Available Care. In the U.S., most children are well cared for in family homes (permanent or foster). Over 2/3rds of all infant adoptions in the U.S. are domestic; healthy domestic infants are easily placed in good homes. Institutional orphanages, which are harmful to a child’s development even if they provide a safe and otherwise nourishing environment, are nearly non-existent in the U.S., and young children living on the street are generally accompanied by their primary caregiver. This is often not the case in third-world countries, where over 70% of children are in institutional care facilities (aka orphanages) prior to being adopted. http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/
After a lot of thought, we have concluded that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to adoption, just the right choice for our family. If you are led to adopt, adopt! Adopt an infant. Adopt a teenager. Adopt a healthy child. Adopt a child with special needs. Adopt a single child. Adopt siblings. Adopt domestically. Adopt internationally. Adopt with love in your heart, making the best choices that you can, and recognizing that the result - like everything else in life - may be unpredictable and unprecedented.
*Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest countries in the world (over 2,000 years).
*The three colors of its flag, adopted in the late 1800’s, have been copied so much by other countries that they have become known as the Pan-African colors.
*The coffee bean, adored by my husband along with tens of millions of other coffee addicts-aka-connoisseurs, originated in Ethiopia. With its rich soil, Ethiopia continues to be the top coffee producing country in Africa.
*The country’s diverse terrain includes breathtaking waterfalls, some of the highest mountains in Africa (4,500 meters), and one of the hottest places on earth (Dallol). It also has the distinction of having the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.3
*There are various accounts of a romantic relationship between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, whose kingdom included what is now Ethiopia. Some believe the Song of Solomon refers to their relationship; the imperial family of Ethiopia is thought to be descendants of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
*The Ethiopian Empire was founded by Menelik I, said to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.8
*There is credible evidence that the Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia.
*Ethiopia is in the midst of ongoing crises. Poverty, political conditions, and disease continue to increase the number of lost children within the country, while challenging the resources that are available to care for them.
*94% of births do not have a skilled attendant present; 4% of women will die in childbirth.2
The infant mortality rate is still nearly 7%.2 Of the children who survive birth, another 1 in 16 will die before their 5th birthday.2
*The total mortality rate 0(birth)- 5 years old is over 12%.2,4
*Nearly 5 million children are orphans.2 Child (5 - 14 years) labor is over 50%, as is child marriage.2
*40% of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight, and 50% are moderately to severely stunted.2
*Only 45% of children attend primary school2, and nearly 60% of the population is illiterate.1
*The GDP is less than $900/year/person.1
*Nearly 40% of the population is below the poverty line, living on less than $1.25/day.2
*70% of children adopted internationally were previously living in institutional group homes (aka orphanages).6
Ethiopia values children as much as we do. Some countries place political considerations ahead of their children, imposing exceptionally restrictive requirements and extended processing times on international adoption, while the children wait. Other countries place little or no requirements on adoption, at times making adoption appear to be state-sanctioned child trafficking. Ethiopia, in contrast, has reasonable requirements and time lines, consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention, that place the welfare of the children first and foremost.
(1)Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html(2)UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia.html(3)Wikipedia.com, Ethiopia, citing various sources(4)World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/countries/eth/eth/en/(5)U.S. Department of State Office of Children’s Issues, http://adoption.state.gov/news/total_chart.html(6)National Survey of Children’s Health, http://aspe.hhs.gov/, http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/09/nsap/chartbook/doc/intro-p.1-8.pdf(7)Based on resources cited by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_adoptedhighlights.cfm; http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_place.cfm (8)www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/learn/world-vision-ethiopia