Why International adoption?

so my bestie Jenna recently posted this on her blog and I thought it was TOO GOOD not to share.  As adoptive parents we get this question a lot…”why did you adopt from Ethiopia & not from here? and this is a great post about those questions.  I also want to encouage you to read my friend Jamie’s series called:

you can find that HERE.

now, onto Jennas post.  here blog link HERE.

A commonly asked Question that seems to be popping up more and more is this:

Why International Adoption when there are many children here in the U.S. who need to be taken care of? 


What makes it so special to adopt kids outside of the U.S. when we have kids that need adopting here?


Why are so many people so concerned about kids from other countries and not our own? Shouldn’t we be focusing on our own problems?

I would like to take a stab at responding/answering this question as an adoptive parent. An International Adoptive parent at that. Sometimes these questions can come across offensive as an adoptive parent and a defense tends to rise up in us. My intention and my voice behind this response is not that of a defensive tone nor does it come from an offended heart. It comes with Love and understanding of questions such as these. Questions that need not be ignored or over looked. They are very valid and important questions.

First I don’t think that adopting a child from another country makes it more “special”. It makes it hard, more time consuming, expensive, and risky, but I wouldn’t say “special”. Adoption in and of it’s self is a blessing and is very special. Regardless of geography.

I love what my husband recently said in response to one of these questions:
“The  reason families adopt beyond the U.S. borders can be for a number of reasons. One of the primary reasons is need. In the U.S. at any given time there are roughly 500,000 children displaced from their home and within the foster care system. Of this 500,000 only roughly 80,000 – 100,000 are actually “adoptable”. There are roughly 2 million families in the U.S. today looking to adopt a child within the U.S. This means that many families are on a waiting list. This also means that if you are a healthy and young child in the U.S. (and not part of a large sibling group) you will be adopted without delay.”

In Ethiopia, where our daughter Emerson is from, there are approximately 5 Million orphans. According to U.S Inter-country Adoption webpage only 1732 were adopted into the U.S in 2011. This hardly makes a dent in the need. The statistics world wide for orphan care are overwhelming high.

I would certainly say that there’s not anything more or less special about adoptions within or outside of the U.S. They are both important and necessary in order to “care for the orphans” that God commands us to care for. (See James 1:27 in the Bible) God did not command us to just care for the orphans where we live specifically but all orphans in need.

God does not see borders, He only sees children. With this command, He calls some to care for the orphans here in the U.S. and calls others to care for the orphans in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, China, Ukraine, Liberia, Brazil, Haiti etc.

However if you look closely there is a difference in the needs of children (orphans) outside of the U.S. vs. the ones within the borders of the U.S. In the third world you will find orphans dying everyday by the thousands from lack of basics needs that are met here in the U.S. by the government and/or foster programs.

  • Shelter
  • An Abundance of food
  • Access to free Medical Care
  • Clean Water
  • Education

And so on…
Children in the third world do not get these things.

I was recently reading a string of comments on a local news page on Facebook concerning International vs. Domestic adoption. I felt sad and drained after reading through some of the things people say about families who adopt internationally.  I came to the result that most people don’t really know what they are talking about. People just need to be informed and educated and made aware. People need to understand the different needs and where exactly the needs are and how to meet those needs. And it’s up to us adoptive parents to love and educate those that just don’t know.

There are thousands of resources out there concerning adoptions both international and domestic. If you have questions on either I want to encourage you to look into it your self and find answers or helpful articles to understand each process.

Ultimately we all need to be praying about what our roll looks like in the relieving the world wide orphan and poverty crisis. Instead of pointing fingers and saying mean things to each other we need to love, encourage and help one another out. I was once asked “Why are you spending thousands to adopt from Ethiopia when there are orphans in your city’s foster care program? Why not take care of your own first. “My response was simply “How many foster children do you have? How many children have you adopted?” For us, we felt called by God to adopt from Ethiopia. God calls some there, God calls some here and God calls some to both. God’s ways are great.

God doesn’t see borders, He sees children. And he is faithful in setting the lonely in homes. He cares for the orphans, He sees them in their distress and he deploys families from all races, economical positions and countries to care for them and to meet their needs. How is God calling you to play a roll in His story of redemption?

Hey, I'm Wynne!

Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life.  I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.

A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
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  1. Hayley S. says:

    I thought I would share a little about our story being both foster parents and in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Our first call was to respond to the need of children needing temporary/permanent homes in our city. I didn’t feel led to international adoption selfishly out of cost and the length of time. As I started going to adoption conferences, my heart was radically changed. I don’t think you can prioritize one call over the over. We are to care for the orphans in our city and the orphans in the world. What struck me, is that as broken as the CPS system is in the US, it’s still something. At it’s best it is advocating for the children in our states and cities that is seeking their best interest whether it’s reunification or adoption. In the countries with a severe orphan crisis, there’s NOTHING for these children advocating for their rights. Institutionalized care and orphanages should never be a replacement or viable option for children over a family!!

    • Wynne says:

      thanks for sharing more of your story Hayley. it’s a beautiful thing when we answer gods call no matter what that looks like. and it’s amazing to watch god change our hearts – where you might have been scared of cost & time with international adoption, I am selfishly scared of foster/foster to adopt for other reasons. god is starting to change my heart on the issue and I can’t wait to see where he leads our family in the future. just saying yes one step at a time!

  2. katy says:

    a big A.MEN.

    b/c EVERY child without a mommy and daddy should have one.

    “God calls some here, some there, and some both.”
    I’m not going to be the one to question The One.

    • Wynne says:

      that’s right Katy! god calls us all different places. we are all being a family to those who have no one. such a joy & honor!

  3. Mama Mimi says:

    Great response. For us the answer was simply that it was where God was calling us. But yes, there are SO many reasons.

  4. Amy White says:

    My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting an infant/infants from Ethiopia. We have also been asked this question… why not America? We feel the same way, that we are commanded to care for orphans and widows in their distress. We are not commanded to only care for American orphans… and the sheer need and number of orphans in Ethiopia made our choice of which country to adopt from very easy. This post really resonated with me. I also want to ask people who are critical of our choice of country, “Okay, well then what are you doing for the foster care system, if that is where your passion lies?” A simple congratulations will do, but I also appreciate this post because it reminds me that there is always room for a gracious answer to people’s questions regarding our adoption.

    • Wynne says:

      hey amy! thanks for your comments – I’m glad that Jenna’s words helped you! It’s sometimes hard to not just be on the “defense” but you are right, there is always room for a gracious answer! best of luck in your adoption!

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