Tuesday, June 3, 2008
One of the mom's from our agency was able to get into contact with the lady who is the head of the humanitarian aid for Village of Hope- http://www.villageofhope-ethiopia.org/in Shashemene. She was checking on "what" could be done to help and how the drought is affecting the orphanage and the children that are there. Here is a copy of the letter. Our little agency has already raised quite a bit of money to go towards this generator. Please pray that the rains will come and that the generator will be able to help thousands...
You are so wonderful to think to help. Right now, the effect we are
realizing from the drought is that the government is turning the
electricity off every day except for one hour. The country's
electricity is water-powered all over & this is one way they are
conserving. Our huge concern is that now many of the people are
being forced to go back to the filthy river for their water. Our
church put in a beautiful, profusely producing well about two
and a half years ago, about 200 meters deep, with ample water. Now,
though, there is no electricity to allow the pump to be on very
long. And all that water is available! And not being used.
We are looking into buying a generator for the compound. If we had
a generator, we would be able to still have electricity for our High
Risk kids and medical clinic in our compound, plus give clean water
to all of the villagers who have finally gotten rid of the parasites
and other problems they lived with for generations! It was so
wonderful to see how improved their health and general cleanliness
was when the well was installed, and now I shudder to realize the
disease that is returning slowly but surely, with not much clean
water available again. A generator will cost about $5,000 and Lon &
I are hoping to get one soon. It would be an absolute blessing to
16,000 people if we could do this! Any amount will help us and be
so appreciated. I realize this is a lot of money, but without clean
water, the work we are accomplishing will be set back years!
If you or any of your friends could help in any way, no matter how
small, it would be wonderful. Please have any checks made to
Village of Hope, with "generator" in the "for" line. I will send a
If you would like to donate for the
generator just send the check directly :
2880 E. 1200 S.
Heber City, Utah 84032
If you donated on the website it will not all go to the generator.
So sending the check is best.
We wanted you all to know that we arrived home around 8 pm on Friday night. We don't know how Rich did it as every seat on every flight was full, but we were so grateful for a seat we didn't care if we sat in the aisle. We were greeted at the airport by Tom, Addie, Noah, Molly, Mom (a suprise that she flew in early from her reading conference), Lynde, Makenna, Max , and the KOIN 6 news crew. We had a long couple of days of flight, but the boys did great. It was so great to step off that plane into everyone's arms!! Dad figured that we had been up for 52 hours by the time we arrived. We got home about 11:30 pm without all of our luggage. Too bad we had packed everything, even the toothbrushes!! My bed has never felt more wonderful and I couldn't believe how big and beautiful and clean and wonderful my house was. Addie a had done a great job cleaning and had fresh flowers on the table and some friends had stopped by with balloons and a big WELOME HOME banner (no I didn't spell it wrong). It was so good to be home. The boys recognized their room and we were all tucked into bed by midnight.
Saturday morning we hit it running with a soccer game and then a trip to Portland on Sunday for Mother's Day and Phil and Hudson's baptism. We were so happy to be all together for Mother's Day. And this weekend is the Scio Lamb Fair, so we will be busy with the 4H booth, parade float decorating, parade, Sheepskin Review play that Addie is in , and Noah's choir performance. It will be the boys first chance at meeting everyone.
The boys are doing great. They have both been sick, but the doctor thinks that it is mostly just coping, not flu. They have been sleeping alot and I'm sure hoping that they will just wake up from this dream. They keep asking if they are going back everytime we get in the car. They really had a nice place to live at the orphanage, with people who took good care of them. It isnt family and so many of the things that they will now have, but their orphanage doesn't hold any negative memories for them, just friends and food that they are now missing. Language and food are the 2 biggest adjustments right now... trying to find food that they will eat (not including coke and cake- which are the only 2 foods that Bis wants to eat right now) has been difficult at best.
