In the same way that the reasons to adopt are intensely individual and personal...so are the reasons behind choosing to adopt domestically or internationally.
Let me state up front that I do not think one or the other is better. There are risks and pro's and con's with both. And I am pretty sure the Lord never makes any kind of differentiation between the two in his word.
A child that needs a home is a child that needs a home.
I am just explaining our reasons for choosing the path that we have.
Like I've written about before, my personal experience with having grown up with so many adopted siblings strongly influenced my views on adoption. As a young teenager my family did foster care to adopt for a time. I know this is not true for everyone and I hesitate to write this for fear of discouraging anyone from choosing this route to adopt, but I would be lying if I said that our foster experience was a pleasant one. Even as a teenager I saw gross inefficiencies and circumstances where the best interest of the child was not prioritized.
After our missions trip to Haiti, and seeing the extreme and abject poverty that is so prevalent in that country we strongly felt that the Lord was leading us to put our efforts into adopting an international orphan. Regardless of your political leanings...one cannot deny that even the most under resourced orphan or pregnant teenage mother in America has access to public health care and education. Unfortunately, in many under developed countries there is no such thing as public health care and education, or only a limited few actually have access to it.
Once we had decided on international adoption, we looked at three primary factors when choosing a country to adopt from:
1) Where are we eligible to adopt from?
2) Where is there a significant need?
3) Where is there a stable and non-corrupt (at least as much as you can possibly get) program in place?
Haiti was not an option as we didn't meet three key eligibility requirements for the country. As we moved on and started looking at other countries, Ethiopia kept coming up (and up again!) in our research and our talks with other adoptive families.
There is significant need for adoptive families in Ethiopia. There are 4.8 million orphans in this country, namely because of wars, severe droughts, and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The life expectancy for an Ethiopian is 43.
And while no adoption process or country is not without corruption, there is plenty of research that we looked at that showed that the Ethiopian adoption program is only growing and becoming more stable.
Ethiopia also has one of the simplest dossier requirements in the adoption world and is one of the least expensive countries to adopt from.
Intertwined into all this research and facts was a lot of prayer and wise counsel and searching the Word...
...and we felt confident in moving forward with Ethiopia for our adoption journey.