A few tidbits on Ethiopia...
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and this is where we will travel to pick up our children.
For most Ethiopians life is not a walk in the park.
39% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25US per day (2007).
Ethiopian life expectancy at birth has gone up from from 43 years (in 1970) to 53 years (in 2007).
The risk of maternal death is 1 in 27 (2007).
The number of children under the age of 5 who died in the year 2007... 381,000(this number is equivalent to 12% of those born that same year).
There have been recent estimations that put the number of orphans in Ethiopia near a mind-blowing 5 to 6 million children.
In the past 10 years there has been a significant increase in the number of Ethiopian orphans adopted by families in the US. In 1999 only 42 children were adopted by families in the US. This number grew to 1,724 in 2008. I believe this increase directly correlates with an increase in the number of adoption agencies providing Ethiopian Adoption Programs in recent years but there may well be other reasons. Side Note: There are also many families from many other countries who have also adopted from Ethiopia to consider, but I do not have those stats.
I am continually burdened by the fact that the adoption of 1,724 children is a mere band aid when considering the country wide crisis of 6 million orphans. And this fact breaks my heart. Sometimes I wrestle with how much I am really helping by adopting two children. I often wonder...would it be better to dig a well and bring fresh water to a people group or just spend the thousands of dollars on food for starving families with malnourished babies. Allowing oneself to be affected by the pain in the world is dangerous. It can leave a person with feelings of helplessness and a loss for what should be done. Through our adoption, the lives of two children will be changed forever, but I'd be kidding myself if I thought for one minute I'd be solving the problem. The situation in Ethiopia is complex. It has to do with basic infrastructure of the country, education, health care, drought, famine, AIDS and HIV, roads, phones, electricity, water, food and many other things that we in the US take for granted.
My heart hurts not only for Ethiopia, but for this broken world. When I look beyond my own struggles and to my neighbors and my city and my country and countries beyond the ocean, all the brokenness is just too much to wrap my head around. Do you ever feel that way? It's more than I can even think about. It's why I can't watch the evening news anymore. In the end, the only place I find peace is in knowing that God's heart hurts for this world as well. I have to keep coming back to His truths and not let the the overwhelming brokenness shut down my passion and my heart.
I may not be saving the world, but I believe I can make a difference in the lives of the children that God entrusts me with. And two lives ain't no small thing.