We had so much fun working on the house on Saturday.  We just want to say thanks to all of you who helped us along the way.  Thank you for mailing letters for us and for taking your time and energy to work on the house.  We are so grateful to all of you.  We especially want to thank Tony Kluesner for going so far above and beyond what we asked of him. 

Thanks to all of you who have already donated.  We appreciate all of your support.  Thank you so much! 
Jo Russell from Linton, Indiana!

Congratulations, Jo!  Thanks again to you and everyone who has donated and supported us throughout this adventure! 

We were able to raise $1500!  This will go a long way toward covering our expenses when we receive our referral.  Thank you all so much.
Your odds are 1 in 68! 
Certainly the best chance you'll ever have to win an iPad for $10! It's hard to believe that someone is actually going to win this thing at the end of the week!

You can also help us by forwarding this link on Facebook or with an email.

Video of a traditional song and dance from the Ethiopian Celebration at Grace Ethiopian Church in Indianapolis. 
I wanted to share this excellent blog post from a family who just got home from their first trip to Ethiopia for court.  She broke down the events of each day of their trip which I found very helpful!

Also, she gives a detailed update about KVI Orphanage which I wrote about last week.  

Last night, we attended the Ethiopian Cultural Festival at the Indianapolis Grace Ethiopian Church (http://www.ethioindy.com/).  They performed traditional Ethiopian songs and dance, served an Ethiopian meal, and had a question and answer session.  There were many adoptive families and children in attendance.  We had an amazing time.  We are so thankful that this church is willing to put together these events to share their culture with the rest of us.  It was a really magical evening.
A group photo of all of the American World families we met.  From left to right:  The Herwehes and one of their three daughters (they have a referral for an infant boy and will travel for court in January),  the Browns (number one on the waiting list for an infant boy), The Coopers (DTE 8/19/10, from Bloomfield), The McDaniels and their five children, Us, Jenny Thomas and two of her seven children (on the waiting list for two children), The Williams (traveling for court Dec. 23rd), Katie Murray and her daughter (have a referral for an infant girl, but no court date yet), on the floor the Moslers and their son Will who came home in March (on the waiting list for an infant boy).

Ethiopia Today


Over the past year, Logan and I have learned so much about orphans and the rest of the world.  We've been changed by what we've seen and heard.  It's changed our perspective of the world and what is important.  Last night, Angi Cooper made an excellent post on her blog called The Cost of Adoption vs. The Cost of a Child's Life.  I'll share that with you in a minute.

First, I want to say that the number one story on the news this morning is a stranded cruise ship.  The Today Show reported that the passengers, stranded for two days, are surviving on only Spam and Pop-Tarts.  Families are worried about their loved ones on board. 


About two weeks ago, Logan and I woke up and checked the Yahoo Group for our adoption agency and found two messages regarding KVI, one of the four orphanages that work with our adoption agency.  There is a chance that our daughter will come from this orphanage, before being moved to the Transition Home.  This is what the families wrote after visiting:

Hey, everyone-
We (the five families in Ethiopia for court right now) visited KVI orphanage today.   We all walked away with broken hearts, stunned at the reality of life for the kids there.

They do not have any diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. An orphanage full
of babies and toddlers, and there are no diapers. They have rags and ripped
pieces of sheets that the wrap around their bottoms, and keep them in place with
onesie t-shirts. Every single baby we held today was soaking wet (or worse),
their entire outfit. They lay on the floor, soaking wet, and get changed on the
floor...where they all crawl around and play with the few toys that they have.
In addition, they had no mattresses in many of the cribs. Babies sleeping on a
the wooden bottom of a crib. I don't know that I would have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

So...we pooled our money and they helped us find a place that sells crib
mattresses. All well and good...except for the fact that they are NOT vinyl
covered mattresses like we get at home. Cloth covers.

So, while it's great that they at least have crib mattresses, they're going to
be ruined in short order with none of the babies having diapers. We've searched
high and low, and cannot find any waterproof crib pads here in Addis.

CAN THE FAMILIES THAT ARE TRAVELING FOR COURT THIS COMING WEEK PLEASE BRING AS MANY WATERPROOF CRIB PADS AS POSSIBLE? The best would be the kind that can just be wiped clean, and if possible have the fitted sheet edges to wrap around. But anything waterproof will work! Even if they have the cotton top over vinyl, if we have enough of them at least they can be changed.

The other obvious need is diapers. Even cloth diapers and plastic pants to go

over would work. Just something.

We're finding that yes, the Transition Home is an orphanage. There are still

conditions there that are hard, as parents, to see. But, it's the Hilton of
orphanages. We would just recommend, based on what we saw here today, that you split your donations up...if you bring one tote/suitcase of donations for the
TH, bring one or two more for KVI and Kids Care orphanage. Just our two cents!
Thanks for the help with crib pads and diapers for KVI!

