Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sometimes you just need a break

There has been so much going on in Vos world of adoption that I think it is time to just sit back and take a deep breath, stick your toes in the lake and enjoy our current surroundings.

The referrals have be slow. Well maybe the word non-existent is a better term. Due to the police not referring any abandon children in the capital city (instead putting them in a government facility), double triple checking everything to avoid possilble issue with child harvesting and just slowdowns within our agency, we have not seen any referrals since summer.

Good news is that our agency was cleared of any issues within the investigation by the Michigan department of child services. I am sure it was a battle that went on for months. The media coverage did not help with new sign ups, thus putting the agency seriously behind with new revenue. Hopefully now they can rebuild their name and get on top of the contriversary.

Bad news is that our coordinator Kim parted ways with our agency. The details of this are shrowded in secretcy. We don't know if she left, was fired, downsized or just mutually decided to part? It doesn't matter as it is none of our business, but this does put many people in the blues and the news does not do anything to raise spirits.

The single moms are still waiting to hear if they can still adopt. The laws in Ethiopia say yes, but MOWA is still not approving any of the moms. My heart crys for these gals. So much they have had to do to pull off the adoption finacially. Now this. Hopefully good news will come soon. If not, I think we will need to move our expectations up a bit as I am sure we will jump ahead drastically on the list. Nothing we could ever feel good about.

Read a good called "orphaned". Totally recommend it to anyone in the process.

Lastly, feeling good about the savings for our final adoption fees. I was able to put these all aside in a special bank account just waiting for "the call". The international aid fund is just a few hundred dollars away from being all set. I know that this will just finish on it's own with our family and friends. That only leaves the travel, which could easily go on a credit card or come out of our savings. It is really a gift not to have this stress to deal with of money!

This weekend is our annual adoptive moms dinner. I plan to blog about this seperately. It will be a blast!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our favorite adoption Video

This is Little Luv's favorite adoption video. Well actually favorite in general. She wants to see it every time I get out my computer. Most kids say Barney or Elmo. LL wants the "babies". I would have to say we have watched it several hundred times. Good thing the music is awesome!

I recently received an email from the proud parents and the adopted kids are doing great. This makes watching the video even better.

My favorite part is where the father (Dave) reminds his wife (Rae) to remove her shoes just before she excepts the children. What a overwhelming moment in their lives and yet the both still want to be respectful. What great character! LL's favorite parts are the lady praying, the babies in the bath and the mommy (Rae) waving at the airport. Let me know what your favorite part is! comment below.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Results of the sale

I am sure you all are wondering how the sale went and I am so sorry it took so long to update you. I have been busy catching up on all the things we let go while preparing for the sale. Sunday we unloaded and cleaned up the big mess we made prep’n for the sale. I did not even get to sleep till late Sunday night and I was actually a little less awake than a zombie.

The sale went wonderful!!!!

All week long amazing things happened and out of the blue surprises. I think it was a blessing from God, for sure. Let me tell you about a few...Lots of donations showed up from family, friends and coworkers. Several people from my company pitched in to design signs, handouts and borrow tables for us to use during the sale. My boss David, Lynn, Lisa, Tom and Monique were probably the most involved, but everyone seemed to be very supportive. My two friends, Debbie and Tanya came to my home to help price hundreds of items. Yes hundreds. Some of the stuff was junk and had to be sorted cleaned and grouped by category. It was grubby work. We priced or pitched, then boxed. It was great catching up with them. Time flew by! Things were progressing but slowly. So later in the week, my mom and Krista took turns helping play with the baby and price so we had a hope of finishing on time. Then all the boxes and clothes were loaded into 4 trucks and one 23 foot trailer. The boxes were stacked two high on the trailer and packed to the brim of the trucks. It looked like we were moving a small city. Little-love stayed with Grandma so to stay clear of the chaos.

We had sale day volunteers withdraw on us early in the week. I was in complete panic that I was not going to be able to pull it off working alone. Then, for no reason what so ever I have new volunteers (Jeannette, my dad, Sango and Joe) contacted us last minute and agree to help in whatever way they could. They were so full of positive spirit that they ended up being twice the enthusiasm of the people who could not come. Like we got an upgrade- hahaha.

