ETHIOPIA – The Consortium of Christian Relief & Development Associations (CCRDA) has awarded Bethany Christian Services for submitting the top “Best Practices” idea for NGO work in Ethiopia.
Bethany Christian Services has been operating in the U.S. and around the globe since 1944, “Striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus for children and families around the world.”
The agency has a heart for children and equips families to be the answer for children in need on five continents. The group estimates that there are over 150 million children worldwide who do not have permanent homes. During 2016 alone, Bethany Global was able to provide an impact for more than 84,000 children.
Bethany has worked to help children in Ethiopia since 2007. The organization assists orphaned children to “find the love of a forever family,” within the context of trying to prevent orphan-hood by keeping families together. In addition, Bethany works with Christian families who are willing and able to become that forever family for orphaned or abandoned children.
The international adoption programs of NGOs in Ethiopia, popularized in part by Angelina Jolie’s adoption of an Ethiopian-born daughter in 2005, came to a demise in January 2018 when the parliament passed legislation to ban the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners.
The parliament’s decision is understandable given the trend of using orphanages and adoption agencies as a front for human trafficking. (See Missions Box News – An Emerging and Worrying Trend.) The issue has been a matter of debate spurred by the 2011 death of a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl under the care of adoptive parents in the U.S. The adoptive parents were convicted on charges associated with her death.
The ban presents an obvious dilemma for NGOs providing pathways to adoption
Bethany’s award was based on their submission of a program already proven successful in its programs in the U.S. and other countries, including Ethiopia.
The foster-to-adopt program prepares and assists Christian families to care for a child – or a child and their siblings – on a foster care basis until the best permanent care solution for the child is clear. The hope is always for the reunification of the birth family where that is an option.
Bethany has been utilizing the foster-to-adopt approach so successfully in Ethiopia that other NGOs are already beginning to develop their own programs based on the Bethany model. Officials from other nations are reaching out with invitations to Bethany to consider opening operations in their countries.
- Mission Network News, Spreading foster care in Ethiopia
- The Independent, Ethiopia bans adoption of children by foreigners
- TIME Magazine, Ethiopia Has Banned All Foreign Adoptions Amid Concerns Over Abuse
- Bethany Services