I have been overwhelmed at the encouraging response from this blog’s readers as we shared the news concerning our adoption.  I wanted to write some posts sharing some of the questions we have received and our answers to them.

The first question we have heard is “why Ethiopia?”

I wish I could tell you a super-spiritual story about deciding on this country, but we don’t really have one.  The clouds didn’t open up and write Ethiopia in the sky or anything.  When I felt God’s urging to adopt, I didn’t have a particular place in mind, but I had also heard enough stories to prepare me to ask certain questions.  I have heard horror stories of prospective adoptive parents who have put tons of money, time, and effort into adopting and all of a sudden, a government or a parent backs out of the process leaving the couple still childless and someone being a lot richer due to the episode.

When I met the three guest lecturers (Kevin Ezell, Paul Chitwood, and Randy Stinson) at my Southern Seminary seminar who had all recently adopted, I asked each of them where should we adopt if we decided to adopt.  Here were my stipulations to the question: 1) Where is there a great need?  2) Where is the process secure and not corrupt?

Without hesitation, each of them stated that Ethiopia had one of the greatest needs and one of the most secure processes.

Then, Ethiopia it is.  If they would have told me any other country at that moment, I would have started looking in that direction.  I have to admit: I didn’t really think of adopting a child from there differently than I would anywhere else.  We didn’t do it for shock value.  We just heard about a need.  When a couple says they plan to adopt from Ethiopia, it’s just like when someone says they are going to do mission work in Africa.  Anything with Africa always seems to American people as extreme.  I’ve never been to Africa (yet), but I care for the orphans there as much as any other orphans.

Obedience is not extreme Christianity.  Obedience is expected behavior of someone who has been saved from death.

While adopting in Ethiopia is a huge financial commitment, it isn’t as much as other places.  We also studied their track record to see that the government wasn’t abusing the system like other countries are at this point.

While responding to a need might be a spiritual thing, we really didn’t have anything else other than those two needs mentioned above as why to adopt from Ethiopia.  Since committing to the process, it has changed.

Did you know?

  • There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone.  5 million without a mom or a dad.
  • The life expectancy for a person in Ethiopia is 42.
  • AIDS, famine, and war are the main factors at why so many orphans don’t make it or don’t live a long life.  Due to this environment, some kids don’t stand a chance at life.
  • Many orphans will not get a chance to respond to the gospel as orphans in other parts of the world would.
  • The more we investigated the process, the more we found that white adoptive parents had a problem with the race issue.  We didn’t, so we thought maybe that’s why God led is in that direction (more on that later, I promise 😉 – buckle up…)

That’s the story of how God led us to adopt from Ethiopia.  More questions and answers to come.  We can’t wait to make a trip there in the future to pick up our baby!  Ethiopia or bust!

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.