Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Ethiopia!!!

The girls know more english than I thought. We will go all the way to Asela to visit their family on Thu. And I have a cell phone from Yemi's sister. The girls love make up...clothes and everything...the flight was great and I have no jet lag.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Taking OFF!YAY!

Okay..I am leaving in a few hours to go to NY and then to DULLES in DC on Sunday to catch our flight on Ethiopian air. Mark is meeting me there. We have packed 3 50lb suitcases. Mark and I are sharing a suitcase for our clothes, one for kids, other for backpacks, snacks, toiletries for kids. And 8lbs of lollipops for Layla house. We will arrive in Addis about 12:30am EST or 8:30am Ethiopian time. So, while you are sleeping if you hear someone in your dreams screaming from joy that will be us meeting our kids. We plan on going to the guest house, unpacking and then going right over to Layla. We will just spend time with them that night and then all go to sleep at the guest house around 8pm (we'll be tired). Tuesday we are planning on going to the Hilton to confirm our return tickets, have lunch, use the internet and possibly swim (if everyone is healthy and it is warm). Wed...Layla for lunch ,,,embassy appointment. Probably visit AHOPE (orphanage for the HIV kids). And then go get the girls hair braided. Thursday shop at MARKET for souvenirs..dinner with Ban's mom at Ethiopian restaurant. Friday...Layla again for going away party and then flight home....YAY! Short trip...I would love to stay longer but can't bear having the family split up for that long. We are so happy and praying all the logistics run smoothly. I really feel as if we embarking on something extremely fun, scary and exhilarating all at the same time....REALLY REALLY Excited...thanks for your prayers..Praises to GOD!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Leaving soon/Departure reports

We are getting so excited. I am leaving on Friday for NYC. And will meet Mark very early on Sunday in DC to fly all the way to Ethiopia. In the past few days we have received departure reports, letters and a note about Kidist. The letters from Ejigayehu came on the HELLO KITTY stationary that we had sent for them. The kids sent their love and let us know how excited they are to see us. The departure reports let us know that all the kids like yellow, want to ride bikes, and skateboards (we are in trouble...don't have enough bikes or helmets). The kids like water. Kidist like to dring "a refreshing Coca Cola". Ejigayehu likes pizza "with lots of meat". They all like to sing. It says that Kidist is popular and that Ejigayehu has a welcoming presence and that Yared is quiet and smart.

We received a note from a woman who knew Kidist who told us this story. One boy had said to this woman "Family-yes"...pointed to another boy and said "family yes" and then pointed to Kidist and said "family no". Kidist became indignant and said "family yes"..she stormed off and came back with our picture which apparently she was very proud of but looked very worn.....AWWWWW....

we are so happy and excited. We may not have many posts until we come back because we have to send email via an internet not sure how often we will be there. We appreciate prayers for safe travel, good health, protection over our family here and there and that we bond very quickly...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Distrupted Ethiopian Adoption in Rockford!

Since I know that many of my Rockford friends and relatives read this blog I thought I would post this info: I read on one of my forums that there is a very cute 10 year old boy who was born in Ethiopia, adopted to a family in Illinois and the adoption is being disrupted for whatever reason. The social worker is looking for a family that has Ethiopian children in the family already and who are willing to go into some attachment therapy with him to understand his needs etc. Apparently he is a very nice kid who really needs a family that understands and appreciates his situation etc. If anyone knows of anyone who would have a heart for considering adopting him let me know. They prefer a family with children as well and two parents.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Voice of the Orphan Stats

The thing that I find amazing also is that only 4% of households have adopted children . OUr adoption director's email signature says the following: "Adoption won't change the world but it will change the world for that child"

These are from the Voice of the orphan website and actually are a few years old...

Did you know...

  • 143 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents. i
  • At least 16.2 million children worldwide have lost both parents. ii
  • 16 million children were newly orphaned in 2003. iii
  • Armed conflicts orphaned or separated 1 million children from their families in the 1990s. iv
  • Two to five percent of all refugees worldwide are children living without their parents. v
  • The proportion of children who are orphans generally increases with age. vi
    • 12% (17.5 million) are 0-5 years.
    • 33% (47 million) are 6-11 years.
    • 55% (79 million) are 12-17 years old. vii
Where the orphans are living
  • 87.6 million orphans live in Asia. viii
  • 43.4 million orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa. ix
  • 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean. x
  • Almost 1.5 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe. xi
  • More than 800,000 children pass through America’s foster care system each year.

Adoption and waiting children in the U.S.