The kids are all doing good at adjusting to their new brothers!! The big kids were so happy to see them again and Molly has done super!! She did request that we swap them for 2 sisters during 1 meltdown, but other than that she is enjoying her role as the big sis. I don't get out of her sight much, but she has done really well.
All in all we are doing good and getting settled in on our timezone. 3pm is tough... that is the middle of the night for us... but getting easier each day. We are so thankful to all of our friends and family who worked so hard during the time I was away... everyone really just pulled together!!
I'll try and post some pictures now that my USB cable has come home.
Thanks so much for reading and praying,
The Name Game April 08, 2008
Welcome to the name game...
We have decided to KEEP the boys given names... Bisrat (pronounced Bisrot) and Yordanos (pronounced Yourdawnos). They were given these names by their birthparents, selected for a certain meaning. These names are precious to them and to us and will be the only part of their little lives that will stay the same- this will be the only part of Ethiopia (other than their twin) that they have on a daily basis. We realize that they are not common names or may be a bit difficult to pronounce or remember- you have all worked so hard to remember who was Eli and who was Sam. We will give them Elijah and Samuel as middle names. At some point down the road they can decided to go by Eli and Sam if they choose. For now we will call them Bis and Yordi (which is what we have called them from day 1). We love their names and what they represent.
God is so amazing- His goodness surprises me everytime. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I continually am...
We got a phone call early this morning- I hadn't even made it out to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. Grace, from our agency called- I saw it on caller ID, but my brain was still too uncaffeinated to process WHY she was calling. She said she was calling about our court date, which thrilled me since we weren't expecting to hear anything until our director returned from Ethiopia later this week. She said not only did we have a court date, but that we had actually PASSED court this morning. No one knew about it due to some communication problem somewhere... Drum Roll Please: we are now officially, legally the parents to Bisrat and Yordanos Thompson. We leave for Africa on Thursday April 17. As you can imagine after the shock wore off and I ran through the house trying to figure out which end was up I spent most of the morning confirming airline flights, hotel reservations, and panicking at all that there is still to do... car seats to purchase, bookcase still needed, and Oh my goodness I am an emotional wreck because I still haven't bought any underwear for the boys...
We are so thankful that God continues to show us that HE is in control of this adoption and has been from the beginning of time... There is no other way to explain this whole process than it is TOTALLY a God thing... I am nearly speechless and overwhelmed by this... we "know" that He knows all the hairs on our heads, but he really really does, and he cares so much for 2 little boys in Africa that he made all of this happen...
Amazing God details in all of this:
* We KNEW that there was no way to travel in April- given where dates were coming out of Ethiopia at and with the new timelines. We told everyone we were planning on traveling in May, but praying for a miracle (because that is what it would take) in order to travel in April.
* In order to travel in April/May it needed to be certain weeks due to already scheduled commitments here- not only do we get to travel one of our "open" weeks, we are home with time to spare...
* Addie said early on she thought April 20 would be a good birthdate for the boys - our "Gotcha day" will be April 20
* The date we passed court is March 10, 2008. On March 10, 2005 we stepped off the plane in Portland, OR and Molly became a United State's Citizen.
* We are traveling with 3 other families from our same agency. One of those families is an Pacific NW family- the other family is a family that adopted a little girl from China using the same agency as we did. We have known of each other for years- they traveled just 1 month before us. Before we began the Ethiopian process we got in touch and we both ended up using HOPE and are going to be traveling together- both of us to pick up our 3 year old boys!!!
Coincidences...??? I DONT THINK SO!!!
Enjoy the pictures below... we now can post pictures of OUR SONS!!
