The days on the long road of one families Ethiopian Adoption

This blog started out as a way to record the twists, turns, highs and lows in my families journey to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. Now our children are home and we have just finished celebrating our first year as a family.

I'm Kimberly (or Fendesha), an adventurous person who aspires to be a vagabond- but for now- I spend all of my free time travelling and my down time thinking of travelling. I'm a mom of 3 (the oldest being my gorgeous canine companion), a IT project manager, and on occasion I find myself the primary writer of this blog.

Happy Reading and thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Orphan Visa Statistics- Will Ethiopia be # 3

I've heard rumors that Ethiopia has moved up to the #3 country. In March or April (*if I remember correctly) of last year they posted the numbers for the previous year.

I'm anxious to see where Ethiopia falls in the list.

The state department website outlines the top 21 countries international adoptions are occurring in and tracks the number of Visa's issued- I'm sure most of you have seen this site by now. Below I have pulled Ethiopia out of the data.
Year Placement Ethiopian Orphan Visas issued Total number of Orphan Visas Issued
1994 20 54 8333
1995 17 63 8987
1996 *did not make top 21 10641
1997 *did not make top 21 12743
1998 15 96 15774
1999 Not reported 16363
2000 16 95 17718
2001 15 158 19237
2002 16 105 20099
2003 15 135 21616
2004 9 289 22884
2005 7 441 22728
2006 5 732 20679
2007 ? ? ?

For more information please visit:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Living with Hunger, Ethiopia

I borrowed a movie from a friend also adopting from Ethiopia called "Living with Hunger" - a documentary by Insight news TV. I'm really surprised it is not more widely circulated and that it took this long to learn about it.

Sorious Samura goes to a village in Ethiopia and lives with the community as a member of the community for 30 days. His film crew drops him off with just a few pieces of clothing but with no money and no "food". His goal is to integrate with the village residents and live as they do- with them. He works in the fields, and lives as a male member of the community would.

Here's a brief summary from their website: "In an unprecedented mission, Sorious Samura set out to understand the real stories of people living on the edge of starvation. He moved into a remote village in Ethiopia far away from the range of the UN and most NGO's. Between August and September Sorious lived in a hut and survived on the same meagre diet as the rest of the villagers."

It also gives you a glimpse of the beautiful Ethiopian country side and the wonderful nature of the Ethiopian people.
I'd recommend checking out the movie in it's entirety but - here are some places that you can see the basics:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

got 10 bucks? Send a Net, Save a Life.

You have to check out this website. It's great.

My DH sent a url to me today that said- hey you have to check this out- at first I thought- hmm- Denis sending spam- that's odd.

So I called him-being the cautious computer user I can be.. then...
I couldn't believe it...

There's a company out there- providing Mosquito nets to families in Africa. They have incorporated themselves as a non-profit so your donation is tax deductable and... all of the money you donate goes directly to buying nets. NO ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS... and finally a web developer that gets it- It took me about 2 minutes to figure this all out.

Okay, so perhaps I'm a little too enthusiastic about this-but it's not often that:
a) I can find the information I really want to know in a short period of time on a website.
b) am excited- truly excited about keeping families together and know that providing a tool to a family to protect them from malaria - it keeps parents and children alive. What better gift can you give?

So many people wonder why Denis and I are often okay with the wait. I guess deep down - our dirty little secret and it why most of the time the wait doesn't trouble us-is that I really feel that the longer I wait- the more it means families are able to stay together.

There's so much information out there pointing otherwise-but hey we all need something- and this is what I cling to- even if it is a bit delusional. It helps me think ahead- what can I do to really feel like my adoption is necessary and "making a difference".

If all of us adoptive parents jump in and found a way to keep one child with his or her mom and dad just a little bit longer (or mom and dad with their children)- sure in the end- the wait for our dreams to come true will be longer-but deep down- we'll know we will be making a bigger difference in the world that our children will inherit.

If I know that people are really working together in this world to keep adoption a last resort and that the children I am raising really needed me as much as I needed to raise them-
then to me- is "worth the wait".
I'm no Mother Theresa so- now next time I'm desperately wanting the "pitter patter" of little feet in my home- remind me- laugh :-).

So check out the website. . And if you have an extra 10 bucks - buy a net and save a life.

Here's a snippet from the website:
  • "In the poorest parts of the world, where effective window screens are lacking, insecticide-treated bed nets are arguably the most cost-effective way to prevent malaria transmission. One bed net costs just $10 to buy and deliver to individuals in need. One bed net can safely last a family for about four years, thanks to a long-lasting insecticide woven into the net fabric. "
  • Malaria has been brought under control and even eliminated in many parts of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Yet in Africa, malaria infections have actually increased over the last three decades. Malaria is a leading cause of death of children in Africa, killing nearly one million children each year.
  • Every day 3,000 children die from the disease.
They are not in Ethiopia Yet- but perhaps together we can get them there :-).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Inefficiencies drive me nuts.

