About 85% of infants placed for adoption in Ethiopia were found abandoned. My understanding is that a former law prohibited living birth-parents from placing their children for adoption. Many still assume the law is in effect and so abandon their children. In addition, there aren't enough spaces in the orphanages and so children who have living family members are often turned away in favor of those who are abandoned or who have no living family members. For birth-parents who are truly desperate to place their children in better situations, I would assume that abandonment might seem like the best possible solution.
We are sincerely hoping to make contact with our kids' birth-families. If that's not possible, however, our agency has suggested that we might want to try going to the town where they were found, contacting those who found them, or asking around their villages for people who might recognize them.
This story from The New York Times is about one man who made contact with the person who found his daughter on the streets of China and took her to the orphanage. I was rather skeptical about trying to contact someone who might have found one of our children, but after reading this beautiful account I am much more convinced that it would be worthwhile.