We are adopting from Ethiopia! Why Ethiopia? Glad you asked!
When I began researching, I was surprised to find that there are only a few countries in Africa that allow inter country adoption. Most agencies I've found work with Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and maybe a few others. Most of the people that we know adopting from Africa are adopting from Ethiopia. I wasn't sure why it seemed to be the most popular choice until I did my research.
There are two main reasons why we are choosing to adopt from Ethiopia . . .
1. Pretty much every other African country allowing inter country adoption requires that you stay in country a significant amount of time before you can bring your child back to the United States. By significant I mean anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. Yes . . . you heard me right. You have to live there for months before coming home. Praise God that some families are able to do this, but unfortunately we aren't one of those. Chad obviously can't be gone for that long or quit his job to go and I can't leave our two kiddos for that long either. Ethiopia, however, makes a way for families like us to still pursue adoption there. They require that you make two trips to Ethiopia, but each trip is usually only 7-10 days. Both parents must go on the first trip to meet your newest family member. Then 6-8 weeks later, one or both parents will travel back to finalize things and bring your little one home. My heart aches at the thought of meeting my son and then having to leave him for 2 months, but this has me clinging to the promise of John 14:18, "I will not leave you an orphan; I will come to you." I pray when that day comes, he will cling and believe that promise too!
2. The other reason to adopt from Ethiopia is the obvious one . . . the overwhelming need. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the need. Don't forget that these aren't just numbers. They represent beautiful, precious children made in the image of our God.
- There are 4.6 MILLION orphans in Ethiopia.
- 1 out of every 9 children is an orphan.
- 1 out of every 10 children will die before their 1st birthday.
- 1 out of every 6 children will die before their 5th birthday.
- Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths.
- Only 5% of births are attended by a doctor.
- 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world).
- The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years.
- Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa.
- The majority of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
I'll write tomorrow about what agency we will be using and how God is continuing to refine me through this process. Thanks for walking with us on this journey!