In the city of Axum in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, there is an obelisk with quite a history. Simply called "The Obelisk of Axum," this 1,700 year-old, 78 foot work weighs nearly 160 tons and features two false doors as well as numerous decorations resembling windows on all sides.

The obelisk, or "stele," was believed to be carved and erected during the 4th century in the Kingdom of Aksum.

In 1935, Italian soldiers discovered the obelisk. In 1937 it was taken to Rome by the Fascist Regime as a commemoration to the conquest of Ethiopia.

After World War II, in a 1947 UN agreement, Italy agreed to return the obelisk to Ethiopia. However, action wasn't taken until 2003. Many logistical obstacles arose during this time: the runway at the Axum Airport was considered too short for the cargo planes needed to transport the obelisk (which had been cut into three large pieces), the roads and bridges between Axum and Addis Ababa were considered inadequate for this sort of transportation, and access through the nearby Eritrean port of Massawa, which is how the Italians originally transported the obelisk out of the country, was impossible due to the strained state of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Eventually, the runway at Axum was upgraded and the three large pieces returned to Ethiopia in April of 2005, nearly 70 years after leaving the country. Reassembly began in June of 2008 and the monument was resurrected in its original home and unveiled on September 4, 2008.


The Obelisk of Axum in Rome in 2002, before its return to Ethiopia.
Pictured above is Giorgio Croci, the engineer behind the reassembly of the obelisk.
He has been viewed as a hero by many Ethiopians.
Above is the obelisk during its state of reconstruction in 2008.
We might not be able to afford adoption, but we aren't the only ones who are doing it anyway.
When we applied to adopt from Ethiopia, even the $250 application fee was a big deal.  We didn't have the thousands of dollars we would need to submit our dossier or the thousands more to accept a referral.  Not to mention the money needed for the trip, which quickly turned into two trips. 

We didn't know where the money was going to come from.  We assumed at some point we would need a bank loan, but we jumped in and started anyway.

When people tell me that they would adopt, but they just can't afford it, I laugh and say, "Yeah, we can't afford it either!"

By cutting back on our expenses, having a raffle, getting a Both Hands grant, cutting back on expenses some more, receiving a few very generous donations, a Hand in Hand matching grant, two yard sales, and cutting back even more... we've made it this far without a loan.  And we haven't had to sacrifice our emergency savings or retirement.  With the two grants, we'll be able to pay for our referral acceptance. 
Our Both Hands Video

At this moment we have no idea where the money for the two trips will come from.  Maybe that will have to come from a loan.  Maybe not. 

Through our adoption we have become more and more aware of the needs of others.  And so, even though we are saving for our own adoption, we have given more to others this year than in any other year. 

I am going to start a weekly blog post about affording adoption, because I know that the majority of adoptive families can't afford it and are doing it anyway. 

I want to share some of the knowledge we've accumulated along the way.  As well as some of the great ideas I've picked up from our adoption friends.  And also share some of the ways that we have been able to give, while still saving.

I will leave you with a link to one of the most inspirational adoptive moms I know.  Su Soutter teaches classes on couponing and sells her own beautiful artwork (like the one she made for us below) to raise money for their adoption.