An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Overcoming Obstacles Through Adoption

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Kay Carbon
  • 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FL -- I am Tech Sgt. Kay Carbon with the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, FL and this is my family’s story. I still get emotional about it because I’ve realized it’s comprised of many twists and turns you wouldn’t anticipate.

The year is 2010, Anthony and I had separated from active duty just a couple years prior and had made the move to Orlando to attend college. We’d struggled making friends in our new city for quite some time and decided to get more involved in the church. The more involved we became, the more I wanted to do, so I decided to volunteer on a mission trip to Malawi in Africa.

While volunteering in Malawi, I fell in love with the culture and the people, enough to return in 2011. During those trips I really felt like I learned more from the Malawian people then they learned from me. They always welcomed us volunteers with open arms and truly embraced us despite our differences in language, culture, and skin color.

Shortly after my trip to Malawi, Anthony and I experienced a miscarriage in our journey to create a family. I’ll be honest, it held me in a deep state of sorrow for quite some time but fortunately for me I had a great support system that helped me through it.

From that experience, Anthony and I banded together. We became much stronger within our marriage and began to explore different options to grow our family. We decided that adoption would be the best, and it was something we’d always wanted to do. Combined with my experiences in Africa and members of our church having success with adoption in Africa, we decided to begin the process to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

There were some hurdles we would have to cross to make a dream a reality though. From securing a home and passing a homestudy to fundraising $30,000 as well as the nerves of Anthony and I becoming parents for the first time.

All those things were enough to scare the both of us but it was further resistance from extended family that shocked us.

Anthony’s extended family is from a small town in South Georgia, and when it was explained to them that we were adopting an African child the family stated they would not accept him as their family. We didn’t let the negativity distract us from our goal of starting a family but the harsh reality that racism still exists, especially in our own family, saddened us and still does to this day. It is heartbreaking that a person can be disliked solely for the complexion of his skin. If only they got to know him, they would realize what a gift he is to the world and to us.

Despite the disapproval, we relentlessly persevered. We found a house through a friend, but still had to reach the financial goal of raising $30,000 for the adoption. We sold everything we could, spent our entire savings, and held concerts at coffee shops, anything that would put us closer to our target.

In the midst of that, we were met with another tough set of circumstances. Ethiopia changed their adoption policy to after you legally adopt a child through the Ethiopian court you would have to leave them in Ethiopia until the U.S. embassy approved their citizenship. I could not imagine leaving my child after meeting him. Since I am a teacher for my civilian job, I was able to spend my summer in Ethiopia and never leave our Max.

The joy we felt and amazement of all we worked for and prayed for finally became a reality in July 2013 when we were awarded our son Max by the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia.

Now, seven years later, reflecting on all we’ve been through, I can say it was all worth it. We had to have these struggles to appreciate where we are today with our beautiful family. We maintained our faith, even after three more losses, and were blessed with another son, Nico, in 2016. We feel fortunate to be the parents of our two boys and we hope to raise them to be voices for the voiceless and stand-up for equality.