So Why Ethiopia?
As I am trying to get back on the blog band wagon, I want to try and update a little about our adoption as well as keep up with a journal for our family. A natural question that is asked is "how did you decide on Ethiopia?"
There is a really long answer which involves praying about adopting for YEARS! The "short" answer is that we felt a burden to adopt and looked into many different possibilities all the way from adopting out of the foster care system domestically to international adoption. There are so many needs for children worldwide, international adoption is just where we felt led and God confirmed that over and over. When we started our research, Ethiopia came up immediately. We looked into that and Ethiopia had experienced a lot of changes in their process, one that made the process a little harder was that now 2 trips are required. We also looked into several Latin America countries and pretty much hit dead ends rather the process involved actually living in the country for weeks or months all the way to countries now being closed to adoption. We kept coming back to Ethiopia. While we were researching agencies, I prayed that the Lord would just shut doors or open doors for where He wanted us to go and what agency to use. There are many great Christian agencies out there, how in the world do you decide? One day I was talking to a social worker from Lifeline and we had pretty much narrowed it down to two agencies. God gave me great peace while talking to her. There was not anything at all wrong with the other agency but they did require you maintain birth order while adding to your family. We have really felt like we should keep Jacob the oldest (he is a typical first born) but other than that, we were open. There are so many families who request babies that it is sometimes harder to place the older children.
Since maintaining birth order that was a requirement of the 2nd agency, the Lord made it clear that we should use Lifeline. In that process, I think He just kept probing, "I led you to Ethiopia along time ago, just trust me." We officially started our paperwork the beginning of this year.
God has been so good to affirm this decision so many times! And He has provided quite a network for us not just adoption in general but specifically families adopting from Ethiopia. One of my greatest friends for college is also adopting from Ethiopia! I don't think it is at all an accident that He has us on this journey together. I just got a FB message last night from a friend we ran into at the laser show a few months ago. We had not seen each other in at least 11 or 12 years! She messaged me last night and they are also using Lifeline and adopting from Ethiopia. No, not an accident at all!
I am somewhat hesitant to post statistics etc but want to give a general idea to the immense need in Ethiopia. I have done some research and have looked at creditable resources and am going to post a few things about Ethiopia, this is ever changing so please forgive me if there is a more current fact available.
There are great challenges in Ethiopia where the statistics are stacked against the children:
- 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday
- 60% of children are stunted because of malnutrition
- 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone and there are 4.6 million total orphans now
- 50% of the children will never attend school
- The doctor to child ratio is 1:24,000
- 60% of the country is illiterate
- only 45% of the children attend primary school, as children are often needed for labor and to help with farming, housework or to earn wages
Even if we were not speaking of Ethiopia, it haunts me that 26,000 children die a day from hunger or preventable diseases. You would think that after having another biological child, we would consider our home "full." Where actually our 3rd child only intensified my burden. Micah has several minor health problems....asthma, moderate food allergies but the fact of the matter is he is on medications to keep his asthma under control. We have given him emergency steroids several times in his life and we walk around with an epi pen in case he encounters something that causes a severe allergic reaction. Micah would not survive in a third world country. Where many parents in these countries don't even have the healthcare to take care of their children, our only obstacle is metro Atlanta traffic! Even as we have had to watch our budget, I have never known what it feels like to not be able to provide my child with food, clean water, pedialyte or gatorade when they have simple diarrhea.
So, yes we have room. Room in our hearts, room in our homes.
I know what you are thinking...that was the "short" answer?!
I am sure along the way, I will post more about our child's birth country and other reasons for pursuing a child from there. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for this child alongside us!