Monday, December 31, 2007

Ethio Kids With Joyous Hearts

We always hear about the harshness of life in Ethiopia. As adoptive parents we try to imagine (at least I do) what life is like for the children outside of the orphanages. When I found this video it reminded me that whether they walk miles for walker, attend school regularly, see adults in despair, or wonder what their future holds, they are just kids.

This video really makes me smile and laughed at some parts too. It reminds me of growing up in 60s and 70s black America when we were able to find the JOY in really simple things. JOY no matter the circumstances. It reminds me of those summer picnics when your friends and relatives are over and your parents push you out there to show them the latest dance or sing the latest song. Everybody claps and for five minutes the stage is all yours.

You have to hear them sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" in what I believe is Amharic. There is one little boy in the video that stills the spotlight. He is a STAR! I can only imagine what is in store for him.

Games Ethiopian Children Play

If I haven't mentioned before I love YouTube. It is allowing me to bring Ethiopia in full motion video right into my living room. Really my computer is in my office but you get what I'm talking about.

Here is one that I think is interesting about the games children play. The narrator says that they wanted to chronicle the old games and teach them to children. The video is short but look closely at what you see: hopscotch, jacks, ring around the rosie, pick up sticks, tether ball, and paper-rock-scissors.

Can you believe that? Far away but much the same. PS. I watched it again and they are also playing hide-and-go-seek.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

10 Reasons to Adopt from Ethiopia

I saw this today in an Illinois newsletter about adoption. I made it personal to my Ethiopian adoption experience.

  1. Others tell you that you are good with kids.

  2. Your commitment will help change a child's future.

  3. Patience and a sense of humor are two of your greatest strengths.

  4. You have love and time to give.

  5. Reaching out to others seems natural to you.

  6. You have a spare bedroom, and you rather it go to a child than become yet another storage closet.

  7. You know how important it is to be a part of a family.

  8. You are ready to accept the challenge of parenting a special child.

  9. You believe that every kid deserves a family.

  10. Today there are approximately 6 million orphan children in Ethiopia who need the constant love of a family.

Dance With Me in Gurage Ethiopia

I found this short video on YouTube. It shows children of Gurage dancing. It looks like a cross between the The Running Man and The Butterfly.

The Gurage people of Ethiopia can be found about 75 miles south-west of Addis Ababa. They speak a collection of Semitic languages and dialects, collectively known as Gurage, but divided into at least three subgroups known as Northern, Eastern and Western Gurage.

The Gurage people Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Catholics. They are known for cultivating the ensete ventricosum or false banana plant, known as asat, although this is a practice they share with other southern and southwestern Ethiopians.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Who Created the Bowflex?

That might seem like a strange question but it's just really my way of introducing you to a few Ethiopians living and making their way in America.

That's right the man who invented the Bowflex immigrated to the US from Ethiopia . His name is Tessema Dosho Shifferaw, and he is the founder, president and CEO of a company called Dosho Design. Along with the Bowflex he also creates other fitness products that you can check out at Dosho.

Liya Kebede. Maybe you have seen the beautiful face of model Liya Kebede. She too is from Ethiopia. Liya grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was discovered while she was studying in France. She rose instantly in the French fashion world and later moved to New York. She is listed as one of the top earning super models in the world and the first black model for Estee Lauder. See more pictures of Liya .

Then there is the famous dress designer, Amsale. Her full name is Amsale Aberra. Any woman who looks at bridal magazines will instantly recognize the name. Amsale is a famed bridal wear designer who grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her father, Aberra Moltot, was Ethiopia's vice-minister for National Community Development, and her mother, Tsadale Assamnew, was a housewife. When the revolution broke out in Ethiopia, her father was imprisoned, and she was left without his financial support. he Although her father survived and was freed seven years later, Amsale dropped out of school and moved to Boston to live with her sister.

Color Me Playful Toys for Children of Color

Cush City has a good mix of toys, games, puzzles, dolls and even back packs. Some things seemed a little pricey but I guess it is the price of being extra special. I laughed because they even sell Old Maid cards (I haven't seen them in years) and the old maid is a black woman.

Dolls Like Me probably has the widest selection of toys and gifts for children of color. I don't know why this matching game stood out to me.

Check Out Caramel Kidz

Ethnic Dolls
Ethnic Games and Puzzles
Ethnic Party Supplies
Ethnic Holiday Toys and Gifts
Black History for Kids
Multicultural Arts and Crafts

Jambo Kids has a few unique items that you might like.

JamboKids Doll and Book Sets
JamboKids Hard Cover Books
JamboKids Jigsaw Puzzles
JamboKids Posters
JamboKids Soft Cover Books
JamboKids Soft Fabric Dolls
JamboKids Trading Cards
JamboKids Wrist Bands

African American Books
Check this list of books.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Support the Adoption Fund

I believed this was my journey and that I needed to do it alone, so I've hesitated in hosting a fundraiser or asking for help from others through this process. The word of God says that we have not because we ask not so I am asking you to support this mission through giving.

