Saved by Grace (Part II) – Local Adoption in Ethiopia?

We face a battle on many fronts with our work here in our city as we strive to keep families together and to save the lives of abandoned children. There is nothing more frustrating than having conflict with local authorities when our organization’s goal is to save lives and support families. You would assume that people would not only appreciate the work of Grace, but also support our ideas. Instead, we have to constantly battle with local gov’t officials in order to help them understand the importance of doing child care well.

Technically, the local gov’t here is responsible to protect and care for the lives of abandoned children. Practically, I have no idea what they would do if a place like Grace Center did not exist. I speculate that they would maybe have no regard for orphaned children, but that is a thought which is too sensitive and frightening to entertain here.

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Grace Reunification Officer with a recently reunited mother and child

It is heartbreaking that the local gov’t does not have any mechanism to care for these children well, but it fills my heart with joy to think about how God began Grace Center 10 years ago and how God has sustained it with countless donors from all over the world.

I know of a few other places like Grace Center in Ethiopia, and a few in other countries. The fact of the matter is, the lives of many precious children depend on these organizations. I strongly appeal to you to find an organization like Grace Center and support it.

Despite our struggles with local authorities, God’s providence is always with us. Something very amazing seems to always occur when new children are placed in the care of Grace children’s home; other children go out (under good circumstances; maybe being reunified with blood family or being adopted by a local family). Such was the case last month. In part 1 of this blog the story of the abandoned child is actually the second child Grace Center received in March. Another baby in a different situation came a couple of weeks before. But, on Friday, March 25th, two dearly loved kids, ages 4 and 1.5, left our children’s home with their new adoptive mother.IMG_6255

This is something that I would normally think is highly improbable. Adopting a child within this country is a very novel concept. Adoption is not a new concept; thousands of Ethiopian children have been adopted by foreigners. But an Ethiopian citizen living here, adopting a child here, and raising the child here; up until the past few years it was nearly unheard of. Maybe not amongst extended family members, but to take a totally unknown child who has no known blood ties to your own family is radical in this culture. I am still baffled as to why some have come forward to do this. Miraculously though, God is bringing them, and now 2 more children will have a loving forever family.

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The work of reunifying children with blood family and facilitating local adoptions is no easy task though. We should not only pray for willing adoptive families to come, but we should fervently pray for local authorities and the social work team at Grace Center to work tirelessly and courageously for this cause. It has been a pleasure to work alongside some of these amazing people this past year. We have experienced a huge learning curve as 2015 was the first year for Grace Center to help facilitate local adoptions, but things are progressing. By God’s Grace we have a newfound hope for the “double orphan” children that we care for. We are dreaming of one day having no children in the care of Grace Children’s home because we believe it is possible to find a loving forever family for all of them.

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Grace Social Work team with new adoptive mother and children  

 

 

 

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Saved by Grace (Part I)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

-Ephesians 2:4-10

I am sure I have read this passage of Scripture a few hundred times, maybe even more than a thousand times.  I never tire of it, and I will gladly read it thousands of more times and forever be in awe of these words and this promise.  How can the creator of the universe do such a thing?  How can we sinful humans believe such a thing?  How can we not?  What a great state of depression I would be in if I did not believe these words.

This blog however is not an exegesis of this passage, but rather a promotion of something happening that God has ordained and sustained;
that something is the work of Grace Center in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia…

So, I have entitled this blog saved by Grace (pun intended).

image-def93bfd21097e5e23c40c5c15de0c55201b4a296c5b78083b8f635535ef618a-VIt is with a heavy heart that I write this because just a few days ago yet another new born baby came into the care of the Grace Center children’s home.  And by new born baby, I mean a baby with its umbilical cord still attached, so probably 2-4 days old.

This baby, like many others before, was abandoned by its mother.  According to what local police have told us, the baby was found in a box in an open field where people dump trash.  This can only imply that the mother of this child intended to leave this baby for dead.

 
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That is the implication.  image-3b43cf9e2bcf46b1cae0c4e452ee4ef0500eb4089419b66434b104a26a448e63-VAnd that is an unbelievably heartbreaking reality we have been set apart by God to deal with.

It is not unusual for a mother in the 3rd world to want to give away her child.  I understand all too well that extreme poverty makes child rearing an unbelievably difficult task to handle.  I understand why many women here in Ethiopia feel unable to care for their child and why they feel it is better to give the child away to an organization.  But to leave your new born baby in a box in a field???  I do not understand that.  It makes me want to scream and curse Satan.  For me, only demonic forces, can explain why a mother would to do such a thing.

Fortunately, for these precious children of God, places like Grace Center exist.  Fortunately, for these precious creations of God, made in His image, wherever you are in Ethiopia, someone will show up, usually within a hour.  The place where this baby was abandoned was an open field that is actually a flood plain.  It is on the outskirts of our city, but somewhat secluded.  However, there are farmers and shepherds that roam around this area daily.  One of them must have heard and found the baby and took it to the local police.  The police where able to get the baby to the hospital, and then contact Grace Center, which is now the only place in our city that will take in an abandoned child.  This child has been saved by Grace.  Grace Center that is.  But our heart and prayer is that this life that was thrown in the trash and left for dead will become a life that is truly saved; by God’s grace.

I am so thankful to be a part of something that God has built in order to save the lives of His children.

 

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