We all woke up at 4am on Saturday morning, loaded up with coffee and then headed to the ball park. We unloaded in the dark. My Dad added to the convoy with his truck filled with donations too. Unloading was amazing with Sango and Joe (we realized later that Rich could have never done it alone). They were right there handing us boxes and product and made it possible for Ellen, Krista and I to put things on the table in a appealing fashion. Sango’s positive attitude was like the sunshine before the sun rose giving everyone a boost of energy and Joe was super helpful, kind and hardworking. I was still a little tense with anticipation before the sale. Maybe bossy would be another word to describe it! I was terrified that we would not be ready to sell when the clock hit 8am...but we made it. Then the sunshine came out. The people started flooding in the booth and the fun began.

Can you believe the weather on Saturday? It was absolutely perfect! Everyone working the booth was having a blast. Ellen had a sensitivity about her that just made people feel good about the purchase they made. She is the queen of yard sales and the one everyone turned to her for advice. Jeanette was the big money girl, landing all the big sales and donations in the shortest amount of time. I think people are drawn to her style and smile. Jen was like everyone’s personal shopper finding just the right items and matching them with shoppers so we did not have much left in the end. And then there was Krista; Krista was the work horse of the group and probably worked harder on the sale than anyone (including me)! She was the first to arrive and the last to leave. So flexible and open to serving wherever the sale needed her the most. Our friend Stephanie showed up to help sell latex balloons that were donated by creative events. We blew them up with helium. When Alpine rent-all found out what we were doing, they gave us 20% off (they are good guys there). It started to get hot as the day went on and our friend Monique surprised us with cold drinks! Everyone was really having fun and I know this because they did not want to leave when their time slot was over. All these things just happened perfectly and that is why I think that we were being looked after that day by someone from above!

During the sale I was absolutely “touched” by people’s kindness and attitude towards the cause of the orphan. People really cared! We could not believe some people would haggle 10 minutes to get an item for a quarter and then hand us a dollar and say “keep the change”. The bulk of the money raised was from selling the stuff at the booth, but the icing on the cake was the extra donations.

I felt it was a win, win, win, win. Not only were we able to raise lots of aid money (wow-za!) for 5 orphanages in Ethiopia, but we had the chance to really share and create awareness of the situation the orphan children are in. Plus the donated items got sold at a significant discount to many people who were so appreciative to get the bargain. Many single moms and older folks commented on how thankful they were to get the item they were buying and commented that they were able to get it because of the great price at the sale. Then on top of it all, the leftovers were donated to a mission in downtown GR. It could not have gone any better in my book. Everyone benefited!

When we first decided to do the sale, I was really worried we would not raise enough to cover the entry fee of $80.00 plus supplies. When all the money was counted and I emptied all my pockets, I had to recount the money in disbelief. The grand totals of the sale were a thousand dollars almost to the dime. That is half the money we agreed to raise for the orphans! That large sum will support 50 children for a whole year!! I added to the money we have been collecting and it pushed us nearly three quarters of the way to our goal. Only $560.00 to go!

We can’t thank everyone enough for their help. I am truly grateful and in awe of the amazing sale.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Finally an update

A lot of time has passed and stuff has happened, so I thought it was time to finally update the blog. The good news is that Rich & I are still on track to adopt an orphaned girl from Africa.

The process has been a little delayed for two reasons.

First, due to an inquiry in Ethiopia regarding the plethora this spring of abandon children. From what I understand, they just found so many children abandoned in the streets that the government was compelled to look into the situation in an official way. In the end, the Ethiopian law enforcement found no evidence of misconduct but rather substantiation of the great impoverishment and destitution of the children in Ethiopia. This hurdle did not defeat Rich and I in any way, it actually made us more passionate to make a difference.

Even now, after the police have been cleared of any wrongdoing they are reluctant to bring abandon children to the orphanages. Instead they are being routed to a government facility. Rumor has it, that the facility may not be equipped to handle children.

In July MOWA (Ministry of women and children’s affairs) decided to move offices. this really made it difficult for any adoptions to take place during the move.

Now we embark upon the rainy season when the courts shut down. We will certainly see a adjournment on all adoptions during this time. We think they will open back up sometime in Oct.

Many anxious parents are struggling with all the continuous setbacks, impediments and instability of international adoption. Rich and I find this as “ordinary” for any international adoption and continue to be focused on the end goal.

