Click here to read our adoption story from the beginning.

Every Guy Likes Getting Woke Up By Their Crying Wife. Right?

"Let's figure out which countries in Africa are a possibility for adoption."  That might have been the most complicated sentence I have ever uttered.  Just figuring out how many countries are in Africa will probably give you a headache.  If you don't believe me, just google it.

As we first thought about adopting from Africa, one of our Citychurch philosophies came to mind.  Number 3 on our 12 Life Truths of Citychurch is "We go to the worst first.  We do not shy away from the most disadvantaged or dangerous areas of our city.  In fact we go there first, knowing there are children in those situations who are often out of reach from hearing the gospel."  Not only did we want to figure out which countries were open to adoption, we wanted to know which of those countries had children in the worst situations.

Now I am going to bore you with some statistics.  There are 54 recognized countries in the continent of Africa (I think.)  Only 9 of those countries are party to the Hague Adoption Convention and are processing new adoptions with the US.  These countries are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, and Togo.

Here are the amount of adoptions that were processed in 2011 for those 9 countries:  Burkina Faso 2, Burundi 1, Kenya 6, Madagascar 1, Mali 0, Mauritius 0, Seychelles 0, South Africa 3, and Togo 0.  So out of these 9 countries, there were only 13 children brought to the United States through adoption in 2011.

From these numbers, it is pretty obvious that just because a countries joins the Hague convention, it doesn't mean they are interested in processing adoptions to the United States.  Some of them have laws that make adoption difficult.  Kenya, that processed a whopping 6 adoptions in 2011, requires prospective parents to live in Kenya for a minimum of 6 months to qualify to adopt a Kenyan child.  My daughter would say, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Just looking at countries and their adoption laws was getting us nowhere fast.  So I begin to search out all the reputable international adoption agencies and take note of any that included an African country.  There aren't as many as you might expect.  We came up with a list of just two countries:  Ethiopia and Uganda.  We found an adoption agency called All God's Children that had a pilot program for Uganda.  We decided to email them and just see if they were accepting any new families for that program.  We emailed them our information and went to bed tired from reading our computer screens for hours and hours.

The next morning, I awoke and began praying.  I wanted to know which direction God was leading us.  I wondered about these two countries that our list had dwindled down to the night before.  I got up and grabbed my laptop to look up more information on the CIA Factbook about Uganda.  The statistics for that country were shocking.  Then I clicked over to Ethiopia's CIA Factbook, and I couldn't believe that the horrible statistics were even worse than Uganda.  It turns out numbers can break your heart.

The average age of a person in Uganda is 16 years old.  45% of the population is under the age of 14.  Half of the country is a child.  How is that possible?  Then I looked at their population pyramid.

Now look at the population pyramid for the United States.
We are so fat in the United States, even our population pyramid is fat.  Our life expectancy is 79, and we have many people who live to be 100+.  The life expectancy for Ethiopia is only 57.  If you beat all the odds and actually become an adult, the oldest you can expect to live to is 57 years old.

What are all these children dying from?  The answer is a list of diseases that we have under control in the United States, diseases that we easily prevent.  The list includes lower respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia, tuberculosis, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, measles, malaria, meningitis, birth trauma, and low birth weight.  Other than pneumonia, how many people do you know that have died of these causes in the United States?

79% of Ethiopia does not have access to plumbing.  Think about that as you flush your toilets each day, and then try to feel sorry for yourself.  Less than half of those Ethiopian children have access to clean drinking water.

Almost 30% of children in Ethiopia under the age of 5 are underweight.

What about education?  A child in Ethiopia can expect only 8 years of education, and less than half of 15 year olds can read and write.  What about a job?  25% of Ethiopians are unemployed.

34% are Muslim.  You beat all the odds, live old enough to practice a religion, and a third of those people have turned to a religion that will leave them hopeless.

I let all of this sink in.  I needed to share this with James.  Tears streaming down my cheeks, I wake him up, "You've got to see this."  As I am waking him up crying, I realize that it probably wasn't the nicest way to wake someone up.

By 10am, we had received an email from All God's Children Adoption Agency saying, "your family would be a good fit for the Ethiopia program."  The door was shut on Uganda, and Ethiopia was it.

James and I had already decided that if we ended up adopting from Ethiopia, we would use America World Adoption Agency.  We had already had God pointing us towards that agency, and we had heard so many good things about working with them.  So the next step was apply to their adoption program.  The next few days we poured over the computer and filed out our application.

I was completely alright with the door to adopting from Uganda closing because God had already broken my heart for Ethiopia.

"Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart."  Psalms 51:15-17

If you want to check out my figures, here is the link to Ethiopia's CIA Factbook:

Check out Citychurch's 12 Life Truths: