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Ethiopia’s Abandoned Baby Crisis

House of Joy | Shashemene, Ethiopia

The 14-hour drive with Six Abandoned Babies (with no seatbelts and no car seats)

Transporting the babies for House of Joy in Shashemene, Ethiopia
Transporting the babies for House of Joy in Shashemene, Ethiopia

Our destination was a small town in Western Ethiopia called Nekemte, where six abandoned babies waited for our arrival. These precious babies had been approved for adoption and waited to be taken back to the capital city. As we pulled up to the facility, we were struck with how immaculately clean it was. The home was filled with babies who were loved and well cared for. The staff was remarkably well trained and most importantly, the babies were lavishly loved. I don’t know anything else like it in the entire nation of Ethiopia.

As with many vans in Ethiopia, our baby transport van had no seatbelts and no car seats. We had the incredible privilege of holding each of these precious lives for the entirety of the 14 hours return trip. I would find out later that this strenuous, cramped ride would cause long term damage to my back. However, this was a sacrifice I was willing to make, because it was on this trip that I fell in love with God’s heart for abandoned babies, and especially, the House of Joy.

Many newborns are abandoned on pathways in the jungle. Because of this, there is a saying in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia:

“When the hyenas howl, a baby has died.”

The Government has no place for these babies

This has left the government in an impossible situation. Overwhelmed with so many abandoned children, they often have no place for them. They regularly contact House of Joy to see if they have the ability to take any more of these abandoned and orphaned children.

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Today, there are 16 abandoned children living at House of Joy.

The abandoned babies coming into the House of Joy have often suffered starving and are terribly emaciated. It is painful to see a malnourished baby with their skin sagging off of their bones. But, through the love and care given to them in the House of Joy, their transformations are nothing short of miraculous. These babies receive 2.5 cans of baby formula per day, and a loving place to sleep and grow.

Baby formula in Ethiopia is very costly. A single small can of baby formula costs $6.00 per can. With each child averaging 2.5 cans per day, the ongoing formula budget gets very expensive.

On one of my trips to the House of Joy in Ethiopia, I took my 12-year-old grandson with me. Will was so moved by what he saw in the home, that he went straight home and raised money for a whole month’s worth of formula for the home. When we arrived on the next trip, we were shocked to see that they only had one can of formula remaining in the cupboard. Will’s formula gift came just in time! This experience deeply impacted the heart of that 12-year-old.

We are dedicated to helping keep that formula cupboard full.

House of Joy recruits and trains families who adopt these precious children.

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Before [Left] and After coming into House of Joy and receiving life-giving formula

This is only the beginning

The plight of these abandoned children is overwhelming. The work of House of Joy is making an amazing difference in the lives of these children and in Ethiopia’s abandoned baby crisis as a whole.

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Ethiopian Families are being taught about the concept of adoption and they are taking action!

About Ethiopia

According to UNICEF data, over 300,000 orphaned children live on the streets nationwide with 100,000 in Addis Ababa alone. These children are usually around the age of 10, but 20% are under the age of 5 — often abandoned by their parents.

This post was originally published at StreamsOfMercy.org

Written by

We’re a US-based charity born out of a passion to care for the most needy and helpless of society. Together we’re changing the lives of orphans around the world

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