Dossier January 31, 2008
In adoption there is a lot of reference to the "DOSSIER". Since this is such a huge source of emotional stress I thought I would explain what is involved. We have decided that dossier is French for "boatload of paperwork". Each country requires a dossier from an adoptive family- what is required is up to each country. Our Chinese dossier was VERY long, specific and exact. If middle initials were used for 1 document then all documents must contain middle initials. I believe we had 25 documents for our Chinese dossier. The Ethiopian dossier was much simpler, yet in its simplicity caused much more stress for me (the main document gatherer) as I had a hard time "letting go" of the perfectionism demanded by the previous Chinese dossier I had done. Now that the paperchase is over and our dossier is safely delivered to the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (those that oversee adoptions) I can take a deep breath and acutally record what was needed for this adoption process.
All document have to be original copies. If an original is not possible then a 2nd paper has to be attached and notarized that is is a copy of an original. All documents are notarized - we did this at Scio City Hall, where they didn't charge a single fee, and very nicely signed and stamped every document we had. After all documents are notarized they are then taken to the Secretary of State Office (in Salem) where they are then certified. They charge you $10/document to put a fancy gold seal on your document and say that the person who notarized your document is licensed to do so. Then all documents are mailed to the Assistant Stork in Washington DC. She varifyies that all documents that are needed are there and then she takes them to the Department of State. They charge you a fee to have all documents made into 1 document "the dossier" and to put a fancy stamp on it saying that the USA recognizes all the state certificates. Then the Assistant Stork takes your dossier to the Ethiopian Embassy, where they look through it and make sure that all the documents needed are indeed there and then they charge you a fee to have a fancy stamp put on the dossier stating that they accept it and that they recognize the Authentications of the USA , and the state , and the local notary. Whew!!! When this is all done it is then sent to Ethiopia where I am sure they charge more fees and put more fancy stamps on it...
So... what is in an Ethiopian Dossier you ask???? Well...
Cover page- list everything in your dossier
Homestudy- This is huge. You have 4 visits from a social worker to discuss all aspects of your life. We each had to write an autobiography that ended up being about 40 pages long!! Our SW was great!!
Homestudy Agency license
Social Worker's licence
Birth Certificates or copy of Passport
Local Police Clearance letter
FBI Child Abuse Clearance letter
Employment Verification Letter
Medical reports and letters from Doctor
Personal letter as to why you want to adopt from Ethiopia
3 reference letters from friends
Post Placement Agreement
License of Adoption Agency
Letter from Bank
Power of Attorney to allow this child to be adopted in your name
Most countries require that you have received you I-171 ( this is the letter issued to you after you have filed you I-600A- orphan petition, which gives you permission from the USA to adopt internationally) before you submit your dossier. Ethiopia only requires that you have it when you travel. What this means is that it saves about 3 months wait off your timeline. We are currently waiting for our I-171 while our dossier is in Ethiopia. This is a huge time saver.
Currently, our dossier is in Ethiopia being translated. We hope to hear in the next couple of weeks when our court date is. We are also waiting on our I- 171 from the US government, giving us permission to adopt. We did ask for an expedited I-171 due to the fact that we will have a court date soon. Please pray that we will hear soon on both of these items.
What we do while we wait February 18, 2008
So, WHAT do you do while you wait...
1. set up the room and new beds- done
2. SHOP- ongoing
3. Eat Ethiopian food. We went to Portland and met Mom, Dad, Uncle John, Aunt Lynde, Hayden, Kyle ,Makenna, and Max and all went to the Queen of Sheba for Ethiopian food. It was a little hole in the wall (to say the least). Some of us (you know who you are) thought we might get sick and die, or worse...
What we ate: a vegetarian sampling which included
Atakilt Alich (yummy)- veggies and potatoes in Alicha spice
Tsebhhi Haamli (not so much a favorite)-mustard
Kik Wet - slit pea stew with warm spices
Kik Alicha- yellow split pea stew in Alicha spice
Misr Wet (yum)- Lentil stew in warm spices
Shiro Wet (a new family favorite)- chickpea flour
ground with spices
Shimbra Assa- chickpea cracker stew
Tsebhi Kintti Shara - mushroom stew
Atakilt Kilike Alicha- many vegetable dish
Misr Bamia Wet- lentil and okra stew
We also 2 meat dishes and dad ordered a very spicy extra meat dish:
Zilzl Tibs Siga- Very spicy beef sauteed in special hot sauce (this one haunted me for HOURS, but it was good!)
