Bethany Christian Services’ successful foster care program in Ethiopia is growing. Currently, they serve in five cities and have a goal to expand their efforts to five more cities and place 1,000 children in loving, Christian homes by the end of 2023.
Their foster-to-adopt program began in 2010 and has already placed nearly 400 children into local homes.
Foster-to-Adopt in Ethiopia
“We basically believe that every child should be raised in a family and they need a family to belong to. The idea of taking care of children in childcare institutions has been there for a long time. It was one of the widely practiced form[s] of care for many years,” Bethany’s Sebilu Bodja says.
According to UNICEF, there are about 4.6 million orphaned or half-orphaned children in the nation. Children are often abandoned by their parents because they can’t afford to raise them. Other times, parents have passed away from diseases or the children have run away from home. Because of this, orphanages are packed and children receive little attention
Before introducing Bethany’s foster-to-adopt program, it was unheard of in Ethiopia to take care of an unrelated child.
However, their program has raised awareness of the need. Through its satellite program, Bethany has worked to recruit families.
“It impacted the lives of children in such a way that now they have a family to call their own,” Bodja says.
“We have seen significant change in their development — whether that’s physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological — and we’ve seen children thriving in their new families. For the foster parents, what we keep hearing from many families is they have been able to see what God has called them to be as a family to a child.”
The individual care that children have received from families helps kids grow and develop. It helps them process previous trauma they have experienced and deal with their grief.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lindsay Steele