We recently came across this translation of Proverbs 24:12 that is written, "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." These words pretty much sum up our motivation to pursue an adoption from Ethiopia. We know adoption has been on our hearts and we cannot continue to close our eyes on what God has allowed us to see.
Why are we adopting?
Adoption is something we had agreed we would be open to before we were married. As we approach our 5th anniversary of marriage and feel the blessings of 2 wonderful children, we stopped to think for a moment about where God wanted us to go next. We knew we wanted another child but what did God want for us? We both knew there was the calling of adoption in our hearts and the calling seemed to get stronger as we both thought and prayed. We both felt that if we didn't step out now, we probably would find an excuse to not do it. We are very excited to join God in this journey! God has adopted us into his family so we look to Him for his example of how he rescued and loved us. God desires all the nations to come together to worship Him and we look forward to seeing how God is going to make this more real in our family. Honestly we are a little nervous, but it's just a reminder to us that we cannot do this alone. We are following God, and we are trusting in his provisions spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
There is a number of reasons why we feel called to adopt from Ethiopia that range from practicality to something within our hearts. Ben went on a couple trips to Africa during and after college and was really impacted by what he saw and learned. While Melissa has felt a strong purpose to adopt since childhood, Ben has more recently become excited about the idea as it would forever tie our family's heart to the continent of Africa. Currently, there are not many countries in Africa that allow international adoption. Ethiopia is one of the countries that DOES allow adoption and also is one that we as a couple (our age and length of marriage) fit the criteria of eligibility. Ethiopia is a country of great need. Here are some stats:
• 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday • 1 in 6 children die before their fifth birthday
• 60 percent of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
• 1.5 million people in Ethiopia are infected with HIV (sixth highest country in the world)
• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans
• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88 percent will never attend secondary school
• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
These stats are overwhelming yet they encourage us to keep moving forward. We know the one child we choose to adopt is a drop in the bucket compared to 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia, but it's something we want to be a part of. Who knows, God may use us to encourage others to adopt along the way. If 7% of 2.1 billion Christians helped an orphan there would NO more orphans. With this stat in mind the urgency for us to move forward has never been stronger. We are trusting in God and his provisions.
So, as we write our first adoption blog we ask for your prayers as we embark on this journey. We want each of you to be a part of this journey we are on. We want to be a blessing to you and we want to encourage you to step forward and obey whatever calling God has for you and your family. Thank you for being a blessing and encouragement to us already!!