This time last year we were busy finishing up the last minute details of our dossier.  One of the last things I did were our photo pages. 
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The photo pages had some strict rules as to what had to be on each page.  Back then I was a newbie on the YahooGroup.  (Not the compulsive crazy checking it 100 times a day, like I am now.)  Three nice families who didn't know me at all offered to send me their photo pages as an example.  The Druckenmillers, the Munns, and the Joneses.  Since then we've gotten to know all three families well.  Carmen Druckenmiller just did a Pampered Chef Party for me.  We met the Munns in Columbus with their daughter Evelyn. 
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Adoption friends and kids swinging in Columbus, Indiana.
Several families that we've gotten to know through the YahooGroup, met in person, or shipped donations to, are currently in Ethiopia meeting their children for court or picking up their children to come home.  The Seevers have some great pictures of the trip on their blog: http://myfourwords.blogspot.com/

For those who may not realize it, the pictures of the couples looking off camera crying and smiling, those are the pictures of the first time they are seeing their children.  They can't post pictures of their children online until after they have passed court.  Every time I see those pictures I wonder what Logan and I will look like in that moment and who will be with us to take our picture?
 
 
Of the estimated 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia, only a few thousand will be adopted internationally each year.  One organization, KIDMIA, is working inside Ethiopia to find Ethiopian families for Ethiopian children.  Adoption of an unrelated child is not common in the Ethiopian cultureSo KIDMIA works with churches to promote domestic adoption to Ethiopian Christians. 

You can read more about KIDMIA in this recent article:
Organization Pushing for Local Adoptions in Ethiopia
- by Meron Tekleberhan

Or visit their website: www.KIDMIA.org
 
 
WORLD magazine has an article about Ethiopian adoption this month.  They touch on the need, the slowdown and corruption.  It's a great resource for anyone wondering just what is going on over there right now.  Our agency AWAA is mentioned specifically... as one agency doing things the right way.  YAY for them! 

Read the article here:

http://www.worldmag.com/articles/18357
 
 
We had one of our monthly conference calls today.  Here are the highlights:
  • Seven families have passed court so far in July and MOWCYA is currently writing about 15 letters a day.
  • Some orphanages in southern Ethiopia have been closed by the government.  None of these are orphanages working with AWAA. 
  • Recent trends show a wait time between referral and passing court to be 12 to 16 weeks.  From passing court to clearing embassy (coming home) another 4 to 8 weeks.
  • Courts still plan to close August 7th and reopen at the end of September or early October.  MOWCYA will remain open during the court closure.
  • The drought is effecting areas of Ethiopia closest to Somalia.
  • Referrals will continue to be given out during the court closure until all of the children in the transition home have been referred to families.  There could be a time near the end of the court closures when referrals slow down because all of the children will have been referred to families and no new children will be coming in until those children go home.
So there is hope that we will still receive our referral in the next few months.  We are currently tied for #5 (so we might be #7) on the unofficial waiting list.  We've been tied for #4 since March 31st until we recently moved down the list, because another family ahead of us changed their request.

As far as when we will receive our referral, we feel about as optimistic as River at the carnival.
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Newly arrived refugees at Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya. UNICEF/Riccardo Gangale

The news coming out of Africa these past few days is hard to read.  Southern Ethiopia and the surrounding countries are experiencing a drought that could possibly become the worst in 60 years. 

Click on the news story to read:

The West Must Start Heeding Early Famine Warnings


Ethiopia: The Great Trek for Water in the South

Eastern Africa: Half a Million Children "At Risk"

 
 
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Sizes and Prices
Shirts are printed on Jerzees Heavyweight Blend
50% cotton/50% polyester.  Sizes fit true to size and do not shrink.

Adult Sizes
Small - Large $18
XLarge $20
XXLarge $22


Child Sizes $18
2-4  (youth extra small)
6-8   (youth small)
10-12  (youth medium)
                                                                     14-16  (youth large)

We prefer the black font on a white t-shirt, but if you are interested in a different colored shirt or long sleeves, let us know and we will see if it can be done!  We will accept orders from Monday, July 18th until Friday, July 29th.  Shirts will be printed locally and shipped quickly.  We ask for a $2 donation for shipping.

To order:  Please send an email BrandyDWade(at)gmail(dot)com

Would you like to WIN a shirt?  Promote our shirt sale through email, Facebook, or your own blog and let us know by leaving a comment on this post.  We will draw a winner on Friday, July 29th (Brandy's birthday! woo hoo!). 
 
 
I am finally reading Beneath the Lion's Gaze, a book about revolution in Ethiopia.  Logan read it a few months ago.  So far it is great. 

On page 10 the author references an Ethiopian dance style called Eskesta...