Alicha Tibs- beef sauteed in Alicha spice
Alicha Kinti- Shara Derho Tibsi- muchroom and chicken sauteed in mild Alicha spice ( the kids ALL loved this one)
Ethiopian food is served on a large basket platter in the center of the table. Everyone eats from the same plate. No silverware is used. Under all the food is a thin pancake type bread called Injera. This is used to scoop up the food. Injera is made from Teff grain and is very high in iron and protein. It is the staple of all Ethiopian diets. I don't think we will starve while in Ethiopia, but we will certainly need to take a large quantity of Tums with us. Dad, Tom and I will do fine, Noah seems to have liked it, and well, lets just say that Mom, Addie and Hayden will be stocking up on granola bars before we go!!
4. When all of the above have been done, then you clean out every closet and drawer in the house!! I am over half way done and it is a really good feeling to be even more organized than I was to begin. If the wait carries on much longer we may be in trouble as Addie has now begun to label things.
We solicit your prayers December 11, 2007
" Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil 4:6
We are so excited to share our big news with all of you and we hope that you will be able to share in our joy with us. We would like to ask that you all keep us in your daily prayers. These are a few specific prayer requests we have:
* Please pray for our family as we get ready to bring the twins home and travel to Ethiopia.
* Please be praying for all of the adjustments that we will have as we add toddlers to our family- they are old enough to know what they have lost- we expect grieving, anger, language issues and barriers and a whole host of other things.
* Please pray that God will continue to provide for this adoption financially- we have a much shorter time frame than originally expected and 1 additional child.
* Please pray that we will be able to gather all the relief supplies that we hope to be able to deliver to the orphanage. We will be creating a list of items that are needed in case anyone wants to get involved.
* Please be praying for our entire family as we prepare to become even more "conspicuous" and that while people may not agree with our decision that they respect our decision.
* Please be praying that God will keep the boys healthy and safe. The reality is that death from malnutrition and disease is a very present factor in everyday life in Ethiopia.
* Please pray that we continue to honor God in the adoption of Bis and Yordi. This is a story of how HE has done GREAT THINGS.
Thank you all so much for reading, praying and for your support... we will continue to keep you posted.
We have gotten the bunkbeds that will go into Noah's room- the BOYS room!! The orange curtain and bedspreads are ordered. It was a family project to assemble them (mostly we just watched Tom assemble and we helped lift). I told Tom most dads assemble the crib first and not bunkbeds... oh well, we don't do much the traditional way!!
Bis and Yordi December 11, 2007
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 138:13-16
Here is what we know about the boys. We are hoping to have more information about them in the next month.
Bis and Yordi are twins- we were told identical, but from the pictures we have we assume that got messed up in the translation. They are age 3-4 with no know birthdates. They are from rural Ethiopia where there is no calendar used. They will be assigned a birthdate in Ethiopia for their paperwork. We are guessing they are IN their 4th year of life, which would make them 3. They are tiny, which is very typical. Bisrat is 37inches tall and weighs 31 lbs. Yordi is 35 inches tall and weighs 27 lbs. For comparison sake: Molly is 41 inches tall and weighs 39 lbs. Max (whose info I snuck from his mom- hope she forgives me) is approx 37 inches tall and weighs 32 lbs.
The boys currently live in an orphanage in Addis Ababa and speak Amharic. They were relinquished by their parents who were no longer able to care for them or feed them . They relinquished them together, rather than try to keep one, so that they could grow up and have each other. This is exciting news for us as this means they have known the love and bond of a family while they were young and while tough for them, ultimately means that they will not suffer from the serious issues that you see in long term institutionalization.
We have been able to send them a care package via another adoptive family and are waiting for pictures and information when they return. We will update this site as we get more information.