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.
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.
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.
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.