"His mother had taught him to dance eskesta, had spent hours and days with him in front of a mirror making him practice the controlled shiver of shoulders and torso that made up the traditional Ethiopian dance.  The body has to move when the heart doesn't think it can, she'd said.  She lifted up his arm, clenched his fist around an imaginary weapon, and straightened his back.  My father danced before going to battle; the heart follows the body.  Dance with all your might, dance.  She'd burst into laughter, clapping enthusiastically to Dawit's awkward attempts to move as fast as she was.  You're like a butterfly, he told her, breathless from exertion.  He'd reached out and laid a hand on her fluttering shoulders."

There are a lot of YouTube videos of Eskesta, but this one- taken on someone's cellphone- is amazing.  This is Melaku Belay dancing at Fendika Azmari Bet in Addis Ababa.  This video makes me wish I was there.  After some researching I found one site that says they perform every other Friday night in Addis AbabaThis is something I would love to experience while we're there.
 
 
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Our Pampered Chef Show will end Friday, July 22nd.  Catalog orders and checks will have to be to me by Wednesday, July 20th. 

Thanks to everyone who has ordered so far!

A portion of each sale goes toward our adoption expenses.


To shop online:
  1. To shop go to  http://www.pamperedchef.biz/DrucksKitchen.  
  2. Click on "Shop Online" on the left hand side.
  3. Type "Brandy" in the Host's First Name box and click search.
  4. Click on "Wade Adoption"
  5. Start Shopping!


Tote Bag Update
We still have two tote bags available.  Send me an email BrandyDWade(at)gmail.com if you are interested!
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$30 Red, yellow, blue, green and gold acrylic paint on canvas tote bag with water bottle pocket.
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$15 Black acrylic paint on canvas tote bag with water bottle pocket.
 
 
You know that saying, “If we knew then what we know now?”

Thank God in February of last year we did not know what we know now.

If someone had sat us down and told us, “In March, they’re going to change the rules and you’ll have to make two trips to Ethiopia, and that means that you’ll have to meet her and then leave her. And this process is going to take at least twice as long and cost more than you think it will.  Oh, and you know how you’re losing your hearing in that left ear? That’s a brain tumor, but you’ll find out about that next year.”

If we had known… we would have stopped.

But God doesn’t give the details when He has a plan for you. And I thank Him for that.

So here we are, having made it through this far. Still waiting. Part of me wants to cry and stomp my feet and say “this isn’t what we signed up for!” Especially toward the end of the week. So many weeks have gone by without any referrals given to anyone. We haven’t moved up the unofficial list since March.

But deep down I know that as the adoptive parent, I am on the receiving end of this deal.  Before we receive our referral, there are a few things we know will have already happened to our daughter.  She will have been born (and we will have missed that).  One or both of her parents will have passed away. She will have moved from her family, to an orphanage, to the transition home.

That is a lot of trauma and turmoil for someone under 9 months old.

We know that her parents are in such a situation that they aren’t able to raise her as their own. What could that situation be? Do they have AIDS, but no medication? Or are they starving? What are their days like? Are they missing her right now?

I look at my life, and here I sit with a computer, air-conditioning, a television and a roof over my head. What right do I have to be upset that this hasn't gone according to plan? All I have to do is wait to be blessed with a daughter.

The tragedy isn’t mine. It is theirs. If there were something I could do to stop it from happening, I would. If I knew who they were and I could somehow support them and take care of them I would. But how?

All I can do is take this child and do my best with her.  Try to take on her tragedy as if it were my own and fix what I can. Teach her about her country and her first family. Raise her to respect and honor them.  And maybe someday, together, we can make a difference for someone else.

But for now… we will wait.  Being patient is the least we can do.


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Logan and I have made four new tote bags.  If you are interested, please send an email to BrandyDWade(at)gmail.com.  As always, the proceeds will go toward our adoption travel expenses!  Thank  you!
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$30 Splatter painted with acrylic paint in blue, green, yellow, red and gold on canvas bag with water bottle pocket.
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$30 Splatter painted with acrylic in blue, green, yellow, red and gold on canvas bag with water bottle pocket. Sorry! This one already sold!
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$15 We have two of these. Black acrylic paint on canvas bag with water bottle holder.
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We have a connection at Children's HopeChest in Ethiopia that will take new or gently used children and teen shoes. 

"They can use the new shoes or shoes in really good condition.  The staff in Ethiopia asked not to send specialty shoes (like dance shoes or cleats) but just new or barely used shoes that are sturdy and will last a long time - like tennis shoes and sturdy sandals.  They also requested just children's sizes for ages toddler - teen."

We have a few shoes that fit this description, but we could use many more!  If you're able to donate, please get in touch with me!  Thank you!