We've been asked that question a lot lately. The short answer is that we felt God leading us there. That's the truth and the only real reason we need.
In all honesty, we didn't know much about the country or any specifics of the real need that exists there before we began this journey. But since we began the adoption process in January, we have learned a lot about adoption, a lot about God's heart for the orphan, a lot about the "Biblical-ness" of adoption, and a lot about the country of Ethiopia.
Here is a little of what we now know...
What the statistics say:
~ 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)
What God's Word says:
Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.
[God] will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.
The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
So... why NOT Ethiopia?