Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ethiopia At A Glance

When I first told my sister we were adopting from Ethiopia, she seemed very supportive but not thrilled.  I guess I thought she would be jumping up and down, over-the-top ecstatic they way my husband and I are when we talk about the adoption.  Then, during another conversation with my sister, about a week or so after the first, she asked me to tell her more about our Indonesian adoption.  I was flattered that she was taking an interest, but once again realized that not everyone is studying up on Ethiopia the way we are.  I made a joke about buying her a map (that joke did NOT go over well), and tried to explain why were so passionate about adopting a child from one of poorest countries in the world.

Ethiopia is in fact one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 105th out of 109 on UNDP Human Poverty Index and subsisting on an average per capita income of only $280 (World Bank 2008 estimate).  Think for a minute about what $280 gets the average American family.  Two weeks worth of groceries, a couple of house bills each month, perhaps three pairs of running shoes?  The Human Development Report (2008) states that 78% of Ethiopians live on less than $2 per day.  That would not even cover half of your morning Starbucks drink.

My previous post stated that we wanted to adopt a child where there is a great need.  Ethiopia certainly fits the bill.  Take a look at these staggering facts:
  • One in seven newborns die before their first birthday
  • One in six children die before their fifth birthday
  • 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
  • 60% of children in Ethiopia under the age of five are stunted because of malnutrition
  • The median age in Ethiopia is 18 years
  • 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
  • 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
  • Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
  • In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
  • Drought struck the country from 2000-2002
  • Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school.  88% will never attend secondary school
  • Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002
  • Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
  • Only 13% of the population has adequate sanitation facilities
  • In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports
  • Ethiopia has approx. 4.3 million orphans
God has opened our eyes are hearts to this beautiful nation.  While we are stepping out in faith in obedience, we know that He has plenty more for us to learn and do.  This is just the beginning.  As I silence my thoughts and ask Him to show me the way, I pray that He guides and directs us during this adoption process and keeps us focused on His will and not our own desires.  Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  While I’m certain there are going to be set-backs and unforeseen circumstances along our road to Ethiopia, I know that God’s timing is always perfect.

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