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, October 28, 2008

We are officially number 2 in line . How exciting!

Our agency sends out this weekly email-I call it the "no news newsletter". When we first started this process- I use to live and breathe by the updates-they completely distracted my day.

So now when I check my inbox-on Tuesday mornings- It glares at me tempting me to open it.
I resist- I check all of my other email and then I try to start my day. It yells at me. I go get coffee, close my email... open it.. close it.. and FINALLY... I sigh- and think oh damn and open the useless thing.

Then I scroll down to the section that indicates the next dates for people in line for their referrals . This date hasn't changed since the 2nd week of April for people looking for siblings under 4- and there our date is!!!!

We are officially number 2 in line . How exciting!

The family that just received their referral- waited 21 months for their referral- the family behind them waited 16 months. We are reaching toward 17 months now. I'm hoping that we receive our referral when the back log of waiting famililies has completed most of their travel. It would be nice to have a shorter travel wait-giggle. It looks like families are currently going to wait about 6 months for their court dates (that's MARCH(ish)).. oh man oh man- not including christmas court closure challenges.

I'd be excited to learn what the sibling requirements are for theApril 24 family!! Does anyone know?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

48 hours in Addis

I just read this article from Reuters and thought I'd write my own- Here's what I suggest you do with just 48 hours in Addis.

If I had the chance here's how I'd spend it- (excuse the spelling errors)

10pm you arrive off the flight- you should go to the Milkhouse and see the city at night.

the next morning- get up eat breakfast -be sure to have a macchiato0 and early in the am go to a church- Bole MarieKadet (sp) would be a great one as it's the largest (although you should ask the receptionist at your hotel if it's a saints day of the month- I suggest you go to a church with the saints name instead)- After you walk around the church if it's lunch time- head to Ishi-Bunne's in that area- otherwise-go to AhMist Kilo- get a fruit drink at a fruit drink store and then visit the national museum - walk across the street if you haven't had lunch yet-eat at the Pizza restaurant across the street- or go to Lucy's and have a traditional meal (or Blue top but you'll find mostly other foreigners there) .

After the museum and or lunch- head to your hotel and take a rest it'll be hot and the middle of the afternoon. Be prepared for a long evening. If you are adventurous-and not with children- head to Aramedia's or another local Chat house (ask around on Bole-lot's of people speak english there).

Head out to the Cultural House around 7pm to see Dancing and have some traditional food -and enjoy trying the local beverage of honey wine. Then head to Cashances around 11:30-and watch some traditional music played at any of the local houses- you will have to stick your head in a few to see which you like-laugh. Have a st. George's beer in Cashanches.

Go back to your hotel for the evening and you've just finished your first day in Addis.

Day 2 -

Get up, eat breakfast at your hotel and head to Entoto first thing in the morning- see a beautiful view of the city and enjoy a quick tour of the church's museum. Don't forget to visit the houses in the back where the King once lived.
Have a snack and a coffee at one of the local coffee shops at the bottom of the hill from Shiro Meda on your way from Entoto. If coffee's not your thing- Tea is also great- and Coca Cola or Miranda is very popular if there no electricity.

Then go to ShiroMeda for a couple of hours and do a little bit of local shopping.

Later in the day-head to the Melenik Museum in Sidist Kilo and enjoy walking through the famous gate of Addis Ababa University enterance. If another museum is not your thing- then Head from Sidist Kilo to your hotel to drop off the items you bought while shopping or head to the Mercato and continue shopping.

Your day is almost over - now take a taxi to Top of the Hill and have dinner there.
If you have additional time- people watch from Kaldi's cafe at Friendship on Bole. It's not far from the airport and its a hub for activity. Have an ice cream and enjoy the view (noise) for a bit.

If you have additional days- pop upstairs to StoneAge tours and see my friend Mekonnen. He'd be happy to help you arrange a day trip (or more) out of the city.

other options-
Take a mini-bus to Amist Kilo and eat at the restaurant next to the photo shop that serves a great fried fish or take a contract taxi to Romaini's -their food is great.

