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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

News for the New Year!


March 16th! That is the date our case will be heard in court. I just pray that it passes the first time, that everything is in order with no delays. So far its been a very smooth process, still holding on tight! Its still a long wait, I asked our agency a few questions...waiting on a reply, my questions were like: When can we apply for our Visa? Will our daughters age matter compared to what our home study says, will our fingerprints have to be updated. We have been back and forth a few times with USCIS in changes ect, so I have sort of lost track on when things expire or have to be renewed. It all boils down to trusting that our agency will sweat the details! Ok, the details I know: After court the adopiton decree is registered at the Women's Minstery in Ethiopia, Birth Certificate is registered at Foreign Affairs, Staff will get her a passport, documents will be transulated into English, Medical Exam is done at the US Embassy, Bloodwork is done again, Everything is sent to the US Embassy for approval, then TRAVEL SCHEDULED!

Monday, December 29, 2008

December 25th, Guess what happened?


Our file is officially being processed with the court in Ethiopia. This means we are now in line for our file to be read, a court date will be assigned then our Power of Attorney working for us in Ehthiopia will appear in court on our behalf. After the judge ruling, we will officially be her parents and can plan travel!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday #4 Big Boy M

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Traditions in Ethiopia


Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church.

The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Most Ethiopians who live outside the modern capital city, Addis Ababa, live in round mud-plastered houses with cone-shaped roofs of thatched straw. In areas where stone is plentiful, the houses may be rectangular stone houses. The churches in Ethiopia echo the shape of the houses. In many parts of the country there are ancient churches carved out of solid volcanic rock. Modern churches are built in three concentric circles.

In a modern church, the choir assembles in the outer circle. Each person entering the church is given a candle. The congregation walks around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the flickering candles. Then they gather in the second circle to stand throughout the long mass, with the men and boys separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the holiest space in the church, where the priest serves Holy Communion.

Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.

The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.

Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Church officials called dabtaras study hard to learn the musical chants, melekets, for the ceremony.

Ethiopian men play another sport called yeferas guks. They ride on horseback and throw ceremonial lances at each other.

Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.

You have to do this!


My soon to be SIL (sister in law) sent me this link, you answer vocabulary questions and for every answer you get correct RICE gets donated to United Nations World Food program. How cool is that?
http://www.freerice.com/index.php paste that link or just type in freerice.com it should work.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pre- Christmas Fun

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Traditions


Every Christmas we treat the kids to matching new PJ's, but this year I let them have them early. School is having movie day and a note came home saying for kids to wear PJ's to school. Well if all your PJ's are bunny zip ups, there could be problems, you know, shoes not fitting, challenges in the bathroom at school. So I had a gift card from one of the kids birthdays, (thanks to #1 cuz JoAnn) While not with the Christmas theme of snowmen, red ect...Dad should like them, "its all about the football!" I heard "The Donkey" song on the radio tonight, and thought of my Aunt, she really likes that song, and it is very cute, So for all my special Italian readers enjoy! I hope it brings back happy memories to you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem



People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wonderful Ethiopia

Ethiopia, the Country

Ethiopia is a beautiful country situated in the Northeastern part of Africa near the Red Sea, which is also known as �The Horn of Africa�. It is a country rich in culture, history and national pride, and is also called �The Cradle of Humanity�. The territory of Ethiopia measures 1,098,000 square kilometers and is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska. It is in Ethiopia where the great African river, The Blue Nile, has its source. It is among the 20 most populated countries in the world, 2nd most populous region in African, with a population of approximately 77 million. As well, it is one of the oldest countries in the world with a recorded history of over 3000 years and was the home of the Queen of Sheba. Seventeen years of civil war in Ethiopia, which lasted from 1974 until 1991, bankrupted the country and left millions of orphaned children.

Ethiopia is the homeland of one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world. Christianity came to Ethiopia in the 3rd century A.D., and became the state religion in the 4th century. The Ethiopians were the first people in the world whose coins bore the image of the cross, in the 4th century, on the coins of King Ezana. The first abstract signs and symbols which were the beginning of the Ethiopian system of writing date back 10 thousand years.

Ethiopia is the product of many millennia of interaction among peoples in and around the Ethiopia highland region. Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 1936-1941. In 1974 a military junta, the Derg, disposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People�s Revolutionary Democratic Front, in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia�s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on December 12, 2000. Final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission�s finding requiring it to surrender sensitive territory.

The Ethiopian Flag

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world that has no history of colonization. Upon their independence, many African countries adopted the colors of the Ethiopian flag - green, yellow and red - that became known as the Pan-African colors.

The official flag of Ethiopia consists of three equal and horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands.

The yellow pentagram on the blue disk, also known as the National Coat of Arms, is a symbol of the current government; it is intended to reflect the desire of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, as well as of its religious communities, to live together in unity and equality.

