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Sunday, April 26, 2009

I did not realize ...

Because we are part of an adoption community, we are in contact with so many people that are in the process of adopting, or are home with their adopted children. On Saturday, our dear friends and travel companions, the Hutchinsons, came for a visit with their 5 kids (2 adopted from Ethiopia). We always marvel at the "coincidence" of our close friendship ... out of all the people in the world, we ended up being the only two AWAA families to travel to Ethiopia to bring home our kids over that particular Thanksgiving - and we happen to live within 30 miles of each other. Ours is a friendship forged during a most amazing, emotional, and difficult time and we quickly learned to lean on each other and learn from each other while we were in Ethiopia.

And now that we are home - the friendship remains strong and true. We get together as often as we can to share achievements and frustrations, and to encourage each other. The photo above shows the 9 kids in the Wistrom and Hutchinson families! We commented on the miracle of 4 Ethiopian children that have been grafted into our families ... and out of curiosity, I did some quick web research to see how many of the estimated 5 MILLION orphans in Ethiopia came home to American families last year.

What is your guess? How many children were adopted from Ethiopia in 2008?? 50,000?? 100,000?? 25,000??

Only 1,725.

I did not realize that of the 5 million orphans in Ethiopia, only 1,725 are now at home with their new families in America.

I was surprised to discover that there were a total of only 17,433 international children adopted by American families. That's 17,433 TOTAL international adoptions. A sharp decline from over 20,000 in 2007. And only 1,725 of those kids were adopted from Ethiopia - and 4 of them ended up in the Wistrom and Hutchinson families.

What about all of the kids we held and interacted with at the orphanages??

I have a tendency to translate the outcome of my own children to most of the other orphaned children we saw in Ethiopia. Within our own small adoption community (several hundred families that we have gotten to know so well through our chat group last year and this year) we have celebrated as we have watched children being united with their forever families. I've told the story before about the 5 kids that arrived at the Transition Home in Ehtiopia on the day we left with our kids. That heartwrenching scene as 5 scared, vulnerable kids tumbled out of the car and sobbed in fear at their new surrounding - alone and scared with nobody they knew to love and protect them. Those 5 kids now have the thing they longed for most - the love and protection of a forever family. But that is the exception and not the rule!! The vast majority of the kids we met, and cuddled with, and held in Ethiopia, continue to languish in an orphanage, yearning for the one thing a child wants most ... a family.

The statistics are staggering - nearly 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone. That does not include the millions of orphans throughout the rest of Africa, or Asia or the rest of the world. If you have ever considered adoption for your family, I encourage you to take the step and begin the journey. It will be the most rewarding and amazing experience for you, for your bio children, and for the children you adopt.

1 comment:

Kari said...

Oh, I love seeing the children all together:)) We were sooo blessed to meet them in Ethiopia. Everyone looks fantastic & happy:))
Its hard to believe we are home many left behind. Praying that we can return someday & expand our family:)
Thanks for the important info!!!
We love you lots,