09/29/09 - 4 Months!

Four months have passed since our paperwork was sent to Ethiopia!

This week I was completely blow away by the power and plans of God: A family adopting through our agency and requesting siblings received a referral for a four year old girl and were obviously overjoyed. But the next day, new information was discovered resulting in their referral being pulled - heartbreak. If this family knew at the time what the reasons were for their referral being pulled they did not share. They simply shared their heart ache, asked for prayers, and trusted in God. Less then a week later, they were referred not only their precious little four year old girl again but her two year old brother - a sibling had been discovered. The family's original desire for siblings was realized. But here is the amazing God part: had our agency known originally that this little girl had a brother and was part of a sibling pair, they would have been referred to someone closer to the top of the waiting list. But God's plan, from before the beginning of time, was for these two children to be part of the family they are in now.

God has known, since before the beginning of time, the names and faces of the two children He will bring into our family from far away Ethiopia. Nothing can thwart His plan. Nothing can get in His way. And that is something worth waiting for!!!

09/24/09 - More Shots and a Great Find at the Zoo

We were off to get more shots, this time Hepatitis B. We go back in one month for part 2 of the Hep B shot and then sometime after February for part 2 of the Hep A shot and part 3 of the Hep B shot - unless of course we've traveled by then!!!!

Then it was on to the Milwaukee Zoo, one of our favorite places to visit. There is always something new to see. This time it was two new tiger cubs born on July 8th of this year, the hyenas, the bears being more active than we've ever seen them, and this book in the gift store! We fell in love with little Mahal, a baby orangutan, last spring when he arrived at the Zoo. His mother was not able to take care of him and the zookeepers were looking for an adoptive mother for him. (Can you tell why we like him so much!?) They decided to try MJ, a female orangutan who had no children of her own and lives at the Milwaukee Zoo. And the rest, they say, is history! This cute book tells the story and of course we had to buy it!!

MJ and Mahal

09/17/09 - We're Ready!

We've got the champagne and sparkling grape juice chilling in the refrigerator (bought last week) and the high quality, plastic champagne glasses (bought today) waiting to be assembled. Now all we need is our referral call!!! (That's when America World, our international agency, calls to say they have two children for us!!!)

A Present: Craft to Complete with our Kids

This fun frame came from my friend Cathy as a thank you (although she didn't need to!) for watching her children one evening. I can't wait to work with our kids and add the different colored play-dough to the outside of the frame. Then we'll add a family picture!

09/11/09 - Happy Ethiopian New Year!

September 11 is Ethiopia New Year!!

Selamta Every One!
Melkam Addis Amet lehulachin - a Happy New Year for all!

Ethiopia celebrates New Year’s Day in its own colorful way. New Year’s Day marks the end of heavy rain and its associated dangers. Floods are over, and there is no more fear of thunderstorms. The foggy, gloomy climate gives way to a bright one. Fragrant flowers cover the muddy fields. Greenery is everywhere, and there is no shortage of food. The Maskal birds that migrated during the rainy season re-appear. Hibernating frogs come to the surface and sing.

On the eve of the New Year, children leave their homes to assemble in groups. With the traditional song Abebaye hoy (Oh! My Flower), they herald the New Year to village inhabitants by going from house to house. Carrying special grass called engicha, mixed with adey abeba (fragrant wild flowers), children knock at each home in the village. They sing and present the grass to anyone they find at home or along the way. The people to whom the song is addressed do not immediately respond; instead they listen to the New Year’s message
for a considerable time. The song continues until the person gives presents to the children, such as dabbo (home baked bread) or coins. After receiving the gift, the children bless the giver, saying, “May the Almighty God bless you with longer age!” After performing the evening’s festivities, the children return home to begin the lighting ceremony. Each member of the family fastens together small sticks to serve as torches. In the late evening, family members light their torches and raise them into the air, while others run around the house and touch the ground with their torches. This ceremony is believed to chase away the old year with its old spirit, and welcome the new. If you look at a rural village from a distance in the late evening, you would see that it looks like a sky full of stars.

Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, families go to the river to have a bath. It is believed that New Year’s water is holy water. People go to the river early in the morning to bathe before birds or other creatures “taste” the river. It is also believed the water cleanses evil spirits that might have been in the community in the past year. With a clean body and new spirit, people put on new clothes. Depending on the family’s economic condition, sheep or chicken may be slaughtered. In wealthier families, sheep are bought in advance to be fattened for the day. Poorer families group together to buy and slaughter a heifer or bull, and share the meat.

On New Year’s Day, families invite each other for lunch or dinner. In each house, villagers eat and drink Tella, a locally brewed beer. A coffee ceremony follows. At the end of the ceremony, elders bless the children and other family members. This marks the end of the celebration of the Ethiopian New Year.

I marked the day by cooking my first Ethiopian dish - a spicy beef stew (although I was a bit frightened an left out the really "hot" spices. However, the dish was such a wonderful flavor of warm spices, I think I'll try adding a little bit of what I left out the next time I cook it.) served on injera (kind of like a cross between a tortilla and a pancake. The main dish is placed on top and you rip it off and eat it as you go.) and dabo kolo, an Ethiopian fried snack. We loved it but I want to try a different injera recipe next time!

09/02/09 - Getting Shots

We are not required to get any shots before traveling to Ethiopia but are recommended to have an up to date tetanus shot (both of us already do) and a Hepatitis A shot. We both got the first part of the shot and go back in six months for the second part ... unless we've traveled by then!!

More Celebration Books

More books in honor of our papers being certified back in May!

We Wanted You by Liz Rosenberg is our favorite adoption story children's book so far. It is a beautiful story of a mom and dad who are getting ready for their baby (including paint the room) but a baby does not come. Then one day the phone rings and they are told to come get the baby! The story uses the words "first mom and dad" which has become the way we will refer to our children's birth parents in Ethiopia, their first Mommy and first Daddy. (We will be their forever Mommy and forever Daddy.) The story goes on to describe the way the parents love and take care of the child and how that makes them a family. It is a beautiful story that ends with the child going away to college but the parents letting him know that they still want him!

More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams is three short stories with multicultural families, including a white gramma with an African American child.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats has been a favorite story of Amy's since she first heard it read/acted out with puppets in her children's literature class in college. We have since come to learn that it was the first children's book published to feature an African American main character. the wonderful character of Peter appears again in several of Keats books.

Newspaper Article

This article was so God! Amy emailed our local paper asking them to print a blurb about an upcoming event in regard to our adoption, and they emailed back the next day to say they wanted to do a story! They interviewed us both on the phone and sent a photographer to the house to take pictures. And they would like to continue the story when we receive our referral and when we bring our children home! WOW!


09/02/09 - Mike's Quiet Time Verse

Mike will frequently write down verses he read during his daily quiet time on notes and index cards and place them around the house. Here's what was on the computer when I came home today:

Pretty cool, huh!?