I've learned that the Ethiopian Gov't blocks and that before you go to Addis that you have to alter your blog to accept posts. It's also difficult depending on where you are to upload pictures. So- I was hoping to update this blog during my stay in Ethiopia but we will see when I get there. If there is a change required I'll have Denis update it with a new location to redirect to.

On a note that is completely unrelated to adoption or Ethiopia - shocking I know. I don't understand the American medical system. We as technologist- should never have put P2P/B2B technology in the hands of doctors- they should stick to the human body.

My doctors office recently moved from a traditional paper based environment to a new computer based system. PC's in the examination rooms-It's kind of cool and has a creepy aspect to it as well. In my field of business- I really dislike that my PHI is being transferred through more and more"disconnected" networks.

I find the concept of multiple companies storing my information and transferring my personal data back and forth nerve wrecking-although it's bound to be yet another driving force sending business our way.

I pay as a self employed person almost 10K a year for my husband and I with no children to have BCBS of NE- HMO. It's a disgusting amount of money-but I think because of the amount I expect good service. Note that I love BCBS (I don't like many companies but they revamped their systems years ago and appear to the customer to be well run-it's impressive really). I could pay much less but want to stay happy with my medical insurance provider.

Now, although they are unrelated- somehow my dissatisfaction with my current medical care facility circles back in my head to the cost I pay to have this coverage. This whole story boils down to I need a new Primary Care. But since this is my blog - I'm going to whine about this little situation anyway.

I called my doctor's office in October -having learned about something-and asked for advice from my doctor and if she'd like to make an apt. to see me because of something or if she could simply advise changing or renewing a prescription for me. Each time I call they need to "leave a message for my primary". The office responded with a letter 3 weeks later that yes- she's like me to set up an apt.

Of course - I don't respond immediately as I am aggravated by then, busy with work and life and forget- so in early December I make an apt. With the holidays - her plans, my plans etc- I can get in to see her in - Early January.

When I see her- she fills out an e-prescription for me. It's weird leaving the doctor's office with out a piece of paper in my hand-I had to stop and ask the front desk if I should have anything. After the 48 hours they asked me to wait- I go to where I asked to have the prescription sent to.

Of course- they had not filled the prescription because they didn't have my medical insurance information. Makes since- so I give them my information.

Day 3 -Apparently -My medical insurance won't cover it- with out a certain letter and they need to wait till the morning to reach my doctor.
Day 4 So- now the pharmacy calls for the letter or a substitution.
Day 8 The weekend passes and on Tuesday the doctors office calls me to confirm the substitution
Day 9 the prescription is filled and I pick it up.

I can't help but wonder - what if this was "important"?

30 days later (5 months from my initial phone call)- I learn that now that it's a generic prescription and my pharmacy offers a better prices for a 90 day prescription. So, I call the pharmacy to find out what to do. They recommend that I contact the doctors office for a 90 day prescription instead of 30 day. So I do, of course they have to call me back after they confirm with the doctor, and then e-mail a new prescriptions to the Pharmacy which they request 48 hours to fill. After the 48 hours- I have to again follow up to see if it was faxed over and approved-etc- or we start this all over again. It's really ridiculous.

This later part is simply to save time and money on my end-but costs so much on every one else's end because Pharmacy, insurance and Doctors are so disconnected. I just find that, with the kind of money I'm spending on health care annually, the access to amazing medical care we have in the US, and the fact that every single one of us needs it- that it's astonishing that it's so difficult to navigate your way through being cared for.

Being a project manager by trade - inefficiencies drive me crazy. And with that said- It'll probably be a good thing that I'll only understand a 10th of what is said to me while I'm in Addis- ha ha.

Anyway- because this is not an "emergency" and when you look around in the world this concern of mine boils down to "peanuts"-but it's still annoying.

Want to hear about town hall and permits?

Would you believe (of course you would- but this is my first time applying for a permit in Massachusetts) I had an approved permit sitting in town hall for over 2 weeks (after they wouldn't let us pay them when we applied for it). They had it sitting in their office -on hold because it was approved but not paid for. Hello... how exactly were they planning on telling me this exactly??? Peter-pan and Pixie dust I suppose?? It would have been nice if they had contacted us and told us it was approved. They just never called-any of the 3 phone numbers the application requests. Ugh. It just drives me crazy you obey the law and -you pay too much money to get permission to do something to your house that no one outside of your home would ever see.