If you would rather-Go to Piazza and have a long cup of coffee at the top of the building on the corner across the street from the electric company and Ethiopian Airlines office. Go in and confirm your flight with the ethiopian airlines office (if it's the next day). If you want to buy jewlery- the Piazza is the right place. Pick a store-there are many-but shop around and bring somebody local with you.

If you've enjoyed shopping -head to the Mercatto. If it's not your thing- people watch.

Imagine how this burden would impact your daily life.

Put on your imaginary hat:

Today you are living in a place where you have to drive from location to location around a crowded city (a very large city) to find a gas station that has gas. You get in this very long line- say for an hour or so behind taxis, buses, delivery men and ordinary "Joe the plumber" and when you get to the pump they tell you that you can only put 20.00 in your gas tank- that is equal to about 1/4 of a tank of gas. Imagine that you use Gas in your car and Kerosene to cook with. Do you have to choose? If so, which do you choose?

Now in our imaginary little world you only get paid when you are "working" not hourly. Let's just ponder how much the price of products and this added wait affects everything in your life....

Welcome to a day in the life as a resident in Addis this morning, my friends.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A simple twist of fate

Natnael is a 3rd grade boy that I had the privilege of meeting while teaching in Ethiopia. His mother and father have both passed way and he lives with his grandmother, his brother and a couple of other cousins. Natnael's family is experiencing serious financial difficulties that includes food shortages- his ability to stay in school was in jeopardy. While I was there I asked Denis to consider having us sponsor his education- he gladly said yes.

We then had the school call his grandmother and ask her to come to the school -but learned that she was already coming that morning because Natnael was in disciplinary trouble that previous day (laugh- a boy hit him and he hit him back).

We were called into the office when she arrived. The grandmother was very nervous- first the school talked with her about Natnael's disciplinary issues and she apologized profusely for her grandsons bad behaviour. You could see clearly in her body language that she was very upset with her grandson and greatly discouraged by this news. (At school -when a student is disciplined the parent is required to come in the next day- the students hate this).

After the school addressed his disciplinary issue-we told her that Denis and I had decided to sponsor her grandson's education provided he could keep in good behaviour and study hard.

Natnael's grandmother practically fell to her knees. We hugged, laughed and smiled greatly with her joy and helped her take a set. Between her sobbing-she repeatedly said "god bless us, god bless the school, god bless her grandson along with a million thank yous and blessings that I could barely understand with my limited Amharic". It was the most amazing moment. This woman came into a room with her shoulders down apologizing incredibly for her grandson- and left in tears of joy-standing straight. Her hugs were powerful and you could immediately sense that she was a woman of amazing strength and ability. You instantly admired this old woman-and as another woman-I understood with out words that her burden has been great.

She invited my husband, myself and a translator to her home for tea. We walked on a rainy afternoon down a dirt and rocky footpath past many homes- saying hello to his neighbors asking where their residence is. We passed a shared public toilet along the way and entered a small home with little or no electricity (perhaps the lights were out that day - one can never be sure).

We took a seat in the sparse but adequately furnished home and learned about Natnael. His father was a soldier like his Grandfather and both perished fighting for his country. Photo's of these two very handsome uniformed men were predominately displayed along side two other photos, one a man and another a woman. Natnael's mother later became very sick and passed away- along with his aunt (his grandmother's daughter) and his uncle (his grandmother's son).

I was teary eyed and speechless upon learning that his grandmother had lost all 3 of her children, she was now responsible for raising her grandchildren. The pictures of these smiling faces are hanging above where we were sitting and as she tells us the tragedies that her family has seen - she looks up and smiles at her children's photos. She goes on to explain the worries she has about her age, about how well the children were doing in their schooling, about keeping them in school with the cost of feeding them and the sparse ability they had as a family to make money given that all of the children were under 16. They did not have any servants and the grandmother made a very nice cup of tea for us.

