"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Re-posting my book review from 2yrs. ago

I originally posted this 2 years ago when we 1st started this journey...this book had a huge impact on my life and I wanted to share it again :)
Jill's book reveiw, "There is No Me Without You"
One Womans Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children by Melissa Fay Greene

Ok so this book kinda changed my life..ok well, the inside of me, like my mind...maybe not outwardly yet.

Anyways I think is should be required reading. Orginally I read it because I heard everyone adopting from Ethiopia 'has' to read it because of the huge history it gives about the country. This book rocked me- I finished it a few weeks ago and I still cry...yes a little peice of my heart is there but I think it should affect everyone. Here's some blurbs that you can ponder on...

(these are various quotes taken from the book)

Dr. Mark Rosenberg
"My colleagues compare AIDS in Africa to the Holocaust. They imagine we will be asked by future generations, 'What did you do to help?'

AIDS- killed more than 21 million people including 4 million children
13 million children orphaned from it..12 million is from sub Saharan Africa. Ethiopia was #2 country hit

25-50 million orphans in Africa alone

The numbers are completely ridiculous- human beings are not wired to absorb 12 million or 25 million bits of information- the ridiculous numbers wash over most of us.

We who have read the histories of the Armenian genocide, and of the holocaust, stalins Gulag, the epic killings in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda, find our selves once again safely tucked away.

We're not getting it- we'll have a cumulative total of 100 million deaths and infections by the end of the year 2012 and we call ourselves an advanced civilization.

Ethiopia- out of poverty, drought, famine, TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS, autocracy, skirmishes and war...is running low on adults.

ethiopian doctor patient ratio- worst in world...1 to 34,000 people (US is 1 to 142)

Who is going to raise 12 million children?
adoption is not the answer to HIV and aids in Africa...for every orphan turning up in a northern hemisphere learning to rollerblade- 10 thousand African children remain behind.

(Halefom -head of ethiopian childrens commission)
"Adoption is a last resort, historically our country had very few orpahns because orpahned children were raised by their extened families. THe HIV/AIDS pandemic has destroyed so many of our families that the possibility no longer exits to absorb all of our ethiopian orpahns.
I am deeply respectful of the families who care for our children, but I am also very interested in any help that can be given to us to keep the childrens parents alive. Adoption is good, but children, naturally would prefer not to see their parents die."

3/4 of children born to HIV mothers- do not carry the virus (hence the orphan crisis)

(In the US- people are rarely dieing of AIDS now...we have the wonder drugs and people w/ HIV can live long healthy lives- getting married...having children. HIV is no longer a death sentence but a condition you learn how to live with.)

The meds have a 'lazurs effect'- a person can be on the brink of death and within days be practically back to 'normal.'

Patents: (the word now causes my blood to boil) the pattented drugs cost $15,000 per patient per year- although production costs are closer to $200. universl treatment would not be an option for africans.
in fact our govt worked hard to keep prices up by limiting exports to third world countires and vigorousley enforcing patents...their argurment- 'drug firms need the profits to finance the research on new wonder drugs.'
But at what point does the human benefit to desperate, destitute countries outweigh strict adherence to patents and profits?
They blame hurdels of- 'lack of sophistication to manage complex meds.' (sickening)

Our stragedy emphesizes prevention to the exclusion of treatment...ofers no hope to tens of millions of human beings. In fact, it passes a death sentence on them. WE may have to sit by and just see these millions of people die.

both the Brazilian and Indian generic companies signal their willingness to export low cost generic versions of the drugs to poor countries

2006- $275 billion spent on war in Iraq...worldwide aids programs could have been completely funded for 27 years with that amount of funding

Some activists long to see drug industry executives and political leaders-tried for crimes against humanity."

OK- I know this was long...if you read this all...Thanks..I hope your eyes have been opened like mine were...

Friday, June 22, 2012

A step back into time...

I have been spending some time reading our Ethiopian Travel Guide and finding out some really cool information about the area where the girls are from! 

Here's the basics:

Ethiopia is in eastern Africa- sometimes reffered to as 'the Horn of Africa.'  (right of Sudan)

Ethiopia is divided up into several different regions.  The girls live in the northernmost mountainous region of Ethiopia, called:  Tigray.
(we will stay in both Tigray and the Capital city in central Ethiopia- Addis Ababa.)
The girls orphanage is in the city of Mekele, Tigray which also serves as a transit point for camel caravans that bring salt up from the arid land of the Denakil Depression.
The twins do Not speak the national language of Amharic- they speak their regional dilect of Tigrinya.


The way of life evokes images of Bible times. Camels, donkeys, and sheep are everywhere. Fields are plowed using oxen.

The Orthodox Church is a large part of the culture for the large majority.. A distinctive feature of Tigray are its rock-hewn churches.
they are often located at the top of cliffs or steep hills.

The soil has been depleted by many centuries of cultivation; water is scarce. Using methods that are thousands of years old, farmers plow their fields with oxen, sow seeds and harvest by hand. The harvest is threshed by the feet of animals. In the home, women
use wood or the dried dung of farm animals for cooking. Women often work from 12 to 16 hours daily doing domestic duties as well as cultivating the fields.
Each family—some with eight or more children—must provide all of its own food. The women perform all work necessary to prepare the meals from grinding the grain to roasting the coffee beans. Children carry water in clay pots or jerry cans on their backs.  Where there are many, among the most challenging has been that only about 54% of the population of Tigray has had regular access to safe drinking water.  Additionally, there have been boarder disputes with Eritrea

The country houses are built mostly from rock, dirt, and a few timber poles. The houses blend in easily with the natural surroundings. Many times the nearest water source is more than a kilometer away from their house. In addition, they must search for fuel for the fire throughout the surrounding area.  Marriages are monogamous and arranged by contract, involving a dowry given by the bride's family to the couple.

