Sunday, December 2, 2007

Why Ethiopia?

This is a question that gets asked after we tell someone we're adopting. It is very clear to us why we chose Ethiopia. This decision is our "personal" decision so it is right for us. People are adopting from so many different countries, and for all very different reasons.

On another blog (I can't remember who it is so I hope they don't mind me reposting their research)...I found that he put it into words better than I could;

Jesus said it Himself...

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

There was a severe drought in Ethiopia in the mid-80s. You almost couldn't turn on a TV without horrendous sites of small black children starving to death – some of them too weak to even hold their heads up. Anyway, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie (Nichole’s dad) wrote a song called “We Are the World” and recorded it with a bunch of superstars of their day. Proceeds from the sale of what ended up being the #1 song of 1985 went to famine relief.

Things haven’t improved all that much in Ethiopia. It’s still the 4th poorest country in the world making about $160 per family per year. In addition:
• One in ten children die before their first birthday
• One in six children die before their fifth birthday
• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years
• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
• In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
• Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
• Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.
• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
• In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.
Sources: Greening Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s Children, Global Income Per Capita, CIA World Facts

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Which brings us to the next question we’re often asked. Why siblings?

Brother and sister experience the extreme pain of losing Mom and Dad to some unknown disease. All they’ve got is each other. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could remain together? But often they’re faced with one of two realities:
Separate and be adopted
Remain together and remain unadopted.

We want neither to happen to our children.

We are using the term “Our” children. These kids are already ours. God has given them to us. Two members of our family are living in Africa right now. We just don’t know their names, exact ages, or what they look like.

So Ethiopia for us, is where our heart is.

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