A lot of people are curious about our decision to adopt from Ethiopia because it will obviously make our family multi-racial. And often times when people think about bringing another child into their home they want them to look just like them and not create a situation that would lead to people asking questions about whose child it is, where they came from, were they adopted, what's the story, etc etc etc. In addition, the thought of having to travel around the world to bring your child home is a bit intimidating..the cultural barriers, the language barriers, the travel and expense... all seems like a bit much for some people. So the natural choice seems to be a domestic adoption. And domestic adoption is a great choice. There are plenty of children in the states who need a loving home and family. Domestic adoption may be something we pursue one day, but for now the Lord has led us in a different direction. He has broken the barrier of all of the questions and concerns related with international adoption and He has showed us that this is His plan for our family.
Well, the short and simple answer to "Why Ethiopia?" is, "Because that's what God has placed on our hearts." If you remember, I mentioned in my other posts about why adoption that God did a lot of working placing a burden in our hearts for Africa. That's where He led us to serve and eventually He placed a specific burden on our hearts to adopt from Africa. We originally wanted to make an adoption from Congo work. In fact, when we took up our research again this last summer we prayed about whether we should choose Congo or Ethiopia. There are even a couple of agencies now that work with Congo so it is an option we could pursue. But as we prayed about it and researched it we just felt the Lord placing our hearts in Ethiopia. There aren't too many other countries in Africa that allow international adoption right now, so the options for Africa are limited to begin with. And the countries besides Ethiopia that have programs are newer programs and don't have as much history in the field of international adoption. The program in Congo doesn't have a whole lot of experience behind it and the possibility of adopting a very young baby is not very high. We knew we wanted to adopt an infant younger than 12 months so that mostly left only Ethiopia as an option. In addition, the program in Ethiopia is very well established. There have been some changes recently, but they don't seem to be affecting things too negatively and they just have a really good track record. This is important when you are dealing with international countries because there can be a lot of fraud involved and it is good to know that a country has good programs working within it and has a good history of successful adoptions.
As we looked further into an adoption from Ethiopia the Lord just grew our hearts in a big way for that country. There is such a big need in Ethiopia and we knew we could help give at least one child hope. Here are just a few of the reasons we chose Ethiopia....
There are more than 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia
720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
44% of the population is under 15 years old
One in ten children die before their first birthday
One in six children die before their fifth birthday
60% of Ethiopia's children are stunted because of malnutrition
As we learned these things, the better question for us became, "Why not?" There is an obvious need and it breaks my heart to know that so many kids are hurting and in need of a family and a hope. So all of those things, combined with the fact that this is where God led us are the reasons why we chose Ethiopia. Really, we didn't "choose" Ethiopia, God chose it for us because He knows that is where our child is so it was just up to us to trust Him and obey.
Does it make me nervous or apprehensive about the fact that our family is going to be multi-racial and we're going to stick out BIG TIME..especially in a small, rural, mostly white community? Not really, but yes, occasionally I do think about that. But for me it's not really a question because I know that this is God's plan for our family and so I'm excited about what He has in store for us. I know that the safest, best, most joy-filled place to be is smack dab in the middle of God's will. So even if that means doing something that is going to make us stick out and get LOTS of tough, unusual questions, then that's where I want to be and I look forward to it. I'm sure we'll have to deal with lots of difficult, ungracious questions and comments, but it's something we'll work through as a family. Not following God's plan just to avoid those tough situations is so not worth it for us. Plus, I love the fact that our kids are going to grow up with an open heart for all kinds of people and minds that are stretched because of the experiences they have growing up in a multi-racial family. That's just a bonus!
I hope that gives you a better picture of why we are adopting from Ethiopia. That's where our child is...so we've gotta go get him/her! Plain and simple. :)
Happy Wednesday peeps!