.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving. While Shane and Beth were involved with the India program they had set up with their adoption agency, Beth had a sudden realization. It was while she was habitually checking the website for children who had been recently placed that she saw a few babies from Nigeria and decided to inquire. One little girl in particular really stood out to Beth.  She emailed her agency and wanted to know if it was possible to switch to the Nigeria program. 

At this point, April asks Beth if they were one of the first couples to get into the program:

“We were actually the very first family to adopt from Lagos, Nigeria. We were kind of mini-celebrities at all of our appointments.”

When asked about how adoption works in Nigeria, Beth explains just how complicated it can be. Considering that Nigeria is broken up into 30+ different states, all of which have different adoption policies, the process looked daunting. Lagos is the only state that is open for adoption and they had the prospect of possibly waiting for 1-3 months in Africa to have their daughter Ruth.

They also had Allen to think about, who was just 2 years old. So Beth wavered a little bit, thinking of if he got sick or hurt, being in a foreign country and what that would mean for medical needs. 

They ended up staying in Africa for 9 weeks in total! April talks about what her time in Africa was like, and Beth shares her experience interacting with the different culture. 

After having a difficult first few weeks with her, Beth and Shane noticed Ruth smiling and naturally changing in demeanor over time. And the transition from orphanage to home was actually very smooth. Currently, little Ruth is doing fantastic. Beth says you’d think she was born and raised here.

For much more on what their time in Africa was like, the early days of bringing Ruth home, and how things are now, listen to this episode of ADOPTION NOW.  And check out their blog, Haffway Around The World to keep up with where life takes their family today.  

And you likely noticed that April had a special in-studio guest for this episode -- her mom! Be sure to listen to the Season 3 episode which features April’s mother sharing her thoughts on how to connect with and support your kids... even though you might not understand everything they're going through during the adoption process.