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? paste that link or just type in it should work.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pre- Christmas Fun

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


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.

*Robeez Heart & Soul Program Shoes

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!