7/29/08 - Ethiopia Information

"It would be sad if all people ever thought about when considering Ethiopia was famine." (Ethiopia by Carol Ann Gillespie)

Before we even received our acceptance call from America World, we had checked some Ethiopia books out from the library just in case. Since then, we have been reading and learning a lot about this fascinating country! Below is some of the information we discovered and the misconceptions we had when we began researching.

We knew it was in Africa but we weren't exactly quite sure where until we looked at a globe!

The middle of Ethiopia is made up of the East African Rift Valley (a crack in the Earth). The lowlands, the northern and eastern borders, are hot and dry. The northwest and southeast highlands are cool and wetter. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city and where we'll fly in to, is located in the highlands as is Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River. As you can see from the pictures below, Ethiopia is not all desert, as we originally thought! While there is dry desert land over parts of the country, there is also grass and forests where their is amble rainfall.

We have a Milwaukee Zoo Pass and have visited the zoo several times this year. As we look at the animals and maps of where they live, we always look to see which ones are in Ethiopia. Here is a partial list: lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, hippos, and crocodiles.

In the highlands, the average temperature range is 61-72 degrees with 50-70 inches of rain a year. In the lowlands, the average temperature is 80 degrees with only 20 inches of rain a year. In comparison, Chicago's average yearly temperature is 49 degrees, rainfall is 35.82 inches, and snowfall 38.7 inches. Just a bit of a difference!!

The yellow represents religious freedom. The green represents fertile land. The red represents the lives given up to protect the country. The blue circle represents peace and prosperity. The star's points are all equal to represent the quality of all Ethiopians. The shiny rays represent a bright future!

* Ethiopian is not quite twice the size of Texas.
* It is one of the first Christian countries in Africa and today about 50% of the country are Christians.
* Many believe coffee beans may have first grown here (and been eaten by some sheep who then wouldn't fall asleep!).
* Ethiopia has never been colonized.
* There are over 3 million orphans in the country. Total popoluation 67 million.
* Only 10% of the land is suitable for farming.
* The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic (am-HAYR-ik) which is related to Arabic and Hebrew.

7/15/08 - How the Blog Got Its Name

We've been asked about the title of our blog - God's Plan A for Mike and Amy. So in case you don't know the story yet:

When attending the America World seminar in March, there was a video presentation by the founders. They spoke of how God was not surprised by orphans or infertility and how He has no Plan B, this is all part of His Plan A for us. This so helped to heal the many hurts in our hearts. And that is how we picked the name for the blog!

7/14/08 - We Have a Family Coordinator

We received word last week from Duni, our Family Coordinator at America World. She called and spoke to Mike as well as sent an email introduction with dossier requirements. Duni is traveling in Ethiopia until July 25th so the questions (nothing major) we have for her will need to wait until she is back. She sounds very nice and is excited to work with us!

NEXT STEPS: We will be beginning the online America World adoption video/class this week and hope to finish it by the end of July. We also plan to fill out all but two questions on the
I-600A form (we have to ask Duni about those two).

PRAISE AND PRAYER REQUESTS: Praise that the list of required paperwork for the dossier does not seem to overwhelming at this point and prayers that it would continue to not seem overwhelming as we begin to gather it!

7/8/08 - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Not really anything new to report in the process, but we thought we'd add some answers to questions we've been asked a lot!

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? Our whole adoption process should take hopefully only a little over a year. America World estimates 4 - 6 months for the paperwork process. However, we only need to reopen our homestudy and update it to international standards. So maybe this time will be shorter. Right now referrals from Ethiopia are taking about 7 - 9 months form the date the documents arrive in Ethiopia.

WILL WE HAVE TO TRAVEL? We will travel to Ethiopia for about a week! America World sets up everything - plane, hotel, transportation, most meals, and translators. We have heard nothing but rave reviews from families about how well everything is taken care of.

DO WE KNOW IF IT WILL BE A BOY OR A GIRL? We had the option to request a boy or girl, but have no preference so we'll take whatever God has planned! We requested a child between the age of 0 and 2 years old. We also said we would be interested in adopting a sibling between the age of 0 and 3 years old. Once again, we'll be excited for what God has planned!