Ethiopian families and alternative family-based care

In response to the worldwide orphan crisis, we connect children in need with families in their country of origin.

February 03, 2020

Patience* was found abandoned when she was 6 months old. The local police discovered her near a church in Ethiopia. That same day, Patience was placed in an orphanage while the police searched for her relatives. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to locate them.

Family-based care offers a proven solution to protect vulnerable children. While orphanages may provide for a child’s basic needs, they’re not intended to protect and care for children long-term. Only a family best supports a child’s physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Gabriel* and his wife, Selamawit*, heard about Bethany’s Foster-to-Adopt program during service at their church. They were touched by the story of one adoptive parent who’d adopted two boys with medical needs. The couple understood the need for safe, loving homes for children in their community and wanted to help. That’s why we connect children with foster families, right where they live in their countries of origin.

As soon as the service ended, Gabriel and Selamawit enrolled to become foster parents through Bethany. The couple received training, resources, and support services from their caseworker every step of the way.

When Patience became eligible for foster-to-adopt, Gabriel and Selamawit welcomed her into their family and home.

Patience is flourishing under the love and care of her new family. The musical family gave her the nickname of “Zimare,” which means melody—and extended family members and friends have embraced the adoption, sending gifts and offering encouragement. Gabriel and Selamawit’s community also welcome Patience as their newest family member. Friends at church give the family words of encouragement.

“Patience was quiet at first,” Gabriel said. “But now she’s close with us, and other family members. She’s active and likes asking questions.”

Patience’s language and communication skills are improving every day. She’s connected with her adoptive parents, calling Gabriel, “ababa,” which means “daddy,” and Selamawit, “inate,” which means “my mom.”

Her appetite has also grown.

“She likes boiled potatoes, carrots, pasta, and oranges and bananas” Selamawit said. “She drinks milk after every meal and can drink from a cup by herself. She’s developing new independent skills.”

Children belong in families. We connect children in need with families in their country of origin. And when we sustain families, they build stronger communities. Our goal is to equip local families to provide loving, stable homes, so children can thrive.

Because of Gabriel and Selamawit’s care, Patience has the love and stability every child deserves—and a place to call home.


*Name changed to protect identity.

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