Friday, August 13, 2010

"If you can't feed one hundred people, then feed just one." - Mother Theresa

We are almost finished with our home study! I will update soon. All of the kids have had their physicals and now we are just finishing up the last few loose ends. We are also saving for our first “big” payment (not that the others were chump change- but by comparison to this one there were). For now I wanted to share some facts about Ethiopia. I get asked all the time “why Ethiopia”?! Although only God can really explain that, I can show you why we were drawn to a place with such a great need.


Ethiopia is about twice the size of Texas and has approximately 4- 5 million orphans (Minus one, of course). That’s about 12% of the children.
Total population: 77 million

The average income in Ethiopia is $100 a year.
Almost 82% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.

Malnutrition levels are among the highest in the world.

The average life expectancy is only 43 years.

More than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of AIDS.

Less than half of adults can read and write.
There is NO such thing as free education. If you are poor, you will never go to school unless sponsored.
Ethiopian culture dictates that a child that is not your own is treated as a servant. If your parents die, and you are taken in my extended family, they would not treat you as their “own” or pay for school.

Only 18 percent of children reach grade five.

Ethiopia's neonatal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world - 49/1000 births with tetanus infection being the second major cause of infant/neonatal death.

One of the places I want to see in Ethiopia is Korah. Korah is a small village just outside Addis Ababa, the capitol city of Ethiopia. The people there are the poorest of the poor and most live off of what food they can find in the local dump. The village was founded over seventy five years ago by people inflicted with leprosy, seeking treatment in Addis. Three generations later, over 100,000 people live in Korah, most of which either have leprosy, HIV/AIDS, or are widows and orphans.

I wince when he says most people still believe these children are “cursed and unimportant”. As Brian pointed out, their landfills are not like our landfills which are filled with excess of a country that lives so richly. Can you imagine? What if there were no public schools, no source of income, no welfare, no Pell Grant, and no homeless shelters. What then?

I don’t want to give the impression that this is a picture of Ethiopia overall. This is just one village in Ethiopia. While there is great poverty in Ethiopia there is also amazing beauty. Obviously this is a trash dump so it doesn’t show you the beauty of the country.

Ethiopia is rich in history and it’s beautiful. It claims that the Ark of the Covenant, (the box of gold and acacia wood that is believed to have once contained the Ten Commandments) is there somewhere in the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum. Ethiopia’s history goes back to biblical times.

There are lots of things I want to see while we are there. I want to learn and take in as much as possible. It is hard to imagine a world so different than my own. Even more odd is that God would choose for these two worlds to collide in such a magnificent way. Please continue to pray for our child and for the adoption process. We appreciate everyone’s love and support more than we could ever express.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Birthdays, Hospitals, and Pictures of Possibility

"You may speak but a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian Church in years to come." - Charles Spurgeon

Over the weekend I turned 30. This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal but apparently to my friends it was. I thought Brian was taking me out to dinner but he actually brought me to a restaurant where my friends were waiting to throw me a surprise party. I was more than surprised! I was so touched because they are so good to me. I tried not to cry because I had no replacement mascara (since I thought I was just going out to dinner).

There was cake, gifts, and a basket of envelopes and “orphan ransom”. I laid in my bed that night still pondering everything. Not only will this child come home to a family that loves them, but they will come home to an extended family as well.

A friend of mine was struggling to describe what it was like when she came face to face with the outpouring of love from our church family. She said “it’s like God is suddenly standing in front of you and wrapping His arms around you. I can’t describe it.” I told her she didn’t have to. I already knew.

The excitement of the weekend ended abruptly when I discovered Monday Aiden suddenly had a fever of 104.6. It is always scary when they have a fever that high! After an ER visit and some medicine he is feeling better. I am thankful for doctors and hospitals. In Ethiopia the ratio of children to doctors is 1 : 24,000. Staggering.

One other thing going on is that I have been practicing and studying photography. I was hoping at some point I could use this to bring in earnings/donations for the adoption costs so I have been reading and soaking up as much as I can. I have also been practicing what I am learning.

These are of my daughter Kayla.

As I type this I hear the pitter patter of feet so that is all for today!