Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why International?

We have gotten a few responses asking why we have chosen to adopt internationally rather than adopt a child from the United States. We wanted to take a moment to shed some light on our decision to adopt from Ethiopia.

Our international adoption isn't because we don't want to help the orphans in America, we definitely want to help the sick, the poor, and the fatherless here in the USA. We definitely know and understand that there is a need for adoption in America, but we also know and understand there is a greater need for adoption internationally. How?

  1. Ethiopia has 4-6 million orphans while only geographically a little bit bigger than the size of Texas. In comparison, there are only about 3 million orphans in the US.
  2. Many orphans die in many international countries simply from lack of medical care. For instance, we heard of a story where an infant died of an ear infection simply because he couldn't receive medical proper medical care. There are many stories where a child dies but if they had lived in the United States, they would have lived because of the general availability of simple procedures like the one this boy needed. This motivates us to adopt internationally because we could potentially be saving a child's life! In Ethiopia, the doctor to child ratio is 24,000:1. That says enough.
  3. In Ethiopia, half of the children will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school. We know our cultures are very different but education is empowerment. With education comes opportunity. If we can provide an education for one child that he would not have otherwise had, we can help enable him to do more good for both the US, Ethiopia and the world.
  4. 44% of the population in Ethiopia is under the age of 17.8 years. Almost half the population is under the age 18 because the the mortality rate is so high and the average life span is so low. This again just reiterates the fact that there is a huge need for adoption and these children need some tender loving care. If only we could do a lot more...
Now there are also other reasons that we choose to adopt internationally and from Ethiopia:
  • Waiting time. We would like to adopt an infant because there are less risks of emotional problems related to the institutional life style of orphanages. It's not that we necessarily want the easiest for our family (we might even consider adopting an older child later in life), however, we want whats best for our family and have decided this is what's best right now. Infant adoption in the United States it can take a very long time (2-3 years). Of course there are circumstances where this is not true but in Ethiopia the wait time is generally only 8-10 months which is a good thing for us right now.
  • Less risks involved with the birth family. Adopting a child internationally means that you will never seldom have problems with the biological parents and the adoption is completely closed. With adoption in the States, by law, the mother has 7 days to change her mind. This means you could be in the birthing room holding your baby and the birth mother could change her mind which forces you to start the process over again while simultaneously breaking your heart. Almost all domestic adoptions are open (or semi-open) adoptions where the birth parents are involved, this could be risky (yet also pretty awesome). We don't disagree with the involvement of biological parents, but with that could come a lot of emotional stress. With international, this won't happen.
  • Ethiopia is the cheapest international adoption from the information we've received from multiple adoption agencies. There also isn't very much difference in the cost of international vs. domestic (USA) adoptions contrary to what people may believe.
  • Our biggest reason for choosing an Ethiopian adoption is that we like the idea of the child not looking like us. It's an awesome testimony for others and our children that it doesn't matter what you look like or where you come from, we will love you unconditionally. This will be what heaven looks like. There will be people from every tribe, tongue and nation. We think that it will be awesome to represent this in our family. The Gospel has the power to break all barriers (Galatians 3:25-29).


Zack said...

Great reasons!

I'm inspired and challenged.

I hope God has a similar adoption somewhere in our future.

Katie said...

All excellent reasons to follow this path in heeding the call on your family to care for orphans. Love you guys!

Laura said...

I'm so excited to hear that you guys are adopting!!! That's so awesome!! Love all the pictures of your girls too. I can't believe how big Ellie is getting! Can I babysit please?? I miss you guys!!