Prior governments had their own unique identifiers (National Coat of Arms) on the flag. For instance, the DERGUE had the Arma placed on the flag and the late Emperor Haile Sellassie had the Lion of Judah on the flag.

Although the National Coat of Arms has changed with the governments over the times - the green, the yellow and the red - has survived.

� Capital: Addis Ababa � Area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles)

� Major languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali

� Major religions: Christianity, Islam

� Life expectancy: 46 years (men), 49 years (women) (UN)

� Monetary unit: 1 Birr = 100 cents

� Main exports: Coffee, hides, oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane

� GNI per capita: US $110 (World Bank, 2005)

� Internet domain: .et

� International dialing code: +251

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thank You


The donations are starting to come in! Our doctors office donated 11 cans of formula! This is a great start. They are very happy for us and are great at getting the kids in for apts with a last min notice. Living in a small town like we do has many benefits. People truly care and want to help,are int rested in you and your needs, almost like extended family, so this makes me very happy. I have two more groups that are trying to get donations together for us. The local Rotary and the Local Knights of Columbus. I may not have room to pack many personal items for me, but whats a few days of going without? I think getting by with a camera, our documents and fresh underwear, will be just fine. Oh and don't forget my travel meds! (you know what ones!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Orphanage Life" Ethiopia

Friday, December 5, 2008


We Can Make Our Plans,
But The Lord Determines Our Steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Penny for your thoughts


If you could read my mind, hear my thoughts what would they be? About 1000 times a day, is she ok?, Hungry, cold, will she bond with us? How will our flight be, will I get travel sickness? Will we make all our flights, will our case pass thur court the first time? Will she be a happy person? Is she afraid, all new faces in the new orphanage, what is going on in her little head. Can I rock her to sleep the first night or will she arch her back to be put down? If she goes to a Dr. will they use clean tools to check her out? How will our kids manage with us going away for about a week, I will miss them so much. Will we come home safe. I will dread the jet lag coming home, trying to get back into a normal routine. I hope the company's and contacts I have made this week will come through with enough donations to fill 4 tubs of much needed items. Will we get any "free" time in Ehtiopia to see the country some?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Biggest Need..


Our agency suggested that the biggest item needed for the orphanage they sponsor in Ethiopia is Powdered Formula and clothes, shoes for up to 5 years old. That being said, most airlines will allow 100 lbs checked per ticket. So basically we each could check two 50lbs bins.(200lbs!) If I was to pick between between being hungry or having clothes I would pick the food. I may bring a few shoes clothes ect, but I will be very careful as the weight adds up fast. The formula is much more important and very expensive in Ethiopia. It is all imported and with inflation prices most just can not afford to purchase it.

I have found a link for free formula samples and a donation sheet for free shoes.

http://robeez.com/SiteCM/U/D/E497FFE4D847E5ED.pdf

*Robeez Heart & Soul Program Shoes

http://www.membersmarkformula.com/free_sample.aspx?gclid=CPj8ovvvoJcCFQFvGgodjwEX-w

Above Free formula samples, not sure if you get mailed a coupon or the actual can, but I ordered one anyway and also asked family & friends to order some for us too!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This sums it all up:


So many families that have been trying to complete an adoption, failed infertility treatments, closed countries, birth moms not picking you ect.. In a nut shell this quote touches where we have been and what we have survived. It is true, but when you are in the middle of such heartache its hard to think of something wonderful is waiting for you.

"When God takes something from your grasp; He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quote of the Moment....Plan for a Merry Christmas


As for the economic pressure on parents, Gottlieb sounds a fatalistic note.

"Believe me, there are families with much bigger issues on their plates right now then worrying about whether their child will be unhappy because they did not get a particular toy," Gottlieb wrote in his "Out of the Toy Box" blog. "Delivering disappointment goes with the job of parenting."

What parent would not love to give their children a Christmas full of presents, mountains of presents? That however is out of the question for many families, including ours. What will we do to create memories that are not as easily forgotten as a present that is thrown to the wayside as soon as the batteries die? Well, we do art projects together, winter walks, visit the local outdoor Santa. (Even if the line is over an hour long.) Pile up with wonderful books from our library, take each night to read stories. Attend local churches, Christmas events, baking together. Remembering the much less fortunate, remember how lucky we are; and not how sad for the presents we can not purchase. This time of year is about the birthday for Jesus. The event my daughter remembers most is : Last year we decorated a birthday cake for Jesus. She asked tonight if we were going to do this again. I think that's a great idea! Please scale back the craziness that comes with the holiday season. Get back to a simple time of just plain enjoying each other. Not ending up Christmas Eve so tired that you are not able to enjoy the season.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Traditions" Santa Visit

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We told the Kids today


Well after dinner, M & M were told of the new sister they are going to have. We gave them each a photo of her. We told them some of the details then asked them if they had any questions. Big sister M, "What is her favorite food?", "What is her favorite animal", Big brother M, "Will she have stinky pants?" and "I will do everything for her." There you go from the mouths of babes! I still don't think they have a full grasp of how their world is going to be rocked! So for now we will enjoy the pending wait and prepare Big Sister and Big Brother the best we can. Hopefully the school will do a unit on Ethiopia, that would be neat.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday big A Look whos 7!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is Teff?


