One out of ten children die before their first birthday. One in six children die before their fifth birthday.
These are stats about Ethiopia.
The reality of those figures were heartbreaking as we learned about Ethiopia and part of what led us to get in the process to adopt a child from there.
But, nothing personalized those figures for me like reading the blog of The Five Lewis Crew. They had 3 biological children and began feeling God tugging on their hearts to adopt from Ethiopia (sounds familiar, right?). They did all the paperwork and anxiously awaited the exciting day when they'd get their referral for the child they'd adopt, see his face for the first time (again, sounds familiar except they are adopting a boy and us a girl). They got The Call and were matched with a precious one month old baby boy, who was tiny weighing only 4.4 lbs at birth and 5.5 at the time of referral. They were overjoyed, named him Judah because it means "to praise". They began dreaming of bringing him home, of the bunk beds he'd one day share with his big brother.
And then a couple weeks later after a few calls that the baby was sick and in the hospital, they got this call, letting them know that the baby didn't make it. He died of pneumonia.
And the reality is that his death was preventable.
That's hard to hear, hard to bear.
And I couldn't stop thinking, "That could have been our baby." Nevermind the fact that they are with a different agency and requested a boy and us a girl. Still, the hard statistics of a 3rd world country suddenly hit very close to home.
My children are sick right now, I've already made 2 trips to the pediatrician this week and 4 to the pharmacy and it's only Wednesday!
And today, when all 3 of my suffering children seemed to need my attention at the same time, I was tempted to wonder how I'd be able to manage 4 children through sickness.
But, when my kids need medical care I can get it, often within 30 minutes of my initial call. And if they need medicine? Again, 30 to 60 minutes later it's there on the medicine spoon ready to enter their little bodies. Less than 5 miles from our home there are pediatric specialist for every illness and disorder you could possibly imagine! And, we have abundant food and vitamins, so when my kids get sick, it is not piling on top of an already weakened state.
So, with all that being said, how can I possibly think it would be too hard? It will be a privilege to be able to care for another child, in sickness and in health, who wouldn't otherwise have it, who would have otherwise faced the tough odds. One in six don't make it to their fifth birthday!
To compare, in Ethiopia the exact figures make it about 8 babies out of every 100 born each year that will die before they are 1 year old. In the United States, it is 0.6 babies out of every 100 born each year that will die before they are 1 year old.
Click here to see what the Lewis family is doing to use the life of little Judah to bring hope to many other babies in Ethiopia and the families that love them.
Find more Thankful Thursday here.