What are some of things you have to do to adopt?
There was lots and lots of paperwork. Getting a referral and accepting the referral. We traveled out of the country twice and you have to wait until the government tells you that you can travel.
How did it feel going through the adoption process?
At times sad because all I wanted to do was go get them and stress, because I wanted the government to give us the OK. [I felt] Happiness when we got to go meet them or bring them home.
How long did the process take?
It took 18 months.
What was hard about getting two new siblings?
It was hard to figure out our new family and adjusting to having two little kids in the house and the language barrier made it hard to communicate. It was hard to make them feel like part of the family and to help them feel safe and always trust us.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Boarding the airplane from Ethiopia to Washington, D.C. to come home with them.
How did your parents tell you they were going to adopt?
They had talked about it for years and my older brother and my dad went to South Africa on a mission trip and that put things into perspective. We all wanted to help orphans. They never really told us, it was more of a group discussion. They did ask us what our opinion was about it.
What were some things your siblings had trouble adjusting to?
They had issues adjusting to the food that we eat here in America especially chicken. It was also difficult to communicate so we had to make our own language to communicate with each other.
Freshman Jordan Matlock’s family recently adopted two children from Ethiopia.
How long was the adoption process?
My parents have been talking about it for years. My brother and dad went on a mission trip to South Africa and within three days of returning, my parents knew that we should adopt from Africa.
What was the most difficult part of adopting?
The language barrier and waiting.
How are your brother and sister adjusting to life in Kansas?
Very good. They enjoy playing outside.
What are Nen and Achole’s personalities like?
Achole’s crazy. She’s a little spitfire. Nen, he likes to ride his bike a lot and watch movies. He’s more quiet and reserved but he has a crazy side.
What is your favorite activity to do as a family?
Play outside, ride our bikes, sidewalk chalk and run around.
What has been the biggest change?
We have to be quiet when it’s bedtime or naptime and now we can’t just sit and watch TV, we play and run around.
How does it feel to be a big sister?
Read more about the adoption here.
The Matlock family adds two new members to their family. Read more about the adoption in our story.
Just days before they gained ownership of their two adoptive children at the start of the new year, freshman Jordan Matlock sat with her family and nervously awaited the email that determined the fate of their new siblings. Over and over again, they scrolled through the few pictures they received of the children and discussed the details of their future as an extended family.
The Matlock family always valued the idea of helping people in need, but a three-week trip to South Africa in the summer of 2010 inspired them to consider the idea of adoption, thousands of miles and worlds apart from the life they knew back home. Upon their return, it became very clear to them that they wanted to open up their family to two new siblings.
After 11 months on a waiting list and a total of 18 months of extensive preparation, home and personal reports and endless paperwork, the adoption process concluded by mid December.
“People in that country will spend a lot of time talking and fellowshipping so we have to be careful not to hurry the process and impose our western culture on them,” Jordan’s father, Craig, said. “The phrase we always used when we were there was T.I.A. This Is Africa. It’s just different.”
Both children came from Ethiopia, and upon request, they chose siblings. Although uncertain about their exact ages due to a lack of official birth certificates, the boy, Josiah Nen, aged around eight, and the girl, Ava Achole, aged around two. Knowing the kids would come with nothing but the clothes on their back, the family started from the ground up to prepare for their arrival. They purchased clothing for both children and rearranged their living space to make space for the children to stay. To prepare on a more personal level, Jordan purchased books about Ethiopia and hung pictures of Africa throughout the house. Because they knew very little about the kids, their culture and the language they spoke, the family relied on faith for much of the process.
“It will be difficult to communicate with them so we will have to limit our words, use pictures and learn the basic words from their language,” Jordan said.
Throughout the 18 month process, the Matlock’s felt a closer bond as a family.
“My parents and I have gotten closer through this process and my brother and I have gotten closer,” Jordan said. “This has helped our family come together as a whole.”
Although they knew that adopting kids wouldn’t change the entire world, the family looked forward to changing the lives of two people in need.
“These children didn’t ask for their lives to be interrupted,” Craig said. “If you go in with the mindset that we are providing this great gift to them then we are going in with the wrong mindset. They will be the blessing to us.”