Cooking Injera Bread with Teff Flour (With the soaring cost of grain, its very hard to afford this daily staple in Ethiopia.) 100 KG (220 lbs) of Teff Flour will feed a family for 6months.

Tef (Eragrostis tef) is a significant crop in only one country in the world—Ethiopia. There, however, its production exceeds that of most other cereals. Each year, Ethiopian farmers plant almost 1.4 million hectares of tef,1 and they produce 0.9 million tons of grain, or about a quarter of the country's total cereals.2

The grain is especially popular in the western provinces, where people prefer it to all other cereals and eat it once or twice (occasionally three times) every day. In that area, tef contributes about two-thirds of the protein to a typical diet.

Most tef is made into injera, a flat, spongy, and slightly sour bread that looks like a giant bubbly pancake the size of a serving tray. People tear off pieces and use them to scoop up spicy stews that constitute the main meals. For the middle and upper classes it is the preferred staple; for the poor it is a luxury they generally cannot afford.

Unlike many of the species in this book, tef is not in decline. Indeed, farmers have steadily increased their plantings in recent years. The area cultivated rose from less than 40 percent of Ethiopia's total cereal area in 1960 to more than 50 percent in 1980.

Tef is so overwhelmingly important in Ethiopia that its absence elsewhere is a mystery. The plant can certainly be grown in many countries. Some has long been produced for food in Yemen, Kenya (near Marsabit), Malawi, and India, for example. Also, the plant is widely grown as a forage for grazing animals in South Africa and Australia.

Now, however, the use of tef as a cereal for humans is transcending the boundaries of Ethiopia. Commercial production has begun in both the United States and South Africa, and international markets are opening up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What costs $366 and makes you go OUCH!



Yellow Fever Infected Areas
These are areas where the virus is present in monkeys and is a potential risk to humans as defined by the World Health Organisation.

Some of these countries demand a yellow fever certificate from travellers as a condition of entry to their country. Many of these, and other countries, will ask you for a certificate if you are entering from an infected country.

That's right, we both got our precious Yellow Fever shots tonight! We also purchased some Odorless Controlled Release Insect Repellent,(made by Passport Health) I guess its the best you can purchase and does not have the chemicals that seep into your skin. Add to that list, Clothing Repellent:stays on the clothes even after many washes, and last by not least Oral Electrolyte "Berry Flavor" and a prescription from good old Best Friend Cipro, suppose to cure diarrhea in 3 pills or less, if it does not then you have other "issues" bugs ect.. (I told the lady just looking at the written prescription "I feel like getting diarrhea right now!) Poor husband, this will be one hell of a ride with me on this trip. However, I promise not to go looking for troubles, no street foods ect... even if they look and smell delicious!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Presenting: Carmen Josephine

(Abyssian Rose: only native rose found on the continent)

Due to Ethiopian laws we will not be able to post any photos of our duaghter until after the adoption is final. This will happen after our court date. Anyway....lets see Eyes like the moon, Eyes that say come and bring me home, Eyes that say why am I standing here for this photo all by myself, fingers as tiny as little sugar sticks that you just want to kiss and kiss, sweet little lips so soft and sweet as a rose petal. A little girl that is needing a family to love her, play with her, cuddle her and make her part of our life.

For families ready for a referral, normally your agency will say: Do you have any questions? Well not at first, most do not...then you get thinking. So this not being our first adoption, I will share my quesiton list with you, feel free to take what you wish.

What is the name of the test performed to come to the results of NEGATIVE for HIV , HB and UDRL?

On the medical report what is HCG?

On the medical report: What is written in the area “other tests” we cannot translate the written words.

On the medical report: for UDRL What is Non-Negative mean?

Are there any known birthparents, family or Siblings known?

What area of Ethiopia is she currently in?

How long before she is transferred out of the Government orphanage?

Does she seem like a happy child?

What are her sleeping arrangements, alone with others, a caregiver?

Is she attached to any caregiver?

Is she on solid food or still bottles?

Is she on formula, Milk, Soy, and Lactose intolerant?

Can she walk yet?

How many teeth?

Where was she found?

What was her heath condition when found?