People ask for a ton of information to "approve your request"- but don't use the information you've given them. Options-let's see: phone, snail mail, email.. hmmm. Simple contents needed- congrats - your approved, bring money!

Okay- so we all have to much to do - and too little time in a day to get it done- but this is a process. You apply- they refuse the check- they send you away to wait- they have you fill out this lengthy information packet - finally apparently but unknown by you- they approve you... then the process seems to break??? let me finish it- town hall calls/emails or snail mails you a letter that let's you know that your application is out of conundrum as the clerk you note how the notified the resident- the resident calls - the clerk pulls up your application and read said note or comes in to get application and pays. Ugh, boy that was hard and with just a teeny tiny correction you have happy residents.

It's one thing if they didn't ask for the information and refuse the check and told me to check in with them in a few days- it's another when they select to own the contact and don't do it.

In the end. What a painful life I lead since inefficiencies drive me nuts. Usually I can take all of this with some sort of added in Dilbert related humor- for some reason today-the humor is escaping me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Adoption- On Hold

Well- it's almost official. In a few weeks we will be putting our adoption on hold while I am working in Ethiopia. Although it is a smart decision, and probably won't affect our wait one bit-I can't help but think about- the "what ifs".

I will be so excited to come home from Ethiopia and see all of our new Adopting friends with their referrals and perhaps even with their children if any receive referrals in the next few weeks. Those that received referrals over the holidays will also be out and about by then and meeting their newly formed families-seeing many of them as families for the first time with their new children will fill me with such joy. What an exciting time it will be when I get home. The adventures everyone will have to tell.

And even though this is an adventure of my very own I'll have to share- somehow putting the adoption on hold is a tough decision. Some say- "why do it then".

I don't want distractions from the teaching and care work I'll be there to complete. If I received a referral - I'd just want to go straight to Horizons House and would not want to teach as much. After all who would want to spend a day helping out at one orphanage when they can be at another that would have their future children in it Although in my heart I know it would be an unforgettable experience to meet my future children and be in their country when they are introduced to Denis and I through the agency- it would also be a distraction from my goals while over there. Instead of sitting with a language instructor I'd see myself at the orphanage-etc. So- in order to make the most of these short 3 months- it's the right thing to do. But -that doesn't change the fact that it's going to be very hard.

It would be very hard to focus on helping others knowing that the children that I'm potentially going to raise as my son or daughter are waiting for me just a few kilometers away. This event would not be in the best interest of the children and organizations I am going over to serve.

For those wondering- Placing our adoption "on hold" does not change our "placement" on the imaginary list- but it does insure that we will not receive a referral for the time period we are "on hold" for.

Ethiopia Bound in 35 days.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Host home, family and flight update

Well- I booked the flight to Ethiopia today. I depart on March 10th- Arrive on the 11th.
I come home on June 7th. Denis is flying out to meet me on May 24th and taking the same flight as I am home :-). So at the end of this incredible adventure- what could me more wonderful than spending 2 weeks with my favorite person in the whole wide world?

A little about the host family I'll be staying with:
My host owns and manages a school and her husband is a lawyer in a government office. They have four children, ages 12, 24, 26 and 27 years old. The older children are both teachers. Several other family members and the maid also live in the house.

A middle income Ethiopian home:

Ethiopian homes are quite different from western ones. They are made up of two separate buildings: one is the main building and the other contains the service rooms. The service rooms are often used more than the rooms in the main building which are very neat and often don't even look lived in! All food is prepared by live-in maids in the service quarters. In many houses one room is set aside for coffee ceremonies which take place very regularly. Good thing I really like coffee! All the buildings are usually set back from the road and enclosed by a metal gate that you have a key for.

I'm not sure if I'll love having a "maid" or be very uncomfortable with it. I've never imagined having dinner served-giggle. Apparently breakfast is served at 7:30 in the morning. I need to be to work at 8:30am- I'll teach, participate in after school activities- plan the next day's lesson and then dinner is served at 8:30. Wow!! Some where in there I'll be taking Amharic lessons. It's already sounding like a pretty full week :-).

A little about the area I'll be visiting:

The area is located in the north eastern part of the city in an area called Kebena, there are plenty of facilities around the area, including internet and laundry, and there are very good transport links so it'll be easy to get to and from work, and get to my language classes.

It's suppose to be warm during the day, but chilly at night due to it's altitude. The city is surrounded by mountains covered with alpine forests, which makes for lovely sunsets, and stunning views once you get out of Addis and have a chance to look down on the city.

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

Oh the places I've Been (and might go again)