Ian and Brittany Bentley in Ethiopia meeting with a woman who helped care for their daughter Selah.
Starting a Children’s Home in Ethiopia
Santa Barbara’s Bentley Family Bought One-Way Tickets
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Ian and Brittany Bentley adopted their Ethiopian-born daughter, Selah, in 2011, but upon returning home to normality, they soon felt that helping just one child in need was not enough. The families, including their two biological sons, have purchased one-way tickets and will be moving to Ethiopia on June 13 to partner with another family to run a children’s home for orphans and destitute children.
During their adoption journey, the Bentleys became involved with starting a non-profit organization called Gold Coast OrphanAlliance after realizing the lack of support and information for families going through the adoption process. To allow the area’s adoptive parents to connect, the Bentleys started a support group within their organization. But after finally receiving Selah, they realized the impact that they could have on other families and children if they took more drastic measures.
Ian attributes his strong sense of faith — as well as his love for his new daughter — as the catalysts for the life-changing step of moving his family across the world to help those in need.
“Every day we are bombarded with statistics about how many poor and orphaned children there are in the world, and we as a family decided we wanted to put our faith into action and do something about it,” said Ian. “After we adopted Selah, all those statistics suddenly had a face, and we realized our journey wasn’t ending with just bringing Selah home. We wanted to share our love even farther by starting the children’s home.”
No Ordinary Love Ministries Children’s Home currently has a license to care for up to 30 children; however, there is a greater desire for more sufficient funding. The home will be in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and will be open to a wide variety of children, including those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and malnourishment, those abused or abandoned, and those at risk for child trafficking and prostitution. With the ultimate goal of having the children reconcile and reintegrate back with family members or undergo domestic adoption, the kids at the home will be provided with education, three full meals, hygienic supplies, and a clean, safe living environment provided by caregivers. The Bentleys will be living near the home and giving continual care to the children.
In addition to the children’s home, the Bentleys are looking into what they can do to help the kids learn vocational skills and how to care for themselves financially. They will be partnering with the organization fashionABLE, a non-profit that provides former prostitutes with the opportunity to sustain themselves and their families by making scarves to sell. The scarves, which have gained recent popularity after being worn in the most recent season of The Bachelorette, give women jobs and an opportunity to support themselves away from street life or abusive husbands.
To read more about the Bentleys’ journey, check out their website at steadfastlove.org.