What was her age and weight when found?

Was a note or any items left with her?

How many orphanages has she been in?

Has she been assigned a Birthday?

Who named her? Does her name have a special meaning?

Are there any medical conditions we should be concerned about?

Can she pick up items?

Does she respond to strangers with fear?

Is she happy when a familiar person approaches her?

Why was she orphaned?

When can we bring her home?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Inquiring Minds wanting to know...


I have been asked by several families what agency are we using. I normally do not refer agencies until I have first hand experience with them. Since our documents are in Ethiopia, I will let you know who we are using...Below is the intial contact info, after you are an approved family, you will be asigned a case worker. I can tell you Ethiopia is a fast moving program with this agency, they have represented us very well, and have kept us informed each step of the way. We have had daily,weekly contact, and each document is fully reviewed before passing onto the next stage. This agency is brand new in Ethiopia, no long lines of families waiting, they have children waiting for families. This path was so encouraging that we left our current agency along with the loss of several thousands of dollars already paid. (some things you can't put a price on...one is piece of mind) So as promised below is the info. Please do the favor of telling Linda I sent you to her, she has been very kind to us, specially in our early stages of trying find a trustworthy agency.

Linda Podas
Adoption Consultant
www.adoptionark.org
linda@adoptionark.org
630-207-0025

DTE Dossier to Ethiopia!


Our most important set of documents arrived in country TODAY Its journey started 11/3 then spent a few days in Germany...then finally arrived in Ethiopia. It actually took 5 days from Germany until it reached Ethiopia. It then waited a few days in Ethiopia until the actual delivery. This in itself is a miracle. I am so happy the documents are in safe hands. If I had realized the schedule of the journey that package was taking, I would of been a little more nuts!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Presidential Proclamation for 2008 National Adoption Month


During National Adoption Month, we recognize the compassion of adoptive and foster families as we seek to raise awareness of the need for every child in America to have a safe, loving, and permanent home.

Adopting a child is a great joy and also a great responsibility. Parents are a child's first teachers, and adoptive families can help children learn character and values, the importance of giving back to their community and country, and the courage to realize their potential. On November 15, caring parents across our Nation will celebrate National Adoption Day by finalizing their adoptions and bringing home children in need of a hopeful life.

My Administration is committed to helping young people find the love, stability, and support that a family can provide. We have joined with community and faith-based organizations to raise public awareness of foster children awaiting adoption. With the help of the Congress, we are assisting families in overcoming the financial barriers to adopting children through programs such as the Adoption Incentives Program. In addition, the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids project, which can be found at adoptuskids.org, provides guidance and resources for parents exploring adoption.

During National Adoption Month, we honor adoptive and foster parents who have shown America the depth and kindness of the human heart. Their love and dedication inspire the next generation of Americans to achieve their dreams and demonstrate the true spirit of our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2008 as National Adoption Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities to honor adoptive families and to participate in efforts to find permanent homes for waiting children.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fingerprints...


Steven Curtis Chapman \ Fingerprints Of God

I can see the tears filling Your eyes
And I know where they're coming from
They're coming from a heart that's broken in two
By what you don't see
The person in the mirror
Doesn't look like the magazine
Oh, but when I look at you it's clear to me that...

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started and…

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Fun

Monday, October 27, 2008

Star Fish


Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.
The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Look Who's SIX!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finally!


After record speed in dossier prep, several re-dos of documents, Notary errors driving us nuts, Doctors that have no sense of urgency, One great Notary that came to our rescue not once but numerous times, public officials that hand delivered our reference letter, friends & family that stepped up to the plate to smooth out the path, passport photos that looked too dark, wrong dates on USCIS approval, police letters that were redone over 4times,two additional last min requirements, answering the most personal & weird questions on our psych exams,rushing to pick up final homestudy with 1hr before express cutoff!......Our file is FINALLY complete, out of our hands, the baby of a file we have been growing for the last 6weeks is now en route to DC then to Ethiopia! It was hard letting that file out of my site, nothing left now but a nice wait and an empty spot in the fire proof safe. (Yes, those documents are that important) Keep posted....the next steps will make your head spin!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Treats for School Friends!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting Ready for M's 6th Birthday Party













The entire class is invited, more that likely 70% will attend. The rule is to invite all so one one gets hurt feelings. That's a good rule. M was given a few suggestions for her party. The only thing she requested was having a pinata! Found a neat one at the local grocery store for about $9, not too bad. The candy was way more, but we got gold coins,fruit jellies... all the neat stuff. We are planning it at the local park, but if weather is not good, it will be at our home. Traditional games will be Hot Potato, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Music & dancing. I also have 3 huge tubs of Lego's so if things down, I can pull those out. Lets hope for good weather, it would be best to have it at the park!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Day of PreK