Hi all,
We are here in Ethiopia for court. We visited 2 orphanages today and one broke our hearts and needs URGENT help!!!! KVI orphanage. There were no crib mattresses in the cribs and no babies had on diapers! Pieces of ripped up Sheets in the place of diapers!!! we were so disturbed that we went out and bought 6 crib mattresses for KVI and delivered them. Problem is they are NOT plastic covered so they will get ruined quickly! Babies are soaking wet because of no diapers. We all bring donations for the TH and yes they need stuff but take as MUCH as possible to KVI!!! Please traveling families try to bring this trip if you can!! these are their urgent needs: PLASTIC CRIB COVERS, CRIB SHEETS,

This is the list they gave us: Bed sheets twin and crib bath towels and hand towels blankets for toddlers crocs clothes for toddlers( a definite) tooth brushes/toothpaste kids DVDs Tylenol antibiotic creme PLEASE  tell all traveling soon!!! I am not saying do not give to TH(Transition home) because they take good care of our kids and do so because of our donations but KVI is in major need!! Paige and all the families in ET right now
This is what is going on in Ethiopia right now.  Today.  Yet, the lead story on the news is a stranded cruise ship.  If you weren't looking, you may think that it was the worst thing going on in the world.  For some reason, the people with the power, the connections and the cameras aren't in Ethiopia.  They aren't in the orphanages in Eastern Europe.  They are flying in helicopters around a cruise ship that's stranded off the coast of San Diego.

The orphanages aren't in this shape because they are run by bad people.  The people who open the orphanages do it out of the goodness of their hearts.  There are no government run orphanages in Ethiopia and no government assistance for those brave enough to open one.  There aren't enough orphanages, so the few that they have, are overrun with too many children.  There is no money, no supplies, and not enough adults to care for the children.  This is the best that they can do.  This is where our daughter is coming from. 

When people ask us why we are adopting, we give a simple, polite answer, because it's impossible to paint a picture clear enough to explain to a person in a normal conversation that we are adopting because there are over 100 million orphans in the world and some of them are babies without diapers sleeping in cribs without mattresses. 

Here is a link to Angi's post:

Update to this post:  We have had several people offer to make donations to the KVI orphanage.  I am trying to find someone who is traveling soon who could take our donations with them.  Logan and I will certainly be taking as much as we can with us when it is our time to travel.  For now, if you have anything that you would like to donate, give it to us and we will start a stockpile until we can find someone to take it.  I will keep everyone updated. We could especially use diapers, cloth diapers and plastic diaper covers will last longer, plastic/vinyl crib mattress covers, crib sheets, clothes and pajamas for babies and kids of all ages, diaper rash cream, Tylenol or Motrin, teething medicine, small toys, crocs or flip flops, toothbrushes, toothpaste.  Anything.  You might also keep in mind the men and women who are kind enough to work in the orphanages and the things that they may need. 
Even though our family is adopting a "healthy" infant, we've learned a lot about HIV/AIDS along the way.  The disease is one of the main causes of orphaned children in Ethiopia.  Before we started this process we didn't realize just how very, very little we knew about HIV.  A lot of what we've learned has surprised us. 

Here is a post from the blog of Bryan and Laura Unruh a family pursuing an HIV+ adoption...

HIV Facts and Myths

"Don't spend time worrying about weird and obscure ways of transmitting the virus. The simple fact is that if no one shared needles and everyone wore condoms, the HIV epidemic would disappear." - Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and it is the virus that if left untreated, can progress and develop into AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and occurs when HIV advances and weakens the immune system to the point that the body can no longer fight off illness and infections.

There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, however, the medications that are now available to treat HIV are highly effective. HIV is now considered a chronic yet manageable condition in the United States and in other countries where treatment is readily available. Children who receive the proper treatment and medications are expected to live well into adulthood and have close to normal or normal life expectancies, and many people are now living with HIV for indefinite periods of time without developing AIDS.

While the term "HIV+ child" usually makes people imagine a child that is very sickly, the reality is that children who are HIV+ and are receiving the medications, look just like any other child.

When HIV+ children are receiving proper care and are on their medications (when needed), they enjoy very good health and do not need to be isolated from other children or be treated differently.

HIV+ children are NOT a risk to people around them, as HIV can NOT be spread through causal contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other causal way.

"In the past 16 years (since the introduction of life saving ARV medications for people with HIV) there has not been one single case of accidental transmission of the virus, even among household members who eat, drink, play, and even bleed together sometimes!

-Center for Disease Control"

It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breast milk and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). Children who are HIV+ can share food, drink, bath tubs, swimming pools, towels, beds, toys and all other household items with their family members and friends without risk. HIV is not transmitted through urine, stool, snot, tears or sweat.

While it is recommended and wise to handle the blood of an HIV+ child with care and use universal precautions, it is also helpful to know that the risk of transmitting HIV through a bloody nose or skinned knee is very, very minimal. This is especially true for a child that is on HIV medications, because the medications can reduce the amount of HIV in a person's system to the point that the HIV is considered "undetectable", meaning there is only a very tiny amount of virus in the person's system.

Fore more detailed information you can visit:
http://www.thebody.com/content/whatis/art30024.html#q15 or

Here is a family from Nashville, TN who started this process about the same time we did, but they are already home with their son. 
We have some really wonderful crafts for our booth at the Holiday Bazaar.  We are selling handmade items for donations toward our adoption.  We'll have jewelry, afghans, wreaths, paintings and prints, a quilt and lots more! 

We'll have three versions of this painting by Logan and prints.  It's called "Our Ethiopian Daughter", of course. If you'd like to see the other two versions or purchase an original or a print, just leave a comment or send me an email.

We are having a silent auction for this beautiful quilt made by Lori.  If you would like to put in a bid for the auction, just leave a comment or send me an email.  I can also send more pictures for those who are interested.