  • Between 118,000 and 127,000 children have been adopted every year since 1987. xviii
  • More than 50 percent of all adoptions are handled by public agencies or come from countries outside the U.S. xix
  • More than one-third of Americans have seriously considered adopting, but no more than 2% have actually adopted. xxi
  • Only 4 percent of families with children (1.7 million households) contain adopted children. xvii
  • 118,000 children were waiting to be adopted in September 2004.
  • Approximately 50,000 children are adopted from foster care per year.
  • On average, children waiting for adoption have been in foster care for 43.8 months, almost four years.
these children are the hope and future for this world. I have no clue what things are going to look like as millions of children grown up without having adult mentors, parents....I think showing them the least bit of love can go a long way.



We received the kids birth certificates today. The way it is explained to me is that these COULD be their actual birthdates or dates the judge has chosen. But they seem correct and to make sense to me (at least as far as the ages go). We also had asked for official notification that all of the paperwork was in and it, it would appear that the kids are now 5, 6, and 9. Yared's birthdate is 10/6/02, Kidist is just 14 months older born on 8/12/01 and Ejigayehu was born on 6/8/98...This makes Andrew and Ejigayehu just 7 months apart. I am planning on homeschooling until end of this year. Our school reopens in July or August (we are on year round) so will plan on putting Yared in Kindergarten and Kidist in first..this will put them about a year behind age wise but I think it will be great. Ejigayehu will have a lot of catching up to do. School here is not easy and she will be 10 when she starts. She is only in 1st grade in Ethiopia so I have to come up with a game plan that will focus on academics without stressing her out so much. And then we will determine what grade to put her in with some advice from friends and school professionals etc....

I read my friend Erin's blog tonight and cried. She is the coordinator for the HIV babies at AAI. There is such an overwhelming need for families and the children have such a bright future if brought to the US but a bleak future if they age out of the system over in Africa. Anyhow, I have her blog listed on my links if you are interested.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Town and Country

Our band is mentioned in the Spring 2008 issue of TOWN AND COUNTRY WEDDINGS...on page 136 (Kenneth Natori Wedding).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Strength of Orphans and God's grace....

So...the big worry for me was that the children were not able to have the patience to wait for us and that they would be getting frustrated and even thinking that we didn't care enough to get there fast enough. But I guess once you have watched your parents die and endure the heartbreak of realizing your grandmother can't take care of you, you develop an amazing sense of faith. As I sit and wait and wait and have my internal tantrums..My new children ages 8,6, and 4 have a depth of understanding that I have yet to find in my 40 (something) years alive. Last night when we returned by to the hotel after our gigs I found the translated letters from my sweet Ejigayehu. In them , she makes a point several times of encouraging her mother that they are well, not to worry about court and that God is good and we will be together in HIS TIME...wise words for an eight year old.....I wanted to share these precious treasures from Ejigayehu.

Letters from Ejigayehu #1

To my beloved sister,

How are you. I am doing well. I love you very much. I was happy to get the picture you sent me (you with your little sister). It looks great. It is my wish that God will let us see each other. I am glad to have a big sister. What grade are you in? Try to do good in school. I will too. Until we see each other, please say hi to everyone for me.

Bye, and I love you so much.


To my beloved brother,
How are you? I am doing well. I loved getting your picture. I loved your sisters’ pictures too. What grade are you in? Be good with your school work. Until I see you again, have a good one.

Bye, I love you my brother

To my beloved father,

How are you? I am doing well. I love you very much. I got the letter you sent me. I saw the picture that has you sleeping and showing (your neighborhood ???). I love it. I am glad you are my father. I also loved all the other pictures you sent me. I can’t wait until I see you. Please don’t worry about the court issues. It will finish in due time. We will show _____ for Christmas.

Bye, I love you

To my beloved mother,

How are you? We are doing good. You don’t have to rush to come here. Take your time. We are all ok here. We love you all. Please don’t worry about the court issue. We loved the CD (I hope this is right). Who sang the songs? Is it you? It is very beautiful. Kidist and Yared are doing good. They are happy with everything they got. May God help us see each other in peace.

I love you mom

To my beloved sister Mattea,

I love you very much. It is my prayer that God will let us see each other safely. I liked the picture you sent me. Thank you for sending it. What grade are you in? Do well in school. Until we see each other, be good. Know that I love you very much.

