Friday, April 24, 2009

Thank You Shaohannah's Hope!

It was in the mailbox today! When I first looked at the envelope it was light and thin, seeming to only contain one sheet of paper. I had a moment sadness thinking, if they had chosen us for the grant it would be thicker, right? I ripped into the envelope and quickly scanned the letter until at the bottom of the first paragraph I saw it. $4000.00. I yelped. I did a little happy dance. I whoohooed. Then I looked around so see if any of the neighbors we perhaps outside watching me go bazerk. It looked as though no one was around so I ran/ danced up to the front porch where the kids were having a picnic and I screamed and cried and told then the news. I'm sure it was pretty much lost on them, so I started calling people and leaving crazy voice messages with a lot of whooping! Great day in the neighborhood.

The bottom line: the only adoption grant organization that I have found thus far to be accepting applications at this time, just granted us $4,000.00! Praise God! Thank you Shaohanna's Hope Grant Team and all the donors of their awesome ministry. They bring adoption finances within reach for so many families with their adoption assistance program. What a huge blessing! Check them out at

I'm off to dance around the house and scream some more! Whoohoo!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weather Update

It's 80 degrees with 25% humidity and a 13 mph eastern/ southeastern wind in Addis Ababa right now. All week there's a high around 80 and a low of 51 degrees.

Also, their clocks are seven hours ahead of ours. So is their sun...well I guess it's the same sun but you know what I mean.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ethiopia 103

On a more cheery note, Ethiopian language seems very interesting to me. Although there are MANY languages used throughout Ethiopia, Amharic appears to be the main language used in Addis Ababa. (See the map below to check out all the other languages. FYI: if you click on it it will show a larger view.)

Amharic uses a different alphabet than English. The "letters" are very different looking and so most websites that contain Amharic phrases are written using the English alphabet which is, I might add, quite helpful to me! Before we begin our Amharic lesson I think it appropriate to put in a disclaimer that I have no idea what I am talking about so this post may read like a poorly translated fortune cookie to someone who speak Amharic. For this I apologize. But I'm pretty sure my one reader isn't fluent, so I think I'm safe.

When speaking Amharic, instead of saying Mr. Smith one should say Ato John, using Ato as mister and then the first name of the mister to whom you are referring. Mrs. is translated "wayzaro" and I believe the first name rule applies here as well.
Here are a few more words to work on this week. There will a test...

Hello Se-la-m
Bye/So long Chi-o
Thank you Ame-segi-na-lew
Yes! Ah-woh (or OW!)
Also, you can do a little intake of breath while you lift your eyebrows to “nod” yes.
No. I-deh-LEHM (starts with long I sound) Also can say Iyyyy
Toilet Shin-TEH-BAYT?
Water WOO hah

I think water is my favorite word so far...Woohah!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ethiopia 102

A few tidbits on Ethiopia...

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and this is where we will travel to pick up our children.

For most Ethiopians life is not a walk in the park.

39% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25US per day (2007).

Ethiopian life expectancy at birth has gone up from from 43 years (in 1970) to 53 years (in 2007).

The risk of maternal death is 1 in 27 (2007).

The number of children under the age of 5 who died in the year 2007... 381,000(this number is equivalent to 12% of those born that same year).

There have been recent estimations that put the number of orphans in Ethiopia near a mind-blowing 5 to 6 million children.

In the past 10 years there has been a significant increase in the number of Ethiopian orphans adopted by families in the US. In 1999 only 42 children were adopted by families in the US. This number grew to 1,724 in 2008. I believe this increase directly correlates with an increase in the number of adoption agencies providing Ethiopian Adoption Programs in recent years but there may well be other reasons. Side Note: There are also many families from many other countries who have also adopted from Ethiopia to consider, but I do not have those stats.

I am continually burdened by the fact that the adoption of 1,724 children is a mere band aid when considering the country wide crisis of 6 million orphans. And this fact breaks my heart. Sometimes I wrestle with how much I am really helping by adopting two children. I often wonder...would it be better to dig a well and bring fresh water to a people group or just spend the thousands of dollars on food for starving families with malnourished babies. Allowing oneself to be affected by the pain in the world is dangerous. It can leave a person with feelings of helplessness and a loss for what should be done. Through our adoption, the lives of two children will be changed forever, but I'd be kidding myself if I thought for one minute I'd be solving the problem. The situation in Ethiopia is complex. It has to do with basic infrastructure of the country, education, health care, drought, famine, AIDS and HIV, roads, phones, electricity, water, food and many other things that we in the US take for granted.

My heart hurts not only for Ethiopia, but for this broken world. When I look beyond my own struggles and to my neighbors and my city and my country and countries beyond the ocean, all the brokenness is just too much to wrap my head around. Do you ever feel that way? It's more than I can even think about. It's why I can't watch the evening news anymore. In the end, the only place I find peace is in knowing that God's heart hurts for this world as well. I have to keep coming back to His truths and not let the the overwhelming brokenness shut down my passion and my heart.

I may not be saving the world, but I believe I can make a difference in the lives of the children that God entrusts me with. And two lives ain't no small thing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ethiopia 101

Since I can't complain about pregnancy pains, or even paperwork pains anymore I was thinking that I should do something useful. And thus, the "Ethiopia 101" idea for a series of posts was conceived. I truly enjoy learning about Ethiopia and her people and hope you will join me as I post what I have learned in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the country two of our children call home. So here goes...

Let's start with the basics.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located on the eastern side of the African Continent. This area is called the Horn of Africa.

It is a land-locked country (no access to the sea or ocean), bordered by Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. It's land area is 435071 sq. miles, almost 5 times the size of the State of Michigan.

Take a look at this map... and stay posted for more on this great country.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Still Here

We have been DTE for about a month and a half.

It feels weird to just be waiting. When I was pregnant with Noah and Lydia there were cravings and pains to talk about. There were vitamins to be taken, healthy diets to follow, names to choose and on and on. This time around seems awfully quiet and somewhat surreal.

On that note, I'm off on a date with my hubby. Probably won't be doing that this time next year!