Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flights booked...now time to make Lists

We recently received exciting news! We have been given a court date!!!!! On March 17th we will testify to the Ethiopian courts and if all goes well, we will gain guardianship of our daughter. We were told to be in Ethiopia by March 13th. So, yesterday we booked our flights **dance of joy** and have been firming up our two month itinerary in Ethiopia. We understand that things might, and probably will, change as far as time lines and plans go...so our itinerary is "fluid."

Back in the beginning of this journey, when we first started thinking about our trip to Ethiopia, we were prepared to travel to and within Ethiopia without any familiar faces, just having each other. Although we love to travel alone we were shocked and thrilled to learn that there will be three other families, who all live in the Portland area, traveling at the same time. We couldn't believe it, how exciting! We hope to also visit some people in Addis who we know already, and a few that are family friends. It will be wonderful to see some familiar faces in Addis, and to experience some of the joys of adoption with other adoption families.

This week we plan to finalize our in country flight and travel plans, send off for our visas, and start checking off the multiple to-do items on our list(s). We are actually at peace with most of our travel plans and aren't as anxious as we thought we would be at this point. We just keep thinking about our daughter and holding her for the first time and peace washes over us.

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today, January 19th, twelve days after Ganna, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat. This holiday commemorates the baptism of Christ. Children walk to church services in a procession wearing crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma, with the priests wearing their red and white robes and carrying embroidered fringed umbrellas. 
To make the holiday festive the playing of music by Ethiopian instruments allows everyone to sing and dance together. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Church officials called dabtaras study hard to learn the musical chants, melekets, for the ceremony.

Ethiopian men play another sport called yeferas guks. They ride on horseback and throw ceremonial lances at each other.

Here is a fabulous video by National Geographic about Timkat and preparation by the priests

Here is a video during Timkat to give you an idea of the excitement in the air 

Move your neck according to the music ~Ethiopian Proverb

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick Update

Things are progressing along! We finished painting our daughter's room and continued to work on our travel plans. Yesterday we were thrilled to receive more pictures and a medical update. You can't imagine what it is like to see a picture of your daughter and then to wait entire month to get any update...it was hard, but worth the wait. Again emotions of happiness, excitement and relief flowed over us. She is heathy, even more beautiful (which we didn't think was possible)....and that smile continues to melt our hearts.

We also received good news about court! Our documents were logged into the Ethiopian court recently. So we should be getting a court date within the next 3 weeks and most likely will be traveling to Ethiopia in March or April (crossing our fingers for March).

We will keep you posted!

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things”
 Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Celebrating Christmas, Ethiopian style

An incredible night that we will remember forever. We were looking forward to this event, seeing our friends and meeting other adoptive families, but we had no idea how deeply touched we would be by the experience.

The evening started off with a greeting from the owners of E'Njoni cafe (which we love by the way) thanking everyone for attending. Then a priest of a local Ethiopian Orthodox church gave a blessing before the meal. The priest and host of the party expressed their appreciation to adoptive families for "opening up your hearts and homes" to the children of Ethiopia, and continuing to keep the Ethiopian culture alive in the household. Many adoptive families had tears in their eyes, including us, it was a very touching moment! He continued to say that we were welcome to attend their Ethiopian Orthodox church and that they would provide Amharic classes if we were interested. He ended with a prayer in Amharic, which was so beautiful.

After the blessing and enjoying some delicious food it was time to dance! They had two couples dance traditional Ethiopian dances, about five of them. What beautiful dances! At the end they welcomed all the children on stage to dance and it brought smiles to our faces see all these children dancing in their traditional outfits having a blast. In talking with other adoptive families we all expressed how thankful we were to have a connection to the Ethiopian community, only contributing and expanding the already large adoption network in Portland.

It was truly a memorable and touching event! We can't wait to return next year with our daughter, making it a true family event.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman

**Thank you Sabrina for these great pictures**

Friday, January 7, 2011

Melkam Ghena... Melkin Yelidet Beaal...Merry Christmas!

January 7th is Christmas day in Ethiopia, the holiday of Genna. The word Genna is used interchangeably with the word Christmas, to mean the birth of Jesus Christ (leddat). Traditionally the day before Genna people fast and then stay up until early morning mass at 4:00 in the morning. Most Ethiopians will dress in a traditional Shamma, a thin white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends (usually green, yellow and red). The people receive candles as they enter their church to attend mass, which can last up to three hours. After lighting the candles, everyone walks around the church three times, then they all remain in the church until the service is complete.

Unlike how we celebrate Christmas in the US, Genna isn't traditionally a gift giving holiday. Besides the religious aspects, people look forward to the traditional feasts and games. The feasts consist of wat (thick, spicy stew of vegetables and/or meat) and injera (spongy bread). A hockey type game, Genna (the same name as the holiday), is played with a curved stick and round wooden ball (usually made from locally grown trees), is played by the men and boys.

This weekend we plan to attend an Ethiopian Christmas party with the Ethiopian community and other adoptive families! Right now our daughter is celebrating her first Christmas in Ethiopia without us, but we are looking forward to spending BOTH Christmas celebrations ALL together next year.

Melkam Gena!

***Genna can also be referred to as Gena***

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We can't believe it is already 2011! This time last year we were just submitting our application to the adoption agency. We are still speechless and filled with excitement with the fact that we have already seen our daughter's beautiful face.

Fun fact: According to the Ethiopian calendar it is only 2003, which is based on the Coptic calendar. Whether it is 2011 or 2003, we are so happy to be on this Journey of Love!

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~ Steve Jobs