The second reason the process is so long for us is that the rules say we need to adopt a child 9 months younger than our youngest child and we need the child to the same gender to share a room. Right now, the child found could at the most be 0-8 months old. This means lots of people who have adopted older children or boys, already have their children home. There are currently 7 families ahead of us in the same situation. We could get a call in the next few weeks or it could be many months. We really have no idea. We are content with the timing that is meant to be and feel unhurried. We believe this is our time to exclusively live life through our biological daughter's (Little V-Love) eyes and treasure the special moments we experience together in her first years.

During the wait we are just preparing for the call and journey. We have gone through a series of shots, done piles of paperwork, worked on creative ways to save money for the adoption, investigated travel arrangements and educated ourselves on how to care for the special needs that this child may have. I am even trying to learn how to manage out of control Ethiopian curls.

In addition to our adoption journey, Rich and I are trying to raise 2,000.00 of international aid for Ethiopian orphans. The added International Aid money will go to helping the many children who probably will never be adopted for a variety of reasons. This aid is separate from our adoption and travel costs that we personally will be funding.

To help facilitate this, we have cleaned out our basement and garage and are going to participate in the fifth-third ballpark. All of the money raised will go to aid the orphans left behind. If you want to help out, here are a few ways you can

1.Donate your Clutter- If you have any items you have wanted to be rid of, we are taking good condition items valued over a dollar. Call me to arrange for an exchange before next Thursday 9-17-09.

2. Help at the sale- If you don’t have plans on Saturday, you could help work the sale and spend some time shopping too. I need a few good volunteers to take money and bag up sold items.

3. Put us in your thoughts and prayers- Praise God for all our supportive family and friends, ask for great weather and traffic for the sale, and his protection on those children needing our help.

Rich and I continue to be appreciative to be surrounded by such great people. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and excitement about our Adoption journey.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good News...Bad News

We received good news, the court has decided to start accepting cases of children abandoned in Addis! Ethiopian staff will be working to submit new cases to the court ASAP, beginning with those families who accepted referrals prior to the investigation. We are thrilled to hear of such progress!!

While our family rejoices in this news, I also learned that MOWA (the Ministry of Women's Affairs) has decided to unexpectedly close their offices for a two-week period, beginning today and re-opening on July 23. It *could* potentially affect the outcomes of any court dates that may be scheduled from now until the day they reopen, because a court case cannot be approved without a letter of support written by MOWA. I have heard rumors that the courts may stay open in August. THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rollercoster bumpy wait of Adoption

For my few loyal blog followers, you may wonder why I have not posted in the last month? There just has not been any good news to share : ( As of early my the Ethiopian court is now no longer accepting the adoption case of any child abandoned in Addis Ababa until a report is issued by the police department. We do not know how long it will take for the police to issue their report, and for this temporary halt to be lifted. It does not matter where the child is currently residing--it now affects any child abandoned in Addis Ababa. The Department of State has issued a statement, which can be found at: http://adoption. news/Ethiopia% 20alert.html

Again, the reason for this hold is that a large number of cases of abandoned children were put into court within a short period of time from four orphanages. A judge took note of this, felt the number was too high, and has asked the police commission officials (who previously cleared the children, indicating they were abandoned) to further investigate this matter and report back to the court their findings. They were also not permitting agencies to put the cases of children who were abandoned into court. It continues to be unknown how long this investigation will take. Rich and I appreciate the court ordering an investigation when they have any concerns, as we want Ethiopian adoptions to be ethical.

Our hearts go out to you and everyone else in the midst of this news. It is certainly most hard for those with referrals who have fallen in love and yearn to get their child in the safety of their homes. It is also hard for those still waiting and wondering if this will cause additional delays and longer wait times. Frightened that Ethiopia could evolve into another Guatemala. And for those who have families home they can be laden with doubt or uncertainty, wondering of possible behind the scenes confiscation. This can all taint the pureness of their beautiful journey as adoptive parents.