Coffee is a very important ceremonial drink. The "coffee ceremony" is common to the Tigrians. Beans are roasted on the spot, ground and served thick and rich in tiny ceramic cups with no handles. When the beans are roasted to smoking, they are passed around the table, where the smoke becomes a blessing on the diners.  (very much looking forward to their coffee :)

The Tigrinya have a rich heritage of music and dance, using drums and stringed instruments. Most people in Tigray still wear the traditional dress.  We are told that the Tigray region is among the most vibrant and astounding historical components of Ethiopian culture and history! 

(in the pre-orphanage photos we have of the girls- they have these similar typical ornate hair styles...in more recent photos the braids have been taken out)
So if you got anything from this history lesson  than you would recognize that basically our girls will be going through a time warp!
 From Bible times to the suburbs of  the American 21st century.  I can easily start freaking out on behalf of them already BUT I keep on reminding myself  that God is in control.  He chose these girls for our family...quite knowing we live in a 'different world.'  Culture Shock is expected but so is God's power and healing....

Thank you for your continued prayers for them.

Thank you all so much for your generosity-
miraculously the adoption if paid for (beacause of you!) and we are starting fresh with the travel funds- please continue to spread the word, you never know who may want to play a part in this!  http://www.acharityproject.com/f/7forseats

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Waitng for a Court date!

Signed the official referral papers of the twins!!!

Yeah! The 'hoop jumping' is over and this week our Mt. of paperwork will be submitted to the Ethiopian courts.  We now just sit tight and wait for them to give us a court date.  Once we recieve our court date it basically means- hey be here on "this day."  THe last family who recieved their court date had only a 2 week notice before they had to fly! 

This trip in NOT where we bring the girls home.  We meet them, bring them photo albums of our family- with pics of their room and our house to they could visually get aquainted w/ what's to come.  We'll play soccer with them and the other kids and basically have a lot of jittery, awkward moments!  I'll somehow finagle measuring shoe and clothes sizes on this trip so I will have a better idea of what to have ready for them.  We go to court in Ethiopia and officially become their parents.  BUT we cant bring them to the US until their Visa's are issued....and that takes 1-2 months. 

In another world if we had no other children that needed  us at home- we would LOVE to take the girls out of the orphange and stay together at the guest house for those 1-2 months while we wait for their visa's. 
But that's not quite possible...so like the majority of adoptive families...we make 2 trips.

Oh my goodness...I just CANT WAIT! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

So what's next?

*  We are in the process of signing 'official acceptance' papers for the girls.

Because we changed our child age request we had to once again take online classes on adopting older children, answer twenty something crazy ?'s such as, "what would you do if....(insert nightmare style-worst case scenario stuff.)"  And they don't take- 'cry- pray- call your friend' as acceptable answers.   So after staying up till 1 am finishing this  and then realizing the next morning that your document wasn't saved to only have to stay up to 1 am again the next morning finishing the scary homework! 

Then someone from our adoption agency will call us this week to interview us and basically see if we can be scared out of this- they want to make sure we know what we are doing- seeing how we have never parented children older than 8yrs.  (hmmm...I was never contacted when I was pregnant to make sure we knew what we were doing...most people don't have a clue right?!) 

After we sign those final papers in a week or so- we pay the  final adoption bill.  We have received a $3500 Grant from Steven Curtis Chapman's Orphan Ministry, 'Show Hope.'  (YAY!!) And with the money we originally raised for our plane tickets- we can pay for the sibling fee also.  Double Yay, AMAZING!!!  God is so awesome  :)

THEN- our paperwork get's submitted to the court in Ethiopia and we Wait to be given a court date!  Court dates can come as quick as 4-6 weeks!  That would be our first trip- possibly by the end of July!

BUT...courts close in Ethiopia from August 1st through the end of September (rainy season.)

IF we don't receive a court date Before August 1st than we cant go until October when they re-open!  Ugh.  We are right on the brink- we have been moving papers- overnighting and expediting things as quickly as possible...we shall see- pray with us that we can go before the long court recess!!!!

My brain has been spinning.... paperwork... craigslist searches for bunkbeds...paperwork....11 year old stuff...constant emails... re-reading medicals...paperwork...fundraising flights...thinking of box-springs/mattress's/ bedding x2....standing in Sova Grace's room trying to envision the best way to set up the bedroom...oh yeah- back to homeschooling (check the calendar...are we almost done yet?  regretting all those 'skip' days?  ummmm...no.)  staring at the twins pictures-forcing myself to stop staring...doesn't work...fundraising flights... taking webinars on how to braid hair...oh my- that's gonna take some time- yikes...and...breathe!

Many  know that I actually Love the whole experience of having a baby- including labor and delivery- I know I'm weird...that's one reason I was hesitant to adopt a few years ago because I love the process of having babies. But maybe that's another reason why I love adoptions too...it's a realllllly long pregnancy- I feel like I have been pregnant for 2 years- and now all this final paperwork and crazy stuff is like nesting.  I'm spinning in circles trying to get things in place but it's so exciting.  Adoption is definatly a labor of love including the intense pain at times...but the end product is always the same...a child enters a family...just really big twins this time around with the perk of coming home potty trained  :)

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