Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why Ethiopia?

I know I'm not solely responsible for the world's
children. Each time we have adopted, we have not done it out of some
misguided savior complex but because we wanted another person to hug at night,
another face at our table, another little one to teach to talk and walk and ride
a bike, another person to rejoice over as she or he grows and

And yet, when and if my husband declare that finally we're
done...whether we care to face it or not, we are also closing a door in the face
of a real living child waiting somewhere in the world who could be

Call me nuts if you will, but I'm not ready to close that
door. Not just yet.
Mary Ostyn, A Sane Woman's Guide to
Raising a Large Family

To win a copy of Mary's book, click here!!!!

The above quote beautifully articulates some of the (jumbled) thoughts in my own head. Michelle had asked in a comment why we chose Ethiopia specifically. I need to preface this with saying that orphans need families, period. Whether they're abroad or in the US. Our journey of course took us to East Africa.

When we first decided to adopt we anticipated adopting from both China and Ethiopia at some point. We also planned to adopt a child with medical needs. We looked into a waiting child in Asia (Hong Kong or Taiwan, sadly I can't remember) named Ling, who'd been born missing a foot and who had a malformed hand and also possibly had hydrocephalus at some point. She was beautiful. It turns out a family had just come forward to adopt her, and so we felt thrilled for her but sad for us. In the end we were ultimately compelled by the African AIDS crisis, the orphan crisis, and the reality that at the end of the day, an orphan who ages out of care in Africa is in trouble. Bottom line.

Our sons actually ended up being healthy. We remained open to medical needs, however in the end accepted a referral for healthy twin boys from Ethiopia (although there WAS question about Biniam's development--he was very delayed and very small. Let me just say though, the kid is fine. :) ) HIV+ adoption had scarcely begun when we travelled to get our sons; I believe the first child or two were waiting to come home. We knew and hoped that day at AHOPE that we could return for children from there one day. That is still our desire.

So, in a nutshell, when we looked at the situation and overwhelming need in Ethiopia, we knew we had to do it. It's a beautiful culture and we felt very comfortable with the agency we used. I can't wait to go back, I loved our time there.

Parents choose countries for all sorts of reasons, and those were ours. My heart has been in Africa ever since. God has given adoptive parents passions for Russia, Guatemala, China, the US foster care system, is amazing. The needs are vast and we can each do SOMEthing. Sometimes I think about adoption and about how little an effort it was on our part compared to the lifechange it is for a child. Not that there haven't been difficult aspects. Not that it's not crazy expensive. But God provided and has continued to provide. And that has all been so seemingly insignificant when I think about where my sons came from and what their future would be if it weren't for adoption.

If anyone out there thinks that adoption is just for a particular subset of people, I would encourage you to reconsider. I know all different types of people who have adopted--married couples, single women, couples unable to have children and families with lots of kids. You don't have to be wealthy. The paperwork is manageable. If we were able to do it, so can you!


The Scholl Family said...

Brianna, I love reading your blog! You are so inspiring! I would love to adopt someday (we're done having biological children) but Marty is not on board at this point. I think he's overwhelmed with three. But I feel a tugging on my heart to welcome another child into our home someday. I do feel called to Africa, but would adopt from anywhere, really. Keep up the inspiration and the hope. I wish there were more families like the Heldts!

Priscilla said...

Speaking of Biniam.....any pictures of him with his new glasses? I haven't seen anything more about how he like being able to see!!

Melinda said...

Great post and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the quote from Mary's book. It sounds really good and I think I might just head over to Amazon now to order it.

Mama Mote said...

My parents adopted me from Guatemala because San Salvador, at the time, wouldn't let them take a child out of the country. So glad they crossed the border to find me.

Amy Jo said...

Hi Brianna,

Just wanted to let you know that I just linked to your post. It's really well-written and I love your post. Can't wait to see what else God has in store for your beautiful family.

Sweet blessings,
Amy in OR


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