  1. Shop 'Til You Drop - Use any of the shopping links found on the right-hand side. A percentage of all sales goes to the adoption fund.

  2. Financial Donations - Accepted through ChipIn. You can use the link or the red chip box below. ChipIn uses PayPal and donations can be in the form of check or credit card.
    Click to ChipIn!

To get a better understanding of the adoption cost they include agency fees, government processing fees, fees to support the orphanage in Ethiopia. Also included is the trip to see the children before the adoption is final and a second trip to bring them home. Below are the approximate costs.

Those that are bold itemized figures have been paid.

Adoption Agency Fees ($15,450)

$ 1600 ~ Agency Application Fee
$ 1200 ~ Agency Processing Fee
$ 12,000 ~ Ethiopia In-Country Fee
$ 150 ~ Hague Convention Training (10 hrs)

Home Study & Dossier Expenses ($5150)

$ 1800 ~ Home Study
$ 750 ~ USCIS Approval
$ 500 ~ Document Preparation
$ 900 ~ Illinois Court Validation
$ 1200 ~ Post-Placement Reports

Estimated Travel Expenses ($7540)

$ 780 ~ Travel Vaccinations
$ 70 ~ Ethiopia Visa
$ 1,800 ~ Airfare, roundtrip, 1 adult
$ 2,400 ~ Airfare, one-way, 2 children
$ 1,500 ~ In-Country expenses, approx. 10 days

U.S. Visa for Children ($1310)

$ 400 ~ Medical Examinations
$ 800 ~ Immigrant Visa Fees
$ 40 ~ Visa photos
$ 70 ~ Ethiopian Passports

$29,450 Total Estimated Cost

The agency has a requirement that you stay home with the children for the first 12 weeks. Being self-employed I will not get the benefit of paid vacation time or family leave. I will lose about 3-months of income through the process.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Children Should Lead Them

Isaiah 11:6 says that a child should lead them. I found this video on The Children's Project in Awassa, Ethiopia. The children are staging performances around many of the small villages to teach the people about the dangers of HIV and Aids.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shop 'Til You Drop

Please go to my Charity Blast and make a purchase.

There are hundreds of stores to choose from. Charity Blast will donate a portion of EVERY purchase you make at online stores like Target, Best Buy, Gap, Old Navy, Staples and more to the adoption at no additional cost to you. By shopping through Charity Blast you save money on your purchases and contribute to the cause.

You can also use any of the shopping links listed below. Or If you know anyone who does a lot of online shopping send them the link.

When you buy these stores give!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm Ready for a Soul Christmas

This is the time of the year that we celebrate the birth of Christ. Some say that Christmas has become too commercialized and that too many have taken Christ out of Christmas. I would never do that. Christmas is also a time for family and friends to celebrate life with one another.

With all the big, lighted trees, gifts and celebration as long as I live there will never be anything like a SOUL Christmas. There are some things that we black folks do that just cannot be matched. Thinking back on my childhood there was nothing like OUR songs of Christmas. Some songs just can never be replaced. Thank goodness for you tube because I've been able to listen to many of my favorites. If you want to have a Soul Christmas, click the links and sing a long.

If you need to smile just imagine Don Cornelius announcing Christmas with love, peace, and SOOOOUUUL!

Here is my top 15 list
! Listen and enjoy and as my mother used to say, "Have a Happy, Happy and a Merry, Merry!"

  1. This Christmas - Donnie Hathaway
    This Christmas - The Whispers (The only one that can top the original)

  2. The Christmas Song - Jeffery Osborne

  3. Santa Clause is A Black Man - John Waters (Kimmy)

  4. Christmas Just Ain't Christmas - O'Jays

  5. Merry Christmas Baby - Otis Redding

  6. Give Love on Christmas - The Jackson 5
    Give Love on Christmas - Johnny Gill (Just love this version too)

  7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Luther Vandross

  8. Merry Christmas Baby - Otis Redding
    Merry Christmas Baby - Charles Brown original

  9. At Christmas Time - Luther Vandross

  10. Santa Clause Go Straight to the Ghetto - James Brown

  11. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause - The Jackson 5

  12. Silent Night - The Temptations

  13. Little Drummer Boy - The Jackson 5 (The pictures will take you back)

  14. What Do the Lonely Do At Christmas - The Emotions

  15. Let It Snow - Boyz II Men & Bryan McKnight

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Report On Family Life in Ethiopia

There is an interesting website called Mountain Voice that has recorded actual statements of families living in Ethiopia.

thiopian society is built on cooperation. It is reported that every village and town also has mutual aid societies. People make weekly contributions, and the funds pay for marriage and funeral expenses and local road repairs. Society members who are ill can receive money from the fund for treatment. Even small business loans are handled by the local society, rather than by a bank. However, due to widespread poverty in the country, many people have been moving to cities in search of work.

