So, I feel like the time has come when I have 3 seconds to sit down and tell you why we've chosen Ethiopia. As I was thinking this out, I realized my years in high school composition would really come in handy right now, and that this will read much like a high school thesis. However, please do not grade this because I've been out of high school for 11 years now! So bear with me!
Really, we feel like Ethiopia was the best option for us for several reasons: 1. need 2. practicality, and 3. personal reasons. Ethiopia is an African country that is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska. 80 million people call this area home, and it is the 20 most populated country in the world. Of the 80 million people, 5 million are orphaned children waiting for a mother and father and sisters/brothers to call their own. There are many reasons why the children are orphaned: poverty, disease, and effects of war and drought. The life expectancy alone is only 46 years of age for men and 49 for women. This mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. The Gross National Income is only $110 a year. A year!!! I spend that much a week on groceries! Aids and other diseases are also a major problem in Africa that have come to affect Ethiopia as well.
So what about China's 600,000 orphans or Russia's 3 million? Yes, we know there are millions of children waiting for a home, but that's where the practical aspect comes in. Nick and I have a heart for orphans and would love to adopt again in the future. But we thought why not start off with a pleasant experience. At this time, Ethiopia is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest country to adopt from. "Cheap" is a relative term but in the end choosing Ethiopia over, say Russia, will save us literally tens of thousands of dollars. All this to say, we know you can never put a price on a child, but God does gift us with what He wants us to have.
Now my favorite part...have you ever seen an Ethiopian child? They are the most beautiful, joyful people!!! We have had the privilege of being in a town where many families have adopted children from Ethiopia. That community alone is reason enough to choose Ethiopia as our country. Our little girl will have so much support and connection with other people who are not only her race but her cultural background! We have just fallen in love with Ethiopia and are so excited to integrate it into our lives.
We have been blessed to be welcomed in to the Ethiopian group here in Morton and are also a part of the Ethiopian Culture group in Chicago. They have cultural events and festivals that will allow not only our little girl but our whole family to make Ethiopia a part of our lives. This is so important to me because I want her to know that she is special and that God brought her from an amazing place and she should be proud of who she is.
There is so much more to say on this, and I would love to share our hearts for Ethiopia with you. If you're interested please let me know, and we would love to get together with you.
I know I promised to share the name we've chosen, but Nick has "nixed" that for now...so you can blame him :) But soon enough I'm sure I will slip! I'm just so excited for her to come home, and I love to call her by her name instead of just "our little baby in Ethiopia." This way she is more real to me.
So what is our time frame? Well, things seem to be moving pretty slow right now. It takes about 3-6 months to gather all the paperwork and do the homestudy...so that puts us around March. Then there is about a 12 month waiting period to get our referral, which is when they match us with our daughter! We will receive a picture and all of her important medical and history documents...so that's about March '12. Then there's more waiting, then two trips to Ethiopia...so I've lost track, but it could be a very long time, or God-willing it could be a year total. We just have to see how God wants to move!
I just wanted to share one last exciting piece of information for those of you who have shared an interest in partnering with us financially on our adoption. We were recently accepted by International Children's Adoption Resource Effort (ICare) to partner with us in raising funds. ICare is typically a grant organization that helps families financially with their adoptions. With the turn of the economy, ICare has stepped back from their Grant ministry and is now providing families with the use of their 501(C)3 accounts. This way anyone who would like to provide a donation to bring home our little girl can get a tax deduction for their gift. Its just a little way we can give back to those who give generously to us as well. So far, every penny we've needed has been provided, and we are so amazed by the work God is doing in our lives. It just shows that when you step out in faith, God blesses the work!
Now to some praises, I had asked you to pray for our friends, Greg and Dawn, as they waited for their referral. And last week they got it!!! They now have a picture of their 3 year old little boy and are planning their trip to go meet him!!! Thank you so much for your prayers, we are just so excited for them and can't wait to meet their new family member.
Continue to pray for Jenny and Phil as they wait for the arrival of their little girl, Reagan, sometime in April or May next year.