Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Would You Take Children From This Person? Blog Action Day: Poverty.

This post is not for the 98% of the people that read this blog. I know that you, my blog buddies, think about poverty in Ethiopia on a daily basis. Your children are from there.

This post is for the 2% of people who land on this blog completely by accident, or by typing the following search words into Google, 'Amharic dating friend,' 'When you lose something you can't replace,' 'Is Colin Firth attractive?' or 'What to do when you lose your best friend to cancer.' (Actual phrases from my sitemeter). To that last person, I am so so sorry about your best friend. I don't know what you do. I am trying to figure that out myself.

I am adopting two children from Ethiopia. I am doing this for selfish reasons. Poverty is one reason I am able to do this. Everyday, Ethiopian families are finding it impossible to feed their children. They are giving their children up for adoption.

Okay, so you may be saying,' I am an American, I would rather hear about how to help Americans.'

Americans who are living in poverty, have access to many social services. Before I was married, I was uninsured. This is where I went for health care. It was free. When my friend Petra needed supplemental food for her family, she went here. There are services in place here in America, lots of services.

Please watch This.

Thank you for watching it. That video was shot in Oromia.

I recently received this information from my adoption agency...

We are happy to share news with you about a new direction in which CHSFS Ethiopia is moving, in association with adoption service partners in certain regions of the country. CHSFS Ethiopia recently signed and enacted formal adoption service working agreements with two licensed orphanages in the states of the Southern Region and Oromia. Mussie orphanage and Bethel orphanages are licensed in local child care institutions that reach out and care for unaccompanied, abandoned, and orphaned children. In turn, these license child care providers may refer children to placing agencies such as CHSFS Ethiopia for the purpose of adoption.

Ethiopia is losing her children.

Speaking of losing children. Most women in Ethiopia do not have access to a doctor when they go into labor. Please bear with me and watch THIS. Please, it is not that long, just watch it.

Thank you for watching. There is no reason that these women should not get their lives back. They have already lost so much. Their babies have died inside of them, and they have been ostracized from their communities. A fistula surgery costs $450 dollars, the same price as one of these.

One more picture, and then I promise I'll shut up.

This was taken by our friends, Angie and Anil when they traveled to pick up their son Noah. This is Kolfe. This picture breaks my heart. Kolfe is a kind of end of the line orphanage. Most of the boys there have aged out of a possible adoption. Their future is quite grim. I think about this picture a lot.

How can you help? What moved you most? Anything? Nothing? I lost you ten minutes ago?

Here are some suggestions.

Doctors Without Borders

The Fistula Foundation

Wide Horizons for Children

I know this is a very simplistic explanation of problems and solutions.

I am just a woman, trying to have a family, trying to respect a country. I am selfish.

Ethiopia deserves to keep her children, not give them to people like me. I am grateful, but it shouldn't have to happen.

Thanks for listening. Please do what you can.

* 1st photo is from; 2nd photo is from


  1. I wish more people were selfish.

    Good words.

  2. Thank you for being so eloquent. You've verbalized somethings that I struggle to do. I've bookmarked this post. Do you mind if I reference it in my own blog one day?

    PS. I continue to read your blog :)

  3. You know I know all this and this post still stopped me in the middle of my day. Even those of us who do know still need reminders to take action.

  4. I just watched a walk to beautiful (got it on netflix) about the fistula. its should rent it....

  5. Thank you for these photos. The last photo literally broke my heart. Again. It's true that we may think about it everyday but thinking and feeling are not the same. Thanks for helping me to feel something today. The vast majority of orphaned children never get to have a mom or dad or even an aunt or uncle to take care of them, there are just too many children and not enough adults. I agree parenting is all about selfishness, sometimes I feel guilty. Why do we get so much, the best of what they have to give and they do not even get clean drinking water or enough food to eat.

    Thank you again for another wonderful post.

    And...I didn't know you are waiting for two! Wonderful.

  6. Julie, this post encapsulates so much. Beautifully done. Those videos are worth watching.

    I'm so glad I know you too. I'm so glad people will click from my blog onto yours.


  7. Incredible post! I hope the 2% out there are listening!

    If we keep talking, than people will eventually listen... at least that's what I am hoping.


  8. Julie, You have expressed so much of what I feel! Adoption is such a mixed bag and I am scared of the day my children ask me, "So why didn't you just give the money to our biological families so we could have stayed with them?" The answer boils down to: I am selfish! In order to look my children in the eye when that question does come, I think supporting Ethiopia in any way I can is the only way I can stay sane. Thank you for speaking out. I will post a link to your post on my blog. I really admire you, blog friend.

  9. Wow....that was heart wrenching and very thoughtful. I know alot of us who read your blog already know this stuff but I hope those that don't learn something. And more importantly do something, anything no matter how small.


  10. Wonderful post! Thank you for posting this. :)

  11. Great post! It is even more heartbreaking when you see it in person. I don't think I'll ever get over it. I don't think I want to.

  12. This post is so, so, so wonderful. The perspective you have is so important, and something all of us who adopt should remember.

    (and this is totally trivial in comparison to your post, but...I just tagged you today--feel free to ignore it if this annoys you, and I apologize)

  13. Great post Julie...Pacey is from the Oromia region. That video was pretty amazing for me to watch and makes me want to go back now.

  14. You have a way with words that transcends the adoption community. I think this should be posted in the main stream media.

    You can be our Maureen Dowd of the adoption world.


  15. Yes Yes Yes! What a great post. I also commented on your comment on my blog. I am having zero luck with grants so far. Any other ideas? I just know a tad bit about your personal story from your blog, and I think you are amazing. I imagine that you are a very very strong person for all that you have been through. Best of luck! I am going to add your blog to my blog list so I can read your posts more often.

    Theresa "Tree"

  16. Beautifully put, Julie. Can I link to this post? This EXACT topic is something I was trying to express to AP's on a yahoo group for my agency recently... adopting a child to "save them" vs being able to look at how adoption is really a selfish thing. You've worded it much better than I did!

    THANK YOU! :-)

  17. Yes, of course, to anyone who wants to link to this post.

    Oh, and Jesi, please move back!

  18. i've been silently reading your blog for a while now...
    ...thanks for sharing the videos-maybe some of the people who accidentally come across your blog will be moved to do something...

  19. Amen amen amen.

    thank you for this thoughtful, honest, and timely post.

    You ROCK.

  20. I came here via Habesha Child and just wanted to say thanks for this post.

    Wendy in Oregon

  21. Julie,
    A wonderful heartfelt post very eloquently put. I feel selfish everyday for being able to hug my beautiful daughter knowing there could be a birth parent whose such difficult circumstances forced them to let her go. My happiness is her heartache.

  22. Wow! Jude is from the Oromia region. I'm going to link it from my blog- hope that's ok. It's too powerful not to share. Thank you!

  23. A good reminder even for those of us "who Know", I think of my friends from Kolfe often and it's hard to understand how these boys can be so wonderful and positive despite all the hardships they face.

  24. Awesome post. I just love it. Hope it reaches somebody.

  25. The 2nd video, despair to dignity, wouldn't play for me. The first one did. The weighing and the measuring and the screening with the wristbands - isn't there enough plumpy nut to feed all 2000 people in line? Did you see the movie Black Gold? Why on earth are hungry people turned away from emergency feeding centers? I guess these questions are as silly asking how can we live in a world where this happens in the first place. But really, WTF.