Monday, July 2, 2012

Why Ethiopia?

If you've been following this blog, you already know that we announced last week that we're adopting. Then I followed it up with a post about why we're adopting.

In this post I'm going to attempt to answer the questions of "why Ethiopia" and then "why a child of a different race". As I write this, I am praying that it serves you, my reader.

So why Ethiopia?

Ethiopia has approximately 5 million orphans right now. Let me try to help that hit home by giving a local example of what that looks like. Tonight, if the parents of every child in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and North Carolina died, that would still not leave as many orphans as there are in Ethiopia right now. It's staggering. And the future for these orphans is nothing like the future of an orphan here. A survey from early this year shows that 1 in 11 children die before they reach their fifth birthday. When they are grown, the future often involves poverty like we don't even understand in America. Ethiopia actually has the highest malnutrition problem in the world.

The following video was made by another family that adopted from Ethiopia, but it goes much farther into the statistics that involve Ethiopia. It's a beautiful video, so please take the time to watch it:

For some, the fact that we are diving into being an interracial family is just no big deal to you.  But we realize that for others, no matter what the color of your skin is, you might have concerns about that fact that we're adopting a child of a different race.

Let me first explain that the fact that our future daughter will be black was not some afterthought once we felt a call to adopt from Ethiopia. It was completely intentional from the beginning of all our adoption talks for us to make ourselves an interracial family. We believe the Bible when it tells us that ALL people were made in God's image and are of equality. We HATE racism and are trying to teach our children to do the same. To adopt an African daughter is making a statement about our equality to her and her equality to us, about our ability to love her and her ability to love us. It's making a statement about her worth as a black child of God and my children's worth as white children of God.

Steven and I are intentionally putting ourselves right smack dab in the middle of the issue of racial harmony. And now we get the chance to commit ourselves to this issue for life. We're not fools. We know this won't be easy, but we also know that the God we serve will give our family the grace for this. Now this may lead you to wonder why we are putting this little girl in the middle of this issue as well. We trust that Gospel is bigger than the pressures of living in a interracial family. And on a side note, I think any child would rather deal with these pressures in the safety of a loving family as a opposed to growing up all alone. And we hope to celebrate her ethnicity because that is how the Perfect Designer created her.

I love the effect this opportunity of an African adoption is already having on my children. They are ecstatic that we are adopting and even more ecstatic that she won't look just like them. The other day when Adriana and I were talking about how her hair is dark and Ava's hair is light, she added, "And my next sister's skin will be dark. And it will be soooo beautiful!" Now when my kids see a black child; do you know what word comes to their mind? Sister.

And you know what? Heaven will look like this! Heaven will be the most colorful place you have ever seen.

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