by Joy Casey
The UNICEF statistic of orphaned children in Ethiopia is staggering: 4.5 million children are missing one or both parents. If only one-third of those 4.5 million are full orphans (missing both parents), that presents a rough number of 1,500,000 vulnerable individuals who need care and nurturing.
And 1.5 million is a conservative number.
NewLife Ethiopia’s Joyful Place orphanage cares for children found abandoned in the city of Shashemene. Our goal is family permanency for each little person assigned to us. We delight in embracing a fragile baby and nurturing him or her to health and well-being. We celebrate when that child is adopted into a loving, Christian family!
Since the inception of our orphanage in 2012, adoption to Ethiopian families has been our focus. Up to now, we have been moderately successful in raising adoption awareness and engendering compassion for orphaned children. Over the past six years, 30 of our children have been placed for adoption with Ethiopian families.
ADOPTION SUMMIT – July 12 & 13
With international adoption no longer a resource for orphaned children, the Ethiopian Christian community needs to step up in greater numbers to the high calling of adoption. There is a growing core of Christian leaders that is effectively igniting Ethiopians to heed God’s call to care for the fatherless.
NewLife engaged several of these dynamic preachers to speak at an adoption summit we hosted on July 12 & 13 in Shashemene, the town where our orphanage is located. Well over 200 people attended the summit hailing from 30 different churches. They were inspired by the messages and the testimonies from couples who have adopted.
We are blown away by the response. The results of the adoption summit exceeded our expectations – 60 couples stepped up to the plate and will begin the process to provide family for one of the 1.5 million. We have relationship with several other orphanages and are helping them prepare some of their children for adoption.
These efforts might seem small compared to the need, but we are encouraged with the growing consciousness among the Christian community for adoption and leaders who are passionate about providing permanency for orphans.
Linking arms with other Christian groups and networking with orphanages will create an adoption climate that will provide these beautiful children with families they can call their own.
A HUGE thanks to Christ Church in Memphis, Tennessee who financed the bulk of this summit. Their heart for orphans and adoption was expressed in a tangible way that directly and immediately impacts children and families. Through adoption, the trajectory of a child’s life is radically changed with repercussions into eternity.
THANK YOU, Christ Church!