Why Ethiopia?

Or, as Keith calls it: The Elephant in the Room.

We began the process of selecting a country very methodically, weighing many factors within adoption as we narrowed our list: age requirements, travel, cost, wait times. We researched countries for several weeks, pouring over comparison charts and other details like poverty level. After some time of reading, praying and discussing, we had narrowed our list down to four countries. We each listed the countries in order of preference, and our lists turned out in opposite order. After putting the idea away for a while, we FINALLY came to the conclusion that we would adopt from South Korea now and Ethiopia next (we knew we wanted to adopt more than one child). At first we had a great peace about the decision.

Over the next two weeks, in everything I read God kept pointing to Ethiopia. For instance, the author of one book I was reading said she knew her entire life she was called to be a missionary. She said she had always pictured herself in a luxurious country doing God's work. When she felt God was telling her to go somewhere uncomfortable, she thought she could dismiss it...thinking at least she was answering the first call: to be a missionary. She wondered if it really mattered where she went, as long as she did go. But, after a while, she knew if she were to say a complete "yes" to God, she had to go to this desolate country and give up her comfortable life.

Did I have this picture perfect adoption in mind, and was I just hoping that's where God would send us? I can't tell you if I had any prejudice in my heart at that time, but I felt that we were not only called to adopt, but called to adopt a child from a drastically different ethnicity, which might be uncomfortable, but it's what God wants us to do.

This was something I couldn't even articulate until I picked up the book Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. Chapter 44 struck a chord with me: "To Destroy the Hostility Between Races." That was it! I had tried to explain our country selection to a few close friends, but each time I tried I felt I came across sounding prejudiced, when that wasn't my heart at all.

The final paragraph of the chapter sums it up: "Jesus died to create a whole new way for races to be reconciled. Ritual and race are not the ground of joyful togetherness. Christ is. He fulfilled the law perfectly. All the aspects of it that separated people ended in him--except one: the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to build a lasting unity among races by saying that all religions can come together as equally valid. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God sent him into the world as the one and only means of saving sinners and reconciling races forever. If we deny this, we undermine the very foundation of eternal hope and everlasting unity among peoples. By his death on the cross, something cosmic, not parochial, was accomplished. God and man were reconciled. Only as the races find and enjoy this will they love and enjoy each other forever. In overcoming our alienation from God, Christ overcomes it between races."

"He...has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." Ephesians 2:14-16

My prayer is that this adoption will remove any racial barrier in my life and in the lives of those I encounter.