I have been struck this past week by this weird sense that somewhere, one of our children could be being born. In some rural community, or street corner, a mother could be giving birth (without medical care, and most likely unassisted...) to a beautiful little girl or boy. I pray that there is love and at least some resources. That there is some support of grandmas, sisters, mothers. That the mother is treasuring her precious, even while she is facing the awful reality that she is not either physically or financially able to care for them. But I know the grim reality of far too many girls. All to often there is no support, and more than often, fear is what strikes these young moms. How my heart breaks, ALL OF OUR HEARTS SHOULD BREAK!
So what happens when these mom's decide it isn't feasible, that they simply cannot care for their babies?
(It should be noted here that giving up children in ET is NOT at all like the system here. These moms have profound sorrow and grief over this process. They CANNOT care for their children. Some have no milk whatsoever because of their own malnutrition, therefore their babies would STARVE. Some are dying of AIDS or another disease. Some are watching their other children starve or not thrive because of a lack of resources to provide for them. They are not putting their children up for adoption for THEIR OWN CONVENIENCE. This is not so they can continue to live their preferred lifestyle. Get the picture?)
If they are one of the lucky few they end up at one of the Orphan and Widows Homes ran by Adoption Ministry. Here both orphans and widows are welcomed in with open arms(what happens in many country's to widows is a travesty in its own right, but that is another post, for another day). There are (paid)nannies to do the cooking, cleaning, and day to day grunt work of raising the children. And the widows have a second lease on life, where they are valued and have such a pivotal role in loving on the orphans who they share a home with!
But what about the baby? Remember the one whose mom had no milk and was dropped off at the door? What are they supposed to eat?
It seems so simple to us here, FORMULA. Run to the corner store, pick up a can, and call it a day, RIGHT?
Wrong, oh so wrong! You see there isn't what we would call a quality formula available in Ethiopia. So these babies were originally only receiving what was basically a fortified dry milk powder(what "formula" is there). You can only guess how that wasn't cutting it!
Enter, Into the Streets of Ethiopia , a non-profit which sprung out of what else, adopting their child from Ethiopia and seeing the need. They are helping with donating some, but it is not enough. There are a lot of babies (or older malnourished kiddos who need the boost), and they go through A LOT of formula.
Every family that goes over(for court dates for their own adoption, as well picking up their children) try to take as much formula as they can get their hands on, often times filling all of their allotted luggage, and carrying their items in carry on. One huge blessing for the availability of formula has been the requirement by the Ethiopian Government that families must travel twice, that generally equates to an extra 150 pounds of formula per family! You see shipping to Ethiopia is crazy expensive. Like 20 dollars or so per pound expensive. Shipping, as sad as it is, is NOT an option!
So how can you help?
I am trying to get a package together of formula to send a friend who will be going on her first trip within the next few months. ANY samples of ANY brand would be greatly appreciated! If you feel the desire to do more and want to purchase a can or two, would would gratefully accept that as well! I will also take any and all coupons or formula checks you have or can get your hands on. Eventually it will be us collecting formula for OUR trip over, but right now we are collecting for other families, to take, to possibly feed OUR baby!
If you have recently had a baby or are pregnant, or simply would like to get on the mailing lists for the formula companies(to receive checks, coupons and samples in the mail) below are the links. I just went through and registered with them all(for some reason we weren't put on mailing lists with Noah...) and it took less than 15 minutes. Easy peasy, and free formula for orphans.
Similac Strong Moms Club (Similac mailing list, enter promo Code PARENTS to receive 6 free months of Parents Magizine)
Enfamil Family Beginnings (Enfamil mailing list)
Gerber Generation (Gerber/ Good Start mailing list, upper right hand corner)
Parent's Choice Free Sample (Walmart's brand, they will send you a day long supply, you can sign up for a sample of all 3 available types, Advantage, Premium, and gentle)
Members Mark Free Sample (Sam's club Brand, another free day long supply, you can sign up for both types)
Baby's Only Organic (a toll free number to call to request a free sample)
Bright Savings Plan (bright beginnings formula, not yet launched, link for future reference)
With OH SO MUCH Love!