As the weeks go on, and the paperwork process is over, I have had a lot more time to reflect on our upcoming adoption. When John and I set out to grow our family through adoption, our hearts were set on becoming home to a child that needed a family. We were not set on what country this child would come from, whether domestic or foreign, but instead on finding where the need was and responding. Our decision to adopt from Ethiopia was based on the need within the country for families to adopt orphans and the ability for us to move through the correct channels to make this happen (see earlier post on why Ethiopia). We did not look up the statistics on orphans in Ethiopia nor did we see a video or hear a talk that compelled us to choose Africa. We just knew we wanted to be a family for an orphan and looked for how we could make this happen.
While my heart has always ached for children that do not have loving and supportive homes, I have never been particularly moved by any specific group of orphans. As the months go on, I have found my heart begin to grow not only for the child that we will be bringing home from Ethiopia, but for all of the others that will remain in institutions, desperate for a family to love them the way they deserved to be loved. The book that I mentioned in the last post, "there is no me without you", has served to really educate me about Ethiopia and the circumstances around the influx of orphans in this country. Here are some of the questions that I have had that I felt were answered through reading this book:
Why does Ethiopia have so many orphans? Wouldn't it be better for them to stay and be raised by Ethiopian parents instead of white Americans?
Ethiopia has so many orphans because of the AIDS pandemic. According to this book, "Historically, close kinship ties in our [Ethiopia] country meant that there were very few orphans as orphaned children were raised by their extended families. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has destroyed so many of our families that the possibility no longer exist to absorb all our Ethiopian orphans."
Is adoption the answer? What about poverty and the AIDS crisis?
No, adoption is not the answer for all of the orphans in Africa. Keeping the parents alive to care for their children is the answer. But for those children that have lost their parents, or their parents are not able to care for them long term, adoption is a way to give hope to individual children. The world has begun to respond to the AIDS crisis in Africa and it is our hope that there will be less and less orphans in need of a home. Until then, we want to do what we can for at least one child.
Doesn't a mother with AIDS mean a child with HIV?
Without medication, one in every four children will test positive for HIV if their mother is a carrier. With medication, this percentage is only 2%.
I will again highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a novel that gives amazing insight into the life of orphans and the AIDS epidemic in Africa. I hope to continue to learn more about what we can do for the orphans around the globe as we believe that every child should know the love of a parent on a daily basis.
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