Knowledge is a great thing right? I mean most of us spend a great deal of money and time trying to acquire knowledge through schooling, travel, or through the counsel of our older and wiser friends and family. We strive to know about the world around us, but when we gain some of that knowledge, what do we do with it? Kelly and I are at a stage in our lives where we have been confronted with some new information about our increasingly small world and we’ve asked ourselves the question: what now?
What we’ve learned has come from a combination of research and Kelly’s first-hand experience in Ethiopian orphanages. She had the chance, as many of you know, to spend two months in the capitol city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working as a physical therapist directly with the children of the government run orphanages. Kelly’s job wasn’t just to help children, but also to educate their caregivers on better ways to take care of the children or “kiddos” as she calls them. Things like ensuring the kiddos get out of their cribs and spend time outside in the sun light were foreign ideas to some caregivers. They are so understaffed that spending time with each child throughout the day isn’t a possibility. Children often feed themselves with a bottle and there simply aren’t enough hands to pick every child up every day.
The knowledge Kelly gained from working with kids that don’t get picked up, don’t get to see the sunlight, and feed themselves on their backs (leading to aspiration) is that they are almost all developmentally delayed. In most cases, with enough care, these children could come around and “catch up” to any other kiddo their age, but the reality is that most cases get worse rather than better. The pictures and videos Kelly sent home definitely had some eye-opening moments for me and a bigger reality hit both of us as we learned more about the magnitude of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. This link will take you to a video made by the Gladney Center for Adoption and you will see some amazingly awful numbers and some beautiful children: http://adoptionsbygladney.com/html/services/human_ethiopia.php
So what now?
Now that we know there are over six million orphans in one country what do we do with that knowledge? Do I pretend I didn’t see the part of the video that said twelve percent of six million children will die before they are five years old? Let’s pretend something else. Let’s pretend I was good at math (a stretch I know!) because numbers this big don’t seem real to people like me on the other side of the world. 12% of 6 million is 720,000. If that number is still too far out there let’s think about a football stadium. My team, painfully, is the Cincinnati Bengals and their stadium holds over 65,000 people so you would have to line up ELEVEN Bengals stadiums filled to capacity along the Ohio River to match the number of orphans that will die in Ethiopia before they are five years old.
|Multiply by eleven, then imagine all of those people gone. That's the number of orphans that won't make it to their 5th birthday in Ethiopia.|
So what now? Something! Just do something is the thought screaming through my head when I try and understand this massive problem. Of course it is too big for my wife and I to tackle by ourselves, but we don’t feel that’s what we are called to do. Kelly and I are confident we have been given a chance to gain this knowledge so that we can simply do something. For us that something is adoption and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Earlier I asked if knowledge really is a great thing. If you can turn it into wisdom by applying it to your life, then I say yes, knowledge is a great thing!Kelly was given a fantastic opportunity that turned into a love for the people of Ethiopia and when she brought that love home with her it was infectious. The passion she showed and the desperate desire to return to help as much as we can was passed to me and I’m so grateful. As we learn we are continuously faced with the simple question of “what now?” The best answer we can come up with is, just love.
I really hope you get a chance to watch that video I linked to earlier because Kelly actually got to work with some of those kiddos! I also want to thank whomever is out there reading this and keeping us in your thoughts. Please shoot us a comment if you have any questions or just want to say hi.
Nick & Kelly