Bye,I love you my sister

Dear my family,

I love you. How are you? We are doing good. Did you get the letters we sent you? We got yours. My brothers name are – Abine (16 yrs old) and Yidnekachew (13 yrs old). They come and visit me some times. I love them. My great grandmother also comes and visits me. I am glad that they do that. I love them. (There is a sentence that describes who the people are on the picture. Unfortunately it is not clear. It is not written in proper Amharic. Following please find my best interpretation of the remaining letter). The lady on the picture is their aunt. I love Meskerem, Tsion and Hermela (the kids on the picture). Until we see each other again,


I love you

Dear Grandma,

How are you? We are doing good. We got the letter you sent us. I am glad you are my grandmother. I was glad to hear that you are going to come. I love very very much. May God protect you. He is faithful. I always pray for my family, including you. God is love. Until we see each other,


I love you

Dear family,

How are you? I am doing well. I got the letter you sent me. I am happy to receive it. Please come whenever it is convenient. Don’t worry about the time. We are doing fine. We can communicate with each other through letters until you come. I thank you for all you have done for me so far. Even though the time is long, I know we will see each other one day. I have come to learn that you truly love me. Your love became more evident when you tried to help my brothers in every way you could. I love you more that you love me. Kidist and Yared say hello. I am working on a circus to be presented for Christmas. Do you have a circus club in North Carolina? Is there anyone in our family who is involved in circus? If my sisters like it, I can show them what I know. I can show my brother too. Since I am going to spend many more holidays with you in the future, I don’t mind spending Christmas here. Until we talk with each other with another letter,

Bye, may God be with you.

I love you more than you love me.

WELL, we don't really want her joining the circus but it looks like she enjoys performing and can get her involved in gymnastics if she wants....LOL!

Friday, January 11, 2008

"I Love You More Than You Love Me"

Mark and I are in Queens getting ready for a gig (Barmitzvah) tomorrow. Of course we SHOULD have been leaving on Sunday to get our kids but are at least happy to have a new date on 1/27 and coming home 2/1. My mom and sister Denise are going to come and stay with the kids and Uncle Dave (Denise' husband) will be in town from his road tour with CHICAGO....

we are looking forward to our trip though and now staying literally yards away from Layla house. I am so happy about that. And we literally received 15 letters today in Amharic for the kids...The english I received said "I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU LOVE ME"...That made me cry and laugh at the same time...hoping they weren't wondering why we weren't there yet...The other english is GOD IS GOOD written inside a cross...

So keep us in your prayers and our kids especially.....thanks to everyone for your support.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Okay it now looks like we are heading to Ethiopia on 1/27 (I will leave for NYC on 1/25 for a gig)....I will meet Mark in Dulles on 1/27 and we will fly to Ethiopia arriving 1/28 and coming home on 2/1 (arriving on 2/2)...We are staying at the guesthouse at the orphanage which is going to be fun......We will be there in Addis at the same time all of the African Presidents are meeting for a summit or I think we will make a point of praying for Africa and the leaders a lot while we are there.....

We still don't know if they have the missing doc signed but they reassure us that it "should' be ready by then. So they have encouraged us to make the reservations.

AND we are getting all 82k american express points back....(and I just booked a big job over the phone for March) so things are looking up...Praise God!


Manila Folders and Government offices!

A woman named Jill gave me this true story today which describes the type of insanity we go through in these 3rd world government offices.

"What a disappointment. I'm so sorry to hear this. Your family will be in my prayers.
When we adopted our daughter 3-1/2 years ago, we hit a bit of a delay on the Ethiopia side. It turned out that one of the offices that deals with adoptions had . . . get this . . . run out of manila folders. Rather than order the folders and stack them crosswise while waiting, they just let all the cases sit there. I've heard of similar things happening - things we assume and take for granted here. One family from our agency had all their approvals and was traveling within days. If I recall, they took along a few boxes of folders. "

I am feeling better today but would really like to know when we are going but I will guess I will wait (so what else is new).


Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Someone please lift us up in prayer. Our agency called and now they are telling us two days before we are leaving that we cannot travel now after all. I am so ticked off, exhausted and upset. They say the letter from the WOMEN"s MINISTRY isn't ready...WHY DID THEY GIVE US A TRAVEL DATE THEN? My mother , sister, friends, have all made giant plans to accomodate us. We have lost 50000 AMEX points...don't know why they won't just reimburse us because it is a hotel stay...but we have made 5 separate calls and they won't reimburse you. It takes years to accumulate those points. Anyhow, now we don't know when we are going ...I really can't talk about it yet in person so we'll let you know when we are traveling....


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Travel Itinerary...

So we have our final travel itinerary ready.

