by Joy Casey

When we started our adoption thrust in Ethiopia, we knew one of the strengths of our ministry was our relationship with the children in our orphanages. I rely on the directors to identify children for our adoption program, but because I am the point person for the adoptive families here in the U.S., I also needed to meet and get to know the children myself.
I traveled to Ethiopia with the express purpose of exploring the backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses of the children. I talked to the orphanage staff who were very forthcoming about the children, but I also wanted to get an assessment of how they were doing in school academically as well as socially.
So, I set about visiting every child’s school and speaking with their teachers. Not only did I get a chance to talk to the person who spends the majority of every day with the child, but I was able to see the school setting and assess their teachers and quality of education. I am happy to say that the educators I met and spoke with were dedicated professionals wanting to bring out the best in their students. Class size is extremely large and many schools teach in shifts, but still the teachers knew the children and candidly shared with me about them. I asked how they could be better supported academically, and over and over the teachers said that if they had consistent help at “home” most of them would be good, if not exceptional, students. To that end, Adoption Ministry hired a tutor to come to the orphanage every afternoon and spend several hours helping the children with their homework with an emphasis on their English studies.
I also had time to just hang out with the children. We took long walks together, they showed me their homework, and loved combing my hair and marveling over my freckles! The older children had a fairly good handle on English and talked to me about their hopes and dreams. I played peek-a-boo with the toddlers giving them big hugs and spent hours holding and feeding the babies.
It was during these precious times with the children that the Lord impressed on my heart His incredible love for each child. Yes, I need to do my part as well as I can, but this ministry is in His hands and we will move ahead under the anointing of the Father of the fatherless.