Since 2007, the House of Joy in Shashemene, Ethiopia has cared for abandoned babies who have no other hope for survival. The government brings these babies into this home because there is no other place for them. House of Joy’s goal is to place these children in permanent families through adoption. They host adoption seminars to recruit and train families who will adopt these abandoned children who have no known birth families. The House of Joy is passionate about placing these abandoned children in loving, forever families.
The vision for The House of Joy is to partner with God to rewrite the life stories of these children.
Selam’s life story is one of many that God has transformed through the miracle of adoption.
A man opened the door to the timid knock of a mother holding a newborn baby. “Please, sir, would you give me some food?” she begged. Being a compassionate man, Hussen went to the back of his house to find food for the poor woman. When he came back she was gone, leaving her baby on the doorstep.
This baby was placed in The House of Joy where Amarech and Gezhagne joyfully adopted her as their own when she was 6-months-old. They named her Selam (which means peace) because she brought them peace in their struggle with infertility. Selam now has her very own mommy, daddy, and big sister. From abandoned to chosen, she is embraced and loved.
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.
Over 110 million people live in Ethiopia, most living in the central highlands. According to some official statistics, almost 90% of the Ethiopian population lives below the poverty level. The average per capita income in Ethiopia is around $800 USD. This income cannot begin to meet the real needs of a family.
High death rates caused by AIDS, inadequate medical care, and unsanitary living conditions have added other layers 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% of the street children are under the age of five.