1/11 leave Raleigh around 6:45 to JFK
1/12 perform at a really loud barmitzvah until 1am with our band, deejay and 100 over privileged children and 200 of their parents best friends. (pray it is easy and the clients have mercy on us)
1/13 Get to JFK at 4am (not sleeping the night before), 6 am flight to Dulles in DC arrive 7:30, catch Ethiopian air flight at for several hours, land in Rome for refueling, 8:30am on 1/14 Addis time (that is 12:30am our time on 1/14)
1/14 check into HILTON (miracle of miracles we have a room and even another for most of the nights but one)
unpack---go to orphanage...bring kids back to Hotel
1/15 just hang out with the kids and probably meet Yemi and Ban's family (our friends from Kings Park) for souvenirs and get hair braided and washed (not me, the kids)
1/16 Embassy day...also want to go to AHOPE orphanage for HIV children and probably nice dinner with family (that means Ban and Yemi's family)
1/17 Maybe Layla outing...also planning on meeting Yemi and Ban's family again...
1/18 check out of hotel...Goodbye party at Layla...10:15 pm flights (that's 2pm our time)
1/19 7:30 am land in Dulles....go through customs...12:47 flight to RDU (may try to get standby on earlier flight but unlikely with 5 people) land in RDU around 2:30ish.
1/20 Do nothing but get familiar with home and make a cake because it is Mark's birthday...friends who can't stand to stay away will visit...we will be in our pajamas, no makeup and sweats...BRING FOOD
1/21 Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday and all the kids are off of school
1/22---start to panic realizing that I have to somehow learn how to function with 6 kids...take a shot at homeschooling for at least 6 months, run a business, sell our house and move into another...PRAISE GOD!

Also, my mother is going to bury St. Joseph in our backyard. I am not Catholic (neither is she) but my step father Barney is...he swears it will sell our house. All of my catholic friends tell me it is the truth....I don't really believe that stuff...but think it is funny and if they want to bury it ...fine..I am believing we will get an offer when we leave and are traveling. God will show favor and has been so faithful through all of we just wait for His perfect time.

If anyone wants to buy a house in us?

Andrew is going to manage the blog when we are away..I will email him and he will cut and paste my patient with him. He is just 10 years old..but has his own blog so figure it couldn't hurt... if you are interested check it out...I will make a link for his blog..mainly all about sports.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Revival in Ethiopia!

I have been crying in JOY all day and probably won't stop until after my kids are home for a while.. Check out this video.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Amusement Parks and risk taking..

As I prepare for this trip to pick up our 3 new children I cannot possibly articulate the feelings that are racing through me. The only analogy that comes close are amusement parks, race cars or childhood analogies. When I was a kid I loved going on roller coasters. And I loved riding my bike with no hands (no helmet either). I became such an expert on my 10 speed that I could ride a full block with no hands. I could also ride as fast as possible and go onto the curb, brake the bike and skid near the front porch in time for dinner...I also remember loving sledding so much that I took my sled after an intense snow into one of my neighbors yards. I didn't even know this person. What I did know was that there was a hill and then a drop over a 4 foot cliff into the snow and then I would eventually land in the alley...I really wasn't very worried about cars, my back or freezing while I was out there. I got older and became less courageous when it came to all things physical. I no longer enjoy going on roller coasters. I am not a thrill seeker when it comes to sports etc. I don't like driving too fast either. But it dawned on me the other day that the adventure seeker in me never died. I jumped on a plane at 18 to move to NYC by myself and I continue to try to challenge myself in this life. When I was in Target a few days ago and I found out that we were actually going to Ethiopia to get our children, I once again felt that finally after traveling up the steep incline on the roller coaster we were finally going to reach the peak and start screaming in fear, joy and excitement as the roller coaster finally was able to give us the exhilaration we were waiting for as it dropped, curled upside down and went around the curve. We didn't head into this adoption to be exhilarated but somehow being on God's track and doing His will is hands down the most scary, exciting, joyous experience of our lives...I feel like truly screaming in fear sometimes and then breaking out into the loudest laughter in my amazement in seeing how He has put all of this together...Incredible...Praise God!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Finally Traveling!

I was in target getting some bins to sort out clothes (the dressers are in storage because we will move soon), Mark called to let us know that our Visa date in Ethiopia is on 1/16. This means we have a crazy week ahead of us. On 1/11 we will fly from Raleigh to JFK. On 1/12 my band is performing for a BARMITZVAH...OH NOOOOOO! (there is so much to say about that but I will leave it alone)...then at 6 am we fly JFK to DULLES (in DC) arrive 7:30 and have to catch a 9:30 flight to Ethiopia.....I am nervous about weather and late flights (missing flight)....we then arrive in Ethiopia on 1/14 at 8:30am their time..THen we get the kids THAT afternoon...THEN we take them to the embassy on 1/16...come back on 1/19 to arrive on 1/20 MARK'S BIRTHDAY......

I had such butterflies when I found out this is actually happened....It was surreal....sort of like after going up the incline on the rollercoaster you finally go down the big hill and start to scream....

Meanwhile, tonight Andrew (my 10 year old) knows two chords on the guitar. He just wrote a song called "cookies for dinner"...very funny...

Please keep us in your prayers. We have so much to do in a week...AND I can see my stress factor will be the early part of the travel....


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone. We know that 2008 is going to be an amazing year. We are starting it out in a new house and with 3 new kids. What a blessing! We had a mellow New Year's Eve watching football, playing bingo and eating steaks with our neighbors.

We also just received this new pics.....wanted to share.