Ethiopia is becoming the nation of choice for international adoptions. Part of the reason is that they've had fairly lenient rules about the adoption process, and therefore adopters can get kids quicker. Another reason is that they have an overwhelming number of orphans (something like 5 million).
Well, here's some good news: The Ethiopian government, faith-based U.S. charity the Buckner Foundation, and Ethiopia's Bright Hope Church are teaming up on an experimental project to help orphans thrive in their home countries rather than be put up for adoption overseas. It's a program that provides two meals per day + education to hundreds of Bantu orphans. Read about it here. (Thanks to Lisa Marie for the link.)
I'm a bit surprised about the Buckner Foundation, as they seem to support international adoption and provide transnational adoption services. Perhaps this is a new experiment for them--we need to let them know it's a good thing!
It's encouraging to see the growth of a program like this that recognizes the importance of a child staying close to his/her home culture and family if at all possible, making international adoption a last resort. (The usual disclaimer: That's not to say international adoption is always "bad," or that many kids have benefited from it, but we know that cross-culture/cross-race adoptions must be treated with care. We have to consider what will be most beneficial and least traumatic for the kid.) A program like this will have a lasting positive impact on Ethiopia and its economy and its working population, moreso than a temporary fix of permanently sending the kids abroad.