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The history behind the widows & orphans home. In 2007, Joy Casey - director of Widows and Orphans Homes - traveled to Ethiopia. For two weeks, she traveled the length of Ethiopia meeting Christian leaders, visiting orphanages and asking God to show her His purposes. Little did she know that this contact would catapult Adoption Ministry and the Widows and Orphans Homes into the very heart of Ethiopia's urban squalor to link arms with Christian brothers and sisters struggling to bring hope to marginalized children and desperately poor widows across the nation.

Adoption Ministry is an official NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Ethiopia. They are now reaching all the way around the world to aid orphans and widows to the cities of Addis Ababa, Adama, Nekemte, Dembidollo and Gimbie, in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a beautiful land-locked country almost twice the size of Texas. The country terrain consists of mostly high plateau with a central mountain range divided by the Great Rift Valley.
There are almost 75 million people living in Ethiopia, most living in the central highlands. According to some official statistics, over 65% of the Ethiopian population live below poverty level. The average per capita income in Ethiopia is around $870 USD. This income cannot begin to meet the cost-of-living needs of a family.
High death rates caused by AIDS, inadequate medical care, and unsanitary living conditions have added another layer of stress on the already precarious family institution of the poor.
There are over 5 million orphaned children in Ethiopia, and almost one million of these have been orphaned through HIV/AIDS. UNICEF data states there are more than 300,000 orphaned children living on the streets nationwide with 100,000 in Addis Ababa alone. The average age at which children begin living on the streets in Ethiopia is 10 years old, but 20% are under the age of five.

Adoption Ministry of YWAM–Ethiopia designed a ministry in Ethiopia that cares for both widows and orphans. In 2009, their first Widows and Orphans Home opened its doors to care for orphaned children and aging widows. The only prerequisite for admission to their program is complete destitution. There can be no one else in the community to care for the child or woman. Two years later they pioneered three new centers in the western part of Ethiopia where there were no social services for pregnant women, children or desperately poor widows.

In all the towns of Ethiopia where they have Widow and Orphan Centers, care is also extended to some of the poorest living in the community through a sponsorship and feeding program. The children brought to the centers are either full orphans or children whose parent or guardian is unable to care for them due to extreme poverty or ill health and requests an adoption plan. Ranging in age from newborn to eleven years old, the children are given thorough medical examinations that include testing for HIV, hepatitis, TB and venereal diseases. The children are then prepared to be legally adopted.

The Widows and Orphans Homes have gained an outstanding reputation with Ethiopian officials and the governmental agencies dealing with women and children are sending many babies, children and widows to be cared for in their facilities.
The grand opening of new widows and orphans home
On February 3rd, 2011 the ribbon was cut to officially open the new Widows and Orphans Home facility in Adama, Ethiopia. This building currently has two completed floors with the remaining three stories yet to be finished. There is much work yet to be done, including landscaping, finish work and personal touches.

Photography by Nathan Golden.
The history behind the widows & orphans home.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful Ethiopian girl who lost both of her parents to AIDS and was living in an orphanage. She, too, was HIV positive and had overcome the blows life dealt her with her sunny disposition and wonderful personality that endeared her to young and old. There was, however, one thing this little girl wanted more than anything: her own mommy and daddy. Over the course of a year I would visit her and each time she would greet me and then ask, "Where is my family?" "Soon, Eyerusalem, soon," I would reassure her and then I would call out to God imploring Him to fulfill my promise.

This story ended happily on Sept. 17th, 2010 when Eyerusalem stepped off the plane in Oregon tightly holding the hands of her mom and dad. Later, Clarke and Lynn Morris introduced their new daughter to her two brothers, Nicholas and Cameron, as well as to grandparents, cousins and many family friends. Eyerus is now on the journey of learning another language and adjusting to everything new. Thank You, Lord, for giving this precious girl a wonderful family and welcome to your new home, Eyerusalem!