I know it is hard for all of us to hear about the abandonment cases being put on hold. No one is untouched by this issue. However, if corruption is suspected, it must be dealt with immediately. The news media salivates over this kind of juice and takes now pause in sensationalizing adoption corruption. If you Google adoption corruption you will see that there are millions of postings saying how bad adoption is. Here is a recent article recently posted on MSNBC. http://www.slate. com/id/2217608/ ?Gt1=38001

My sister and her husband have beautiful daughter who is adopted. Before adopting her daughter, she adopted a little boy from Guatemala named Ben. On week of her travel to get her son, she received a registered letter in the mail from the Guatemalan government. It had said that Ben's DNA and the person claiming to be Ben's mother did not match. Ben would be moved to a government run home and could not be adopted out. The original women claiming to be the mother had fled. It was impossible with out her to find his true mother. After nine years, Ben became lost in the system and we do not know his destiny. This was a terrible horror for both my sister and the innocent baby.

No one wants this to happen to a child. We all really need to know that the children and the process are as safe and ethical as possible. As much as I hate to see any delays to getting children in the loving arms of their families, we hate even more to allow unethical corruption and abduction of children. The whole thing is scary for everyone, but we need to trust and pray that everything will be good. This whole process constantly teaches us that we really have no control and need to TRUST.

In the mean time, we can pray for the children affected. Ask God to help those who have to assure good ethics, that the process done quickly. Pray for patience and strength for the families. Help us all remind each other that most of us are on this journey protect and enhance the lives of the children and to make a difference for these children in a positive way. For this to be possible the system must also be honorable and upstanding.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers day

Today is mothers day! Congrats to all those new moms. At this point I am officially still the mom of one crazy baby. I was wondering if It would be two? But no referral yet. And I don't really say that with regret.

We almost had a referral when we seen a waiting child posted. A little girl who had suffered some sever malnutrition. It breaks my heart than any child should ever land on a waiting children list. We saw her photo and asked our agency about her feeling desperate to find he a home quickly. Although I was not drawn to her photo, her story seemed to be a fit for us. I was nervous all weekend, could this be the one? It seem as if our referral was to be really far away and then BOOM! We were actually looking at a photo and we almost have one? Are we really adopting? What was I thinking!

You know we constantly anticipate the referral and the journey seems so long and never ending. Or at least that is what I like to blog about! I know it is hard to understand, but when I though we had a referral, I honestly was in panic. No, could it be? Already. Am I ready for my summer to flop upside down? Are we ready for another baby? How will little V feel about a new baby? Feelings of joy were suddenly held hostage by desire to keep that one on one special time with our first daughter. It was odd and almost creepy that I was not a bit excited about a referral.

Well all for a good reason. Something good to blog about. Another family with our agency requested her information too. They had been waiting longer than us and took the referral. I was actually overjoyed. That is what we wanted most, the little girl to find a loving home. She was quite weak from starvation and had been hospitalized for her weight. At four months she was able to just now lift her head after the care at the orphanage, but still had a long way to go. I do not know all the details, but must have had a rough life up to this point. I will continue to pray for little "K" that she is able to find her way home quickly and safely.

Now on Mothers day, I am going to kick back and spend 100% of the time with hugs and giggles from little V. She just loves these days where we can be together from morning to night! I will take the lessons from this month and cherish this special time that we have together...just her and I. When her little sister arrives, we will have lots of new joy, but we need to count this special moments of her and I together as sacred memories in the making. If she was not napping, I would give her a big squeeze this very moment!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring is blooming

Spring is here both flowers and babies are blooming everywhere! Several families are back in town with their new family members. The wait for a little girl continues to be long. We spoke with a family today who sent their dossier over to Ethiopia in January of 2009 and they already have a referral of an infant boy. Wow! Two months is quick so good things do happen in the adoption world. On the flip side we are continuing to pray for a family who has a little on who was referred back this fall. They have gone to court 5 times and still have not passed. Every time it is some little thing go wrong. A missing paper, a word wrong on a document, a frustrated person, and the list goes on and on. We will continue to keep their family in our thoughts and prayers.

We were hoping to have a moms get together today. I am really bummed out that it did not work out. Many of the moms were just not up to it after the long trip home. Plus our first 70 degree day did not help the attendance either. I was so hoping to see some of my mom friends again and meet some new ones too. Maybe another day will be better for everyone.

