I want my birthday to be about more than just me. 

I am really humbled by the outpouring of birthday wishes that I’ve received, Birthday_balloonsnot only through my  family, but through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.  Birthdays  make you reflect, and I’m clear that my life is good because the important things are taken care of: I am lucky to have a wonderful family, who are healthy and safe.  Likewise, I have my health and strength.  Also, I’m lucky to be part of a vibrant community that’s made up of people both in and out of music.  I really appreciate your feedback, criticism, love and support.

This past Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of my family welcoming my daughter into it.  As you may recall, we’d just returned from nine days in Ethiopia where we completed the formal adoption process.  In our case, it took 14 months.  The agency we worked with, Wide Horizons For Children, runs adoption programs in 12 countries as well as here in the US.  There’s so much work to be done all over the world but, for obvious reasons, feel an investment in the Ethiopia program.

And Ethiopia's need is gravely serious.  Accredited by the Ethiopian government in 2003, WHFC has placed over 600 children and has provided sponsorship assistance over 900 children still living in the country.  Unfortunately, it’s a drop in the bucket when you consider that there are over FIVE million orphans in Ethiopia right now and only about 3,000 total adoptions each year.  There’s a deadly mix of poverty, famine and drought, and an AIDS epidemic that is ravaging the country.  I remember reading this story in Time magazine only a couple of months after we brought my daughter home and thinking: “That could’ve easily been her.”

So what do I want for my birthday?  Please consider a donation to WHFC’s Ethiopia program.  Literally, any amount helps, so you could give $5 or $10.  I'm hoping that enough people will jump on this and that a lot of small donations will add up to something significant.  The money will be put to use for any number of healthcare, education, clean water or child sponsorship initiatives that the agency runs.  They even have a subsidy program that helps defray the cost of adoption for families who want to adopt, but for whom the costs of adoption are prohibitive.

The one thing I ask is that where it asks you to select a “Humanitarian Aid Project,” please select Ethiopia.

Again, here’s the link to donate.

Hat tip to blogger Chris Brogan, who sparked the idea with his Today Is Not My Birthday post.

Thanks so much!

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