A typical family consists of the father, mother, children, servants, and extended family members. The families are strong and tend to be large, ranging from 6-12 family members per family. The father is the authority figure, and the mother enforces the rules for the children. The family is responsible for teaching the children cultural and religious values and the skills necessary to become self-supporting adults.

Rural families, more often than urban families, tend to have a division of labor. The mothers usually work at home, while the fathers work in the field or other outside jobs. If both parents work outside the home, the parents depend on servants and extended family members to look after the children. Although, parents discourage their children from using violence, the parents often use physical punishment and believe in its effectiveness.

The mother is often the one who chooses her children's name. This chosen name indicates what traits she wants her children to exemplify. It is a custom for children to take their father's name as their second name. Parents consider children to be dependent of them, and the children can protect the family pride by behaving well.

Different Roles of Boys and Girls
Boys and girls in Ethiopia tend to have separate roles.


  • help their mothers such as sweeping the house and fetching water
  • admired for their abilities in handicrafts, cooking, and cleaning
  • stay under family control until they get married
  • no choice in choosing a husband
  • can marry at age 14 (some marry as young as age 10)
  • help their fathers in gardening, preparing land, planting, weeding, and caring for cattle
  • father trains son for work at age 6
  • admired if they are studious and have a good character
  • can choose their own wives
  • can marry at age 18
Games Ethiopian Children Play
Even though Ethiopian children lead hard lives, they also have fun. They play games with the children of their neighborhood. These games relieve some of their stress, and it is also a way in which children express their fears. Some examples of the games Ethiopian children enjoy are hockey, breaking grounds, hide and seek, football, and soccer.

Rules Children Must Follow
At a young age, parents teach their children certain rules, and the parents expect children to follow them. If the children break these rules, their parents and society will look down on them and they will be appropriately disciplined. Some of these rules are:

  • respect the elders
  • be obedient
  • don't question authority
  • don't interrupt their parents while they are talking
  • don't call adults by names
  • be disciplined

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tick Tock Control Clock

Control freaks of the world unite! E-mail is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. In the right hands or at least in my hands it is a lightening rod. It's the one thing that I can use to make sure that things arrive where they should and leave on to their next destination.

To update to my earlier post, there is some good news and some other news. First the good news, I received a letter of congratulations from my agency today. My dossier has been weighed and measured and found acceptable. Still that dossier is missing two important documents, the home study and the I-171. More good news, I received my fingerprint appointment notice. Friday at 9am I get to head out to the immigration office in Norridge, IL for one more (we hope) round of fingerprints. I've already been printed by the state of Illinois and the FBI.

The other news? I used the inter-country coordinator's e-mail address again today to find out if she had received my home study. The answer was, not positive. She took matters into her own hands and contacted my placement agency. She learned that things were not sent to her on the date that I was told. She also assured me that as soon as she gets my home study she will process it in a timely fashion. Her response made it clear she is not the chink in the chain and that I will not be able to blame any delays on her. Well, at least now she knows my name. More importantly I have her e-mail address.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tock...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Clock Is Ticking

Funny that I never heard the loud sound of the biological clock ticking but this adoption time clock clicking in my head keeps getting louder. Just look at the two new clocks I've added to the blog. One is tracking how long it is taking for the Chicago office to process and approve my I-600A application. The other clock shows how many total days I've been in process for the adoption. It's counting the time that my application was sent to present.

The first part of the process was full of activity. Read this, sign this, notarize this, overnight this, check this, recheck that, call and check that all packages have arrived. Okay, now I have no more paperwork to fill out, no more packets to send in. Everything is out of my hands at this point. I don't like the feeling.

I exchanged eight e-mails with the inter-country coordinator at DCFS this week. I wanted to know how long it took them to complete their processing of my application. The result? She has not received the home study that my agency says was sent on November 30. She also told me that even if she had that they are currently processing application dates of November 26.

I've sent e-mails and have got no response from the Chicago CIS office who promised 20 days ago that in 14 days I'd receive a fingerprint notice from Nebraska. Nebraska? Yea, my thoughts exactly. Anyway all I can do is wait. Well there is one more thing that I can do. I can call.

The clock just keeps ticking. Tick Tock ....

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Get Adoption Fundraising Ideas

If you are looking for your own fundraiser, try this! Fast Track Fundraising offers great fundraising ideas and tips whether it’s for your adoption, your church, or just trying to help out local youth groups.

easy fundraisers

You can sign up with Fast Track Fundraising for FREE. They have a lot of good ideas, like an online donation site and a Christmas bag fundraiser.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]