Instead I will be taking sweet V out to get some fresh air and see her grandma sweetheart today. That will be a bonus.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This week waiting has been hard. There has been many referrals, court dates, traveling families and activities. Many of the people who put their dossier in at about the same time as us have received good news. Even my sister has finally got word on her travel dates to Colima for her young lovelies. Nothing for us...nothing. I know there is a child out there waiting for our family, but I can not see her face. It is just this nagging pain in my side of a wrong that needs to be made right. The feeling of urgency overwhelms me as I sit here and do nothing.

Before this, I guess all the activities of dossier preparation kept me very busy. Now nothing. The only activity is really watching our bank account go down as we pay fees. The invoices are a constant reminder of the non activity with our adoption. The only thing we can really do instead of sitting here all blue and waiting is focus our efforts on the 2,000.00 in international aid we just found out that we need to raise in January. Hmmm, neither one (waiting or the money thing) sound that fun right now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Africa’s Teresa ─ Haregewoin Teferra Dies

It is reported that Haregewoin Teferra has died yesterday of natural causes at her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The following story about Haregewoin is taken from Mellisa Fay Greene's book, "There is No Me Without You."

Haregewoin Teferra was happily m

arried to Worku Kebede, a biology teacher and high school principal. She worked in the accounting office of Addis Ababa University and of Burroughs Computer Corporation. The middle-class couple lived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and doted upon their daughters, Atetegeb, born in 1967, and Suzie, born in 1969. Then a pair of tragedies altered Haregewoin’s life. In 1990, at the age of 54, Worku collapsed and died from a heart attack. Bereft, Haregewoin raised her daughters alone. Atetegeb married, had a baby boy, then fell ill. Her sickness seemed untreatable. Haregewoin spent eight months at her daughter’s side, seeking every cure, consulting every clinic and physician, until, at the age of 24, Atetegeb died.

Haregewoin’s life ended. She spent all day every day draped in black, seated beside her daughter’s grave. A year passed in this way. She felt unable to return to work, unable to accept visits from her friends. “But my daughter,” she protested when they sought her out. “I liked her very much.”

She typed out a line from a song she remembered – “There is no me without you” – and placed it over an old photograph of teenage Atetegeb and Suzie laughing together. After 18 months of profound mourning, Haregewoin asked the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to take her into seclusion. She would leave the world, she would inhabit a hut in the cemetery near her daughter’s grave.

Instead, a Catholic organization approached Waizero [Mrs.] Haregewoin and asked her to shelter a homeless teenage girl. “My life is over,” she replied. “It doesn’t matter what I do. If you think God wants me to take her, then I will take her.” Two weeks later, the Catholic group phoned again to ask if she could shelter a homeless 17-year-old boy. Again she replied, “My life is over,” and she took the boy. Two weeks later, the agency phoned again, this time with two orphaned little girls. They’d lost their parents to AIDS; no one, in that moment of the dawning pandemic, wanted to risk contacting the disease by sheltering the children. But Haregewoin, who felt her life had ended anyway, accepted them into her compound, into her heart.

All that occurred roughly 400 children ago. Today Mrs. Haregewoin provides two houses to about 40 orphaned children, half of them HIV positive.

She has named her two compounds after her late beloved daughter, Atetegeb Worku. Thus: Atetegeb Worku Metasebiya Woleji Alba Hitsanet Merja Mahiber AWMWAHM (Atetegeb Worku Memorial Orphans Support Association) Mrs. Haregewoin gets no government help to care for these children; she relies on the generosity of friends, neighbors, and outsiders.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why so complicated?

Well this is not exactly the formula that was needed. I am sure everyone who knows me has head about the formula shortage in Ethiopia? If not, basically the children in the orphanage have been suffering because no it is really hard to buy formula in Ethiopia right now. They just can't get it to buy. You can only imagine that the results of infant orphans with out formula for weeks can be... not good. I am shocked in this world that we can actually have starving babies in 2009, I still do not understand why it is so complicated to make sure the children of our planet are fed.

This week an adoptive father (S) and one of the people on our Ethiopian team (Ch) at our agency left on a plane to Ethiopia for the single purpose to carry totes of formula. One of the adoptive mothers started up a fund at a local bank (Bless your heart J) and the money just started coming in. She raised enough to by 200 cans of formula. That is thousands.

Sweet V goes through about a can+ a week right now. So the above amount will feed 4 babies for a year or 200 babies just this week. It seems like a lot, but not really. She is leaving the fund open and we have people traveling almost every week for the next six weeks. If you want to get you the address to mail a check, just let me know. The money will be 100% used to get food in the mouth of the orphans!

Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers as they make the journey to Ethiopia and back this week. We hope they will have safe travels, ease transporting the formula and the ability to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eight teen children home soon!

Good news! In the past 2 weeks 14 families have passed court and coming home in March are 18 children from Ethiopia. This is just from our agency alone and there are more from other agencies. This movement is somewhat refreshing as there has been some long spans of inactivity for everyone in the adoption community. Many of these parents I know from local events. I am thrilled to be part of their good news.

I am sure they are anxious to get them home. Due to the big shortage of formula in Ethiopia, many parents are concerned about the health of the children. The reason for the shortage is not fully clear. Some say it is do to the falling value of the burr (Ethiopian dollar) other say it is due to issues in China with Contamination, and some believe it is due to theft and black market sales. Who really knows?

Friday, March 6
one of the adoptive fathers and one of the members of the Ethiopian team at our agency will be traveling for Ethiopia with suitcases of formula, arriving on Sunday, March
. If your interested in making a donation of powdered formula, more high nutrition formulas, or even some cash to buy some bulk formula, let me know. This will surely make it straight in the hands of the orphans!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fund raiser for Adoption Associates

Join Adoption Associates, Inc. for a fundraiser on March 19 at the Culver's Restaurant in Jenison, Michigan.

West Michigan area families are encouraged to join Adoption Associates, Inc. on March 19, 2009 from 4-9pm at Culver's restaurant in Jenison, Michigan. Culver's restaurant of Jenison will give a generous donation to Adoption Associates, Inc. of 10% of the sales made during that time. Adoption Associates, Inc. staff will be present at the restaurant throughout the evening.

Please consider attending and helping us spread the word by inviting your friends, families, churches, and neighbors to join us! Culver's restaurant is located near the corner of Chicago Drive and Cottonwood in Jenison, near Meijer.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Some like it hot

Well the cooking class was fantastic! I would go again in a heart beat even if we made the same thing. Everyone who attended had all good things to say about it. Big thanks to a girl named Cindy for planning the whole thing and Sam the Chef for teaching us. He had his wife and daughter helping and they were wonderful! It was fabulous seeing all the ladies again who are adopting. What a great group of vivacious and inspired women. We even had one curious hubby join in too. The chatter was non-stop of adoption updates and photos floated constantly around the room. Everyone sharing tips and experiences with out reservation. We all helped prepare the basics, chop onions, crush garlic, seed jalapeno peppers and skin chickens. I am sure most of the girls went home and gave their loved one's a big spicy kiss! Mmmm, nothing like garlic onion breath with a burning hot jalapeno fingers! My favorite spice was Berbere. Sam got his from his sister in Ethiopia and says there is a big difference between true Ethiopian Berbere and American counterfeit. For Ethiopian cooking the Berbere is like red gold. Here is the recipe for the impostor just so you can see what it would be similar too.

Berbere is a hot pepper seasoning essential for most Ethiopian dishes.

You can buy it at some African and Middle Eastern Stores
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
6 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp. whole black pepper
1/4 tsp. whole allspice
1 tsp. whole fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup dried shallots
3 oz. long red dried chilies
3-6 small, dried hot chili peppers
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. salt

In a small frying pan, combine cumin seeds, cloves, cardammon pods, black
pepper, allspice and fenugreek. Cook for about 1 minute over medium heat,
until lighted toasted. Put mixture in a blender and add shallots. Grind
finely. Discard the stems and seeds from the chilies. Break up the pods
and process until ground. combine with the toasted mixture and the rest
of the spices.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ethiopian Cooking class

This week I have the luxury of attending an Ethiopian cooking calls. The class will have several other parents from the West Michigan area of Ethiopian children. The instructor owns an Ethiopian restaurant called GoJos. The owner and his staff has offered to host the class for us. We are going to learn how to make Tibbs Wat and Dora Wat. He will demonstrate how to make mesir. He will also bring injera and tea so we can sample our cooking as we go. We will also be able to take home injera, Tibbs and Dora Wat for our family to sample.Well at first these foods sounded like gibersish, so I had to look them up to know exactly what they are.

Ethiopian cuisine (Ethiopian Food) characteristically consists of spicy vegetable and meat dishes, usually in the form of wat, a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour.

Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. No utensils are used.


A meal, consisting of injera and several kinds of wat (stew), is typical of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.Wat stews all begin with a large amount of chopped red onions, which the cook simmers in a pot.


Alternatively, rather than being prepared as a stew, meat or vegetables may be sautéed to make tibs (also tebs, t’ibs, tibbs, etc., Ge’ez ṭibs). Tibs is served normal or special, “special tibs” is served on a hot dish with vegetables (salad) mixed in.

The mid-18th century European visitor to Ethiopia, Remedius Prutky, describes tibs as a portion of grilled meat served “to pay a particular compliment or show especial respect to someone.”


Injera (Ge'ez , pronounced [ɨndʒǝra], sometimes transliterated enjera) or taita is a pancake-like bread made out of teff flour.It is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia (where it is also called laxoox and canjeero), Yemen, Northern Kenya and by the Nuer people of Sudan.

In making injera, flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdough starter. Because of this process, injera has a slight sour taste. The injera is then ready to bake into large flat pancakes, done either on a specialized electric stove or more commonly, on a clay plate (mogogo) placed over a fire. In terms of shape, Injera compares to the French crepe and the South Indian dosa as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture however, are quite unique and unlike the crepe and dosa.

Doro Wat (dora wat)

Doro wat (Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste) is perhaps the best known food from Ethiopia and is often referred to as the Ethiopian national dish. It has a deep, rich flavor and tender chicken pieces. Doro wat is traditionally very spicy, but you can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your liking.


Mesir, or lentil, (Ethiopian red lentil puree) wat is one of several types of bean or lentil stews that are served with Ethiopian meals. They are especially popular during fasting days and the meatless period of Lent.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waiting Families meeting

Our agency recently hosted a meeting for all the waiting families to hear stories from those families just back with their new ones. This was a lot more helpful than the meeting about raising fees and additional supplemental fees! The family that just got back from Ethiopia was a familiar face and I got to ask lots of questions.

One of the most interesting topics was that of the airlines. It looks as if it will be best for us to take a direct flight into the US from Ethiopia. Our plan would need to land and fuel in Italy, but that does count a layover as we probably will not get off the plane. The benifit of this is that your just avoiding the need for a transit visa from what ever country you stop at. This can be confusing because technically the new little one is still considered an Ethiopian Citizen until they reach US soil.

Another great tips covered what to bring, how much to bring, Airline regulations on size and weight and much more. I thought the whole thing was well done and helpful!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Mr R and I are very grateful for the recent invite from a local couple who recently adopted a baby girl. The invite was not totally out of the blue as we had a common friend (AJ from up north). He introduced us by sharing our numbers and email and strongly encouraged us to call each other. I have to admit that we were a little nervous going to the door of perfect strangers home sight unseen. But as soon as we met them it was like we had known them all along.

The night was fantastic. We got to meet their children (one bio daughter and one Ethiopian daughter). We shared dessert and got to here all their stories from their journey to Ethiopia. They gave us tips and tricks for our travels. We wished we had more time to look at the photos and hear more, but the night was over too quickly.

Little V was so cute when she met their little daughter. I wondered how she would react with the differences in their looks. It was very humorous when she crawled over to the little girl and patted the top her head. I am sure she could not resist the spongy looking ringlets and how they might feel. After she gave a few quick pats, she smiled and was off to investigate all the new toys.

I guess in a way we were all really touched!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Keeping track in 2009

I thought it would be fun to keep track of all the proud parent in 2009. How many referals of boys and girls. Here is the list so far. Last updated on 1-7-2009. Please know that this is NOT the list of my agency, but only the referrals of people I have met through my blog and yahoo groups. It is still fun to see so many children getting good homes!

Killin time- 4 month girl 1/5/2009
Kitta22 - 3month old girl 1/7/2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Missed Out!!!

I completely missed out on the homecoming of new Ethiopian babies to West Michigan. They arrived at the GGR airport on Friday night. Super duper bummed out is the mild form of my dissapointment! There was a big group to welcome them all home. I really wanted to make it, but Mr R was on trip and I could not find anyone who would help me with a drop off (since I would have little sweet V along). You can check out photos on the blogs and read more at

Hopefully the load of supplies we sent to Ethiopia were helpful to the orphange.