Q: Why Ethiopia?
A: There are many reasons why I chose Ethiopia and I will share them with you, but the main reason is that I just knew that's where my child is.
When I initially began to seriously consider adopting I knew I wanted to go international. This was a "given" for me, based on the fact that even as orphans or foster kids in the USA, these children will have food, clothes, and education. As a matter of fact, most of them will even get a college education- free! It doesn't make up for not having a family, but at least they have a chance- a hope. So I knew I was going to look outside the US.
One of the first things I did was research from which countries I was even eligible to adopt... At the time, I was only 24, so the list of countries was quite small (especially with the closing of Guatemalan programs.) Adding to the list of detractors is the fact that I am single. Even fewer countries allow single-parent adoption (China closed their single-parent program.) Some countries have income requirements, others don't allow you to adopt if you already have a child... you get the picture. Anyway, once I turned 25, more countries opened up, including Ethiopia which allows single women age 25+ to adopt (this may be changing... please be in prayer!)
From the moment I considered Ethiopia, I just had peace. And as I educated myself about the country, my feeling that it was "right" increased. One thing that has really touched my heart is the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. What an amazing opportunity this will create as my child connects with Ethiopia through service work- and the opportunity for me to serve in a medical capacity for people who so desperately need medical help! Additionally, education also revealed other medical problems:
1 in 10 children die before their first birthday
1 in 6 children die before their fifth birthday
More than half of the children in Ethiopia are stunted due to malnutrition
There is only 1 doctor in Ethiopia for every 24,ooo children
These people need help... these children need help! And I can give it to the! Not just through adopting, but through serving in an ongoing capacity.
Education also revealed the shocking human rights situation in Ethiopia. I won't get into it all, but how about this: 1 in 23 women in Ethiopia will be circumcised. Can you imagine?
So, all of this led me to Ethiopia, but mostly it was just the feeling that I don't think I can describe other than to say: I just knew that's where my child was.