by Joy Casey 

When I ponder the responsibility God has given us to meet every need of abandoned babies placed in our Joyful Place orphanage, I am sobered.  With grave economic instability in Ethiopia and people tightening their belts here at home, a wee bit of anxiety sometimes creeps into my thoughts.  But when I remember God’s character – His faithfulness and His promises – the nagging doubts fall away. Instead, I am filled with wonder that He gives our organization the privilege of caring for those who hold such a prominent place in His heart.

In spite of inflation skyrocketing in Ethiopia at an unprecedented rate causing severe economic hardship, sixteen families have stepped forward to adopt babies and toddlers from our orphanage this year!  We are amazed (and oh, so grateful!) at what God has done for these precious children and families.

As the six children shown in the first collage exited our door along with a special needs little boy placed in another facility, three newborns and a toddler came into our care.

What I wouldn’t give to know the backstory of Dureti, a little girl a bit over 1-year-old who was left outside Asha Galeto’s gate.  Asha heard a child wailing and when the crying didn’t stop, investigated.  When she opened her gate there was an unkempt, emaciated child sitting in the dirt crying as if her heart would break.  Asha scooped up the frightened, starving little one giving her cow milk and a bath after which the baby girl fell into an exhausted sleep.  Asha called the neglected child Dureti which means ‘wealthy’.  What was she thinking?!  I hope she gave the name ‘Dureti’ in faith, believing God’s hand was in all this.  The next day Asha reported the incident to the police who immediately placed the little girl in the hospital and subsequently into the arms of our wonderful nannies and nurse.  Our team will tenderly restore her to health and provide hugs, kisses and routine that will soothe her wounded spirit.

As the photo testifies, Dureti is not a happy girl.  What caused her mother to leave her behind?  From Dureti’s physical condition, we can discern that her mother did not have enough to eat and her milk, most likely all her life circumstances, was not adequate to sustain a child.  We’ll never know, of course, what led up to this desperate mother’s decision to walk away from her baby.  Did she pray asking God to take care of her baby girl?  Where did she go, and how will her heart ever be mended?   Dureti will heal and, by God’s grace, be adopted into a loving family.  But I ache for her mother who apparently has no one to help her.  I will pray.  God knows.  God cares.