I'm getting involved with something called the Red Letters Campaign. It's worth checking out if you haven't already. As part of their "Blog Buzz", I'll be answering one question per week on my blog. This week, it's the age-old "Why-did-we-choose-Ethiopia?" I honestly love sharing our process, our journey, in hopes that it might open eyes, minds and hearts to this beautiful East African nation. Everyone has their reasons for choosing a particular country. We are no different.
Orphans belong in homes, period, regardless where they come from--whether it's on the other side of the world, or right next-door. But we were especially and utterly compelled by the AIDS and orphan crisis in Africa. It is devastating. Some have called it the scourge of our time. Completely unfathomable. We saw this as being an extremely urgent need, and we wanted to help.
Ethiopia is an amazing place filled with amazing people. Their love for God, love for children, joyfulness in the face of terrible adversity, dignity, and pride they take in their country are so beautiful to us. Travelling there, we fell in love even more.
As "popular" as Ethiopian adoption seems to be, statistics reveal that the overwhelming majority of international adoptions come from other places (in spite of those adoption programs generally being more expensive, time-consuming, and difficult). While there are surely several reasons for this, ONE of them is that it is less "socially acceptable" for a white person to adopt a brown-skinned child, so people don't want to do it. This, to me, is a tragedy. There will always be ignorant, prejudiced people. I just can't see letting that be an obstacle to a child finding a family.
I feel very, very strongly about ethics in adoption. Human trafficking and "baby buying" are serious, and they happen, and they put all international adoptions at risk. Adoption is business. There's a lot of money at stake. Impoverished people are easy to exploit. We knew we only wanted to support a program and agency that was above-board and committed to finding families for children...not the other way around. One that had an established, stream-lined process that was free from corruption. Adoption Advocates International's Ethiopia program was well-established, they were extremely involved in humanitarian work there, and helped co-found an orphanage for HIV+ orphans.
If you know me, then you know that bringing Yosef and Biniam home from Ethiopia has been life-changing. I can't wait to go back with my sons...I can't wait to adopt again...Part of my heart is in Ethiopia. Might yours be also?