Since we began the adoption process, many have asked "why Ethiopia?"
While it's true there are so many children--in the United States and elsewhere around the world--in need of a loving home, the plight of African children is dire. And sadly, Ethiopia is one of only a few African nations that is currently open to international adoption.
Ethiopia is a country of children in desperate need.
A high birthrate and refugees from Somalia have strained Ethiopia's resources.
- There are 43 births annually per 1,000 people (as compared to 13.8 births per 1,000 here in the US)
- Conflict, famine and drought have led to widespread population migrations in Africa
- An estimated 97,300 refugees have fled to Ethiopia
- The infant mortality rate is 77 deaths per 1,000 live births (compared to 6 per 1,000 in the US)
- Of those born alive
- 1 in 20 will die in their 1st month
- 1 in 10 will die before their 1st birthday
- 1 in 6 will die before their 5th birthday
- 70% of these deaths are from causes that are totally preventable and directly related to the lack of access to adequate food, clean water, and medicine
- Only 12% have access to improved sanitation facilities (compared to 100% in the US)
- Only 38% of Ethiopians have access to improved water facilities (compared to 99% in the US)
- And water from the "improved" water facilities often contains coliform bacteria and even Hepatitis A.
- 34.6% of children under 5 are underweight (compared to 1.3% in the US)
- 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted in some way because of malnutrition
- 38.9% of people in Ethiopia live below the Ethiopian poverty line
- One third of the population survives on less than $1 US per day
- 20.5% of the workforce is unemployed
- In the 1990s, the population grew faster (3%) than food production (2.2%)
- Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
- 7 million people face starvation
- Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002
- Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any other country in Africa
- 1.8 million Ethiopian adults are infected with HIV
- In 2005, there were almost 5 million total orphans in Ethiopia, 744,000 of whom had been orphaned by AIDS
- By 2011, the number of AIDS orphans had climbed to 1 million
- Ethiopia's doctor to patient ratio is 1 to 33,500 (the ratio is 1 to 390 in the US)
- Ethiopia's doctor to child ratio is 1 to 24,000
- Health expenditures are 3.6% of GDP in Ethiopia (compared to 16.2% in the US)
- There are 0.18 hospital beds per 1,000 people in Ethiopia (compared to 3.1 beds per 1,000 in the US)
- 46.3% of the population is under 15 years old
- The median age in Ethiopia is 16.8 years (compared to 36.9 years here in the US)
- Life expectancy at birth is 56 years (here in the US it's 78 years)
- Only 2.7% of the people in Ethiopia today are 65 years of age or older (compared to 13.1% in the US)
- Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
- 88% of children will never attend secondary school
- Only 43% of those 15 years and older are literate (compared to 99% in the US)
- In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation.
- This left Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.
- And despite signing a peace treaty in 2000, the conflict with Eritrea continues to devastate the Ethiopian people and economy.
- According to the US State Department, the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea continues to be classified a "militarized zone"where the possibility of armed conflict continues to exist.
- A nation that struggles to feed its people continues to spend millions annually on military defense in response to terrorist attacks.
As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person. --Paul Shane Spear