I think it's probably safe to assume that some people out there, not all, but some, wonder "Why Ethiopia?" when I tell them we're adopting. It's funny because we haven't actually had many people straight up ask us.... and I hope it's not because we seem unapproachable. Our desire is to be open and honest about this whole process and answer any questions when they come up. So, if you've been secretly wondering, why Ethiopia?.... wonder no more my friend!
Here's the deal, everyone comes to their decision of adoption and where they're going to adopt from differently. This is just our story. There are MANY incredible adoption stories and amazing journeys that have lead people to adopt from so many different places- ALL forms of adoption whether international or domestic are amazing! Joshua and I are for adoption, period.
That being said, here is how we came to choose Ethiopia....
As soon as we felt like "adoption" was laid on our hearts it became undeniably clear that it was God who had brought us to that point. Our Go Group through church was just finishing up a study called, Becoming the Good Samaritan by Michael R. Seaton. It reiterated what seemed to have become the theme of the year for Joshua and I... Love God, Love Others, simple as that. Our hearts were being transformed and the concept of "Go" was all around us. I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise that adoption became the burden of our hearts, seeing as it fits perfectly into God's character and what His word says. James 1:27 "Pure Religion is taking care of the widows and the orphans." Proverbs 24:12 "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what do do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." Isaiah 1:17 "Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."
I remember looking at Joshua and saying "Okay, so adoption? Where the heck do we begin?!". I literally googled "Different kinds of adoption" in hopes of having a starting point. Every day when Joshua was at school I would research the different types of adoption from public to private to independent to international. When Joshua would come home from work we'd sit down and discuss each option. I'd love to say that upon reading something specific we were hit by lightening with the obvious answer from God, "This is where I want you to adopt from!"... but it didn't work like that. We prayed for God's direction and wisdom in making a decision and asked that He would lead the way and close doors we weren't suppose to go down. As each door would close for one reason or another, weather it was entirely based on a gut feeling the both of us had, or the fact that we didn't meet certain requirements... we eventually narrowed our decision down to an international adoption.
Hannah's Hope home that was set up in Ethiopia, and truthfully just gut feeling. There you have it, Ethiopia it was. I feel like this story would be so much cooler if I could tell you that Joshua and I had always deep down had this special place in our hearts for Africa. I know this is the case for so many adopting families, but I'd be lying if I said that was true for us. It makes me sad that I have lived my whole life pretty much completely unaware of the severe poverty that exists in Ethiopia. After settling on Ethiopia we began praying that God would burden our hearts specifically for the country and that our eyes would be open to the circumstances surrounding the area. Hearing the stories from other families that have been there and seen with their very own eyes the heartbreaking tale of hunger and sickness and hopelessness has just further deepened our desire to adopt specifically from there. I can read statistics... but hearing real, gut wrenching stories, of the desperate need for these children to be adopted- that it comes down to life and death for many- that's what's real to me. There is a need to be met. We can meet that need. And we will. Our eyes have been opened and we don't want turn away and do nothing.
I know without a shadow of a doubt we have enough love to give another child! I know with out a shadow of a doubt I don't need this child to genetically come from me to love him either. I know that if the hospital told me 1 day after bringing Jude home that they accidently gave me the wrong child, I would say, "Tough luck, I claimed him and you're not getting him back!" Well, I'd probably be a little peeved and feisty about the whole thing and wonder how the heck they could make such a huge mistake. BUT, point being, I claimed Jude as our son... I love him not because he is our biological son, but because he is our son. And that's exactly what this little Ethiopian boy will be too, our son.