5 Million Minus One
We have been praying through agencies and country programs over the past several months. We have researched, obtained information, read blogs, watched videos, read reviews, and had conversations. We also sought advice from others who have walked this path before. I'm fairly certain that I requested information from every adoption agency in the world. Ok - not really - but our mailbox and inboxes were constantly being flooded with pamphlets, DVDs, newsletters, and information. With so many choices and such a big end result (our child!), the decision seemed overwhelming at first. We feel at peace with our decision, though, as God has repeatedly pulled us toward this agency. Our hearts have continued to be burdened for this specific country as God has continued to light the way.
After much prayer and consideration, Marcus and I feel called to adopt from Ethiopia. We have already been accepted into the Ethiopia adoption program through our agency. We are in the midst of the "paper chase," and we are looking forward to the mountain of paperwork that is piled up on our coffee table. We can't wait for the interviews that are heading our way over the next few months. Each form is one step closer to bringing him home! (For those who are curious, I will explain the process more in a later blog.) First, let me tell you more about the country that God chose for us.
Ethiopia is a country in East Africa that is roughly twice the size of Texas. (My husband is happy anytime you can throw the word Texas into a sentence. You're welcome, Marcus!) It is the most populated, land-locked country in the world with over 91,000,000 residents. According to UNICEF, in 2012, there were an estimated 5 million orphans in Ethiopia. (One of those statistics could be our son! It is crazy to think that he may or may not even be born yet!) These children are primarily orphaned due to poverty, famine, conflict, and disease. The country has also seen a steady increase in the number of children orphaned due to AIDS.
We have done the research. We know that sometimes adoptions in Ethiopia and throughout Africa are fraudulent. We are aware that some children who have been called orphans have actually been stolen, sold, or forced into the adoption decision. We know that some birth parents have been taken advantage of and do not truly understand the meaning of adoption. Knowing this information helped guide us as we choose our adoption agency.
We chose a Christian agency, hoping and believing that they will adhere to the ethical code they have outlined for us. Reuniting children with their biological families is said to be one of their top priorities. According to the agency, children are only received from approved orphanages that are not funded based on number of referrals that come from them. It is said that government documents are thoroughly examined by the agency, and that they thoroughly investigate each child's case. We also find comfort that, upon being matched with a child, we will receive a DVD of an interview with the person who found the abandoned child or someone who knows the child's story. It may take us a little longer to get our son, and it may cost a little more, but we feel that ethics and the decreased chance of trafficking are worth these expenses.
Pray with us that ethics will be adhered to throughout our adoption process. Pray for the son that we hope to bring home from Ethiopia as soon as possible. Thank you for partnering with us throughout this process.