Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Ethiopia??

If you know us, you know that we love Brazil and Thailand.  We take missions trips there, our friends are missionaries there, our hearts are there.  As adoption has been hanging around the corners of our minds, we usually thought it would lead us to Asia. I spent some pretty serious effort trying to figure out a way to adopt through our missionary friends' ministry to orphan Akha tribal children in Thailand a few years ago.  We've grown to really love those people.  Found a closed door there (for now!) and kinda put the adoption thing on the shelf again hoping something would change with the Akha situation.

Last November, God started putting adoption on the front page of both Scott & my minds again...this time it seemed to be in bold print.  The "Why A Family of 8 is Adopting" is another big story that will need to be a separate post....

"Ethiopia,"  that was a word and a place I hadn't even considered until a social worker called my house, asked for me and said she was calling back to answer my questions about adoption.  Well that was a surprise, I hadn't called in the first place but I decided to roll with it and ask some questions.  After I shut myself into the laundry room so I could concentrate, I gave her the quick run-down of our desires in adoption as well as all the obstacles we saw looming in front of us.  We aren't adopting because we need a baby, but because there are babies in the world that need families.  We want to go where the need is great and where others may not go.  One of the obvious obstacles, especially in international adoption, is cost.  Another is family size.  Many countries have income guidelines and family size limits that excluded us right off the bat.  I asked what her "professional gut opinion" was.  Her answer?  Ethiopia.  I have to admit, her answer scared me, it was so....unknown, and different from where I thought God was calling us.  I hung up the phone, went back to the food that was almost burning on the stove, and began mulling.  By the time Scott came home from work, and I found out that the social worker was returning his call, I was already feeling my heart turn toward Africa and beat with adventure excitement.

I'm a learner, a lover of facts and information.  Before I could go to bed that night I had to head to all my favorite search engines for details about this new country that had lit up on my mental globe.  Let me tell you, it wasn't hard to be convinced that there is a need in Ethiopia. 
  • There are nearly 5 million children living without families in this country.  That means 1 in 9 children is an orphan.
  • That is the same number of children under the age of 18 who are living in Massachusetts, New York State and Washington DC combined.  If all the parents of those children suddenly died we'd have a crisis on our hands too. 
  •  Nearly 50% of Ethiopia's population is under the age of 15.  There just aren't enough adults to go around.
  • Famine, drought and the AIDS epidemic have swept through the land during the last 30 years.  The usual support systems that would absorb orphans into a country's fabric have ripped at the seams because of the sheer numbers. 
  • 1 in 10 children die before their 1st birthday. 
  • 1 in 6 children die before their 5th birthday.
  • Poverty makes it extremely hard for extended family to care for extra children.  Almost 82% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.
  • This Youtube video says it well.

Ethiopia was a gulper at first because I thought my heart was too full of Brazil and Thailand.  I thought those two places were the way God had planned for the Great Commission to be carried out in my life.  Thought I had God's plans all figured out and was even being adventurous with my plans.  God's plans were bigger, He has more continents for me to love and it seems He's turning my heart to a new one.  It's not hard to fall in love with Ethiopia, it is the birthplace of coffee after all.  Did you know that the Queen of Sheba who traveled to visit Solomon is from Ethiopia?  Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible here too.  The more I learn, the more I feel my heart drawn there and I'm so thankful I've got a penciled-in trip on my calendar.  And my heart's beginning to swell with love for little creamy skinned babies swimming through my dreams.  So who knew, Ethiopia and me, it's a perfect fit!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, so that's how Ethiopia came about!! Good to know. Better yet to read how willing to yeild you were when God moved you in an unanticipated direction. Thank you for opening up your heart to the rest of us, friend. Thank you most of all for the example on how a women of God should act when God brings the unexpected into your day. He can be trusted. He is in control. He knows best. Love you.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you think!