That's the number of orphans in the world. (estimated, of course) It's a big number. Children whose parents have died or who have been abandoned. It's a staggering number. Too big to comprehend, really. Let me put it into perspective for you.....
This number is half the population of the United States.
If you lined up all the orphans shoulder to shoulder, (1700 per mile), there would be enough children to go around the equator of the world 3 times
If you drove at 60 miles per hour past this line of children, 24 hours a day, you would still be passing children after 60 days
Every 18 seconds a child becomes an orphan
In sub-saharan Africa, there are 13 million orphans because of AIDS alone. (predicted to grow to 40 to 50 million AIDS orphans in Africa by 2010)
Every 13 seconds another child is orphaned due to AIDS in Africa.
It's hard to take in. Hard to imagine. Harder yet to imagine that we can even begin to make a difference. None of us alone can make a difference to 143 million children. Why even bother?
Because we can make a difference to one. (or two, or three....) Because God tells us to. Because if we all do it together, we CAN make a difference. Do you know that approximately 1/3 of Christians contemplate adoption, but only 2% ever do adopt? Do you know how many more children could be helped if more would act on their contemplation? If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. All children would have a family.....think about that. The thing that might be going through your mind right now is something like, "We aren't all supposed to adopt children.".......well, we are all supposed to have some part in taking care of the orphans of this world. Maybe it is to adopt, maybe it isn't. That is between you and God, but I think you will agree that the statistics are mind boggling and something needs to be done. What will your part be?
Yea!! Several families from our agency passed court in Ethiopia today making their children legally their own!! If you'd like to take a look at some adorable Ethiopian babes, take a look at their blogs!!
WOW!! That's all I can say after seeing the African Children's Choir this past weekend. Nathan and I were in Wisconsin while he was attending a continuing education course and I was looking in the phone book for a church to attend on Sunday morning. I found one I thought I was interested in, so I went to the church website and I couldn't believe it - the African Children's Choir was singing the next day!! I have been interested in seeing the choir in the past (I love vocal music and obviously African children!:) but had never had the opportunity. The children were amazing - full of energy and joy as they sang and a real picture of hope for the African countries they come from.
The children in the choir are from very poor villages and many have lost either one or both parents. Their future in Africa without this organization would have been very bleak. The parent organization of the choir, Music for Life, helps these children break away from the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. Once the children are selected for the choir, they are trained for several months before they go out and begin touring. They travel to many European countries, Canada and the US.
The work this organization does is invaluable. Through the donations they collect at their concerts, the choir is able to support numerous schools in Uganda and other African countries. Donations also support emergency relief efforts to ensure destitute children and their families receive the food, clothing, medical assistance and counseling they need to survive and flourish. Choir children return to their homelands to attend primary and secondary schools sponsored by Music for Life Institute. Many of them will go on to college or technical or vocational schools and develop skills that will enable them to lead full, productive lives while contributing to their homeland. Some of the children have gone on to be teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers and other professional leaders in Africa.
What a world of good this organization is doing! I encourage you to check out their website:
Well, one thing is for sure - this adoption thing is a roller coaster!
Yesterday, we received the wonderful news that our dossier had been approved and sent to Ethiopia - It was a time of feeling God's faithfulness and knowing that He would bring us through this adoption and provide for all our needs! It's easy to feel that way when things are going well.....
Later that afternoon, we received an email from our agency that our adoption fees were increasing and will affect us to the tune of an extra $3000 we weren't planning on. Hmmmm.......where did that feeling of certainty and celebration I had earlier go? Now, $3000 may not be a lot to some of you, but at this point, it is huge to us considering what we were already needing to come up with. I felt so discouraged and even angry that this would be happening. I mean, we're trying to do a good thing here, and these obstacles just make it harder!!
So, after feeling anger, fear, and bewilderment, I came to this: I cannot control this. I cannot change the fees, even if I wanted to. (and BTW - the fees are being raised because of increased costs everywhere and our agency's desire to provide good care for the children in Ethiopia before they come home as well as add more staff there, etc. The cost of food in Ethiopia has gone up by 400%!) The only thing I can control in this situation is my response, and so, I have a choice. I can sit in fear and entertain my anxiety, or I can choose to trust Him. God knew about these fee increases from the beginning - nothing surprises Him. He is our provider and so even when we can't see where all of this is going to come from, we have to trust that it will in fact come. (although I'd really love a post it note letting me know the plan!) We believe that this is God's plan for our family and He isn't going to leave us now. I cannot tell you that I won't have moments of stress and anxiety, but I am going to do my best to not let that overcome me. I will choose to trust!
We got an email from our family coordinator today that our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on Friday!! So, our official DTE is 10-03-08!! I went to track our package today and found out it is ALREADY in Ethiopia!! It is so exciting to think that the hands that are handling our dossier now are Ethiopian hands!
Many people have asked me, "What is next?" Well, we wait. That's it. We've pretty much done all we can do for about the next 7 months.....now our official wait begins. Our agency estimates that we will wait about 5-7 months for a referral of an infant of either sex.....although I've never seen anyone wait only 5 months, it tends to be closer to 7 months. (BTW - this can change at any time - the wait can become longer or shorter). This is just a guestimate - their best guess based upon past referrals.
Thank you for your prayers - Thank you, God, for seeing us this far!
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 57:9,10
Well, I've been waiting to post because I really thought we were going to get an email from our adoption agency on Friday saying that we were officially DTE (dossier to Ethiopia). Unfortunately, I have no exciting news to report. We received no such email.....maybe next week. I do know they received the dossier and it was supposed to be reviewed this week. I also know that once your dossier is reviewed by the agency and approved you have "marked your place in line." So, even if it hasn't been sent to the Ethiopian government, our agency still has us on their waiting list - make sense?
As we wait, I have been thinking a lot about our child (most likely in utero) and their parents. What is happening in their lives that will bring them to have to give up their child? Do they know of their future heartbreak now or will it come as a result of something yet to come? Is the mother sick? Will they give up their child due to poverty......because they can't care for their child themselves? It breaks my heart to think of any of these possible scenarios. How could it ever be easy to give up a child?
I pray for our child - for God's provision for it's health and nourishment. For provision for the parents and God's presence in their lives. That He will comfort them through whatever they are going through. And most importantly, that they will know God in a real and personal way.
It's weird to feel a concern and affection for people you've never met. To want to help and know that you can only pray. (the best thing to do anyway). I would ask you to also pray for this family and whatever their circumstances may be when you think of our adoption.
We are a family of ten...striving to live the lives that please God...getting it wrong a lot of the time, but trying nonetheless. We have eight beautiful children...three were given to us through birth and five through the miracle of adoption. We feel blessed to be living the life we've been given.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
~ One in ten children die before their first birthday ~ One in six children die before their fifth birthday ~ 44% of the population is under 15 years old ~ 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition ~ The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years old ~ 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world) ~ There are roughly 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia ~ Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa ~ Half of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. ~ 88% will never attend secondary school ~ Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) declined 40-60% from 1998-2002 ~ Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000 ~ Severe drought struck country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)