Sunday, May 12, 2013

If I Had a Dollar

The question that I am asked more than any other is, you guessed it,

"Why is this taking so long?"
I mean, after all, aren't there 5,000,000 orphans in Ethiopia?

I have some answers to that question but I'm sure that I don't have them all.  One very basic reason is that we are working with one agency.  That agency only contracts with, at this time, seven orphanages.  That means of all of the orphans in Ethiopia, only the ones from seven orphanages are "available" to us.  And, to further complicate things, our agency isn't necessarily exclusive to those orphanages; there are other agencies who can "pull" from those orphanages as well.

The other thing that slowed things down for several months was the renewing/relicensing of all orphanages and all agencies.  This process was long and tedious and really held things up for a period of two to three months.

In addition, it has become much harder to declare any child a true orphan in Ethiopia.  New laws and procedures have been put in place in order to discourage corruption (which is a REALLY good thing).  However, in the end, this likely means that many more children whose history can not be traced and paperwork processed will likely never be adoptable; they will live their entire lives in orphanages and, ultimately, age out of the system.  It is such a difficult balance to achieve.  But the end result for us right now is that more paperwork has to be done, more investigations have to take place and more effort has to be made to ever declare a child adoptable.

Our agency has actually been fairly consistently giving out referrals; it's just that they have, for the most part, been for infants.  The truth is that had we been willing to accept the referral for an infant, we would have gotten a referral many months ago.  We were given the opportunity to change and lower our age range but we have always felt led to adopt an "older" child.  There are more families willing to adopt infants so placing them is never a problem.

As I mentioned above, there are many orphans (more than I can ever fathom or care to think about) in Ethiopia (and places like it) who will NEVER know the love of a family.  Many don't realize that this is the case but it is a very sad reality.  That is why, aside from adoption, child sponsorship, short and long term missions and supporting ministries who care for the unadoptable orphan is needed.  We all should be a part of caring for the orphan; it is so near to the heart of God.

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