Later in the visit we talked about how Natnael was in his schooling and we presented him with some school supplies and asked him personally if we could sponsor him. Asking if he would work hard and make us proud- telling him that of 800 children we were very happy to have selected him and that he should be proud. His grandmother was so very happy-she kept crying and blessing us over and over.

It was a delightful moment in time. To be able to witness one good woman's burden to be lifted slightly. To watch her light up as her grandson was offered this great opportunity. To share in the tradition of a simple cup of tea with another person- and a simple visit that has the opportunity to have such an impact for this family that has already experienced so much.

Life has this amazing way of throwing "simple twists of fate into our lives". A simple moment in time- a simple gesture leads to possibly- a whole new future for a young man and his family. Isn't it remarkable that this woman and I found each other. She being a strong woman who needed a break and I having the need after spending time in Ethiopia, to help somebody.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The post american world- newsweek

a long article but interesting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"I realize now that my approach was wrong, to search for "love" in another's song".

Evening All,

For years-I walked around with an empty spot in my life - nothing I did seemed to fill it. I took yoga, gave to the cause of the month-year, volunteered, joined my church- but that hole just seemed larger and larger as I aged. my DH once said to me - "I realize now that my approach was wrong, to search for "love" in another's song" and he was so right...

Ethiopia makes my heart sing. The children's laughter was music to my ears, their difficulties feed my need to find ways to try to make a difference on this "it's a small world", the love that I received as being a part of that culture-slowly over months seemed to have filled that hole in my heart. Ethiopia touched my soul, my heart and with months of exposure now is part of my daily thoughts and prayers. I can't thank the world enough for "my path" bringing the country into my life, or the family I stayed with for accepting me "as I am" and introducing me and inviting me into their life there. From that exhausting evening - March 13th-now-My world is truly a different place both physically and spiritually. And that hole- it's filling up.... all I had to do was find the right approach and search for "love" in my own song- my own way.

Of course, all life experiences come with their challenges. And currently my challenge is to continue to embrace this meaningful life change in our materialistically driving world while still enjoying those items with out guilt that we've achieved in our life. Balance- is the true challenge here for me-laugh.

May you all skip along the path to finding "your own song- and your own way".

This video touched me this evening and I just had to share it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Perhaps now would be a good time to make economics a mandatory class in High School

I know I know I'm never on the "popular" opinion side of things these days as far as politics go-but things in our country are really going nuts...

1) first we provide billions of dollars to the rich- and to make the honey pot more attractive we throw in a few extra billion for random social programs.. ugh. Is now a good time to talk about "privatizing retirement??"-laugh

2) Then we feel it's important to throw our state's stability to the wolves.. (or should I say dogs here?). ugh - see comic below.. he he..

3) Palin- are you kidding??? How embarrassing!!! As a business woman she makes me want to pull a rug over my head and hide until she's done embarrassing herself- good god! Too bad I can't afford a rug. Wonder why-please refer to 1 and 2 above.

Is there anything important happening in the US right now?? There are people actually starving in many of the worlds countries - they are so destitute that they are actually handing their children over to others to be raised by strangers.

Perhaps now would be a good time to make economics a mandatory class in High School!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Would you like to Volunteer as a Teacher in Ethiopia?

Getting ready to play soccer (football). It's the female teachers against the 8th graders.
Yes, that's me-but don't get any ideas- I had no idea what I was doing out there.

Teachers- and the upper school line up.

I heard from my "sister" Eldana in Ethiopia. The school her family owns just opened up the first floor of the school they are building and have an additional 21 students in 9th grade. They are so excited but overwhelmed.

They just received the results from the 8th graders national exam and almost all of the students passed in the 80-90 percentile. The lowest grade received by any taking the exam was a 69!!! I'm so proud of them and the students after reading that email I had to share it with all that would read. Go LemLem- they work so very very hard and it really shows!!

Hayel is proud to say that we have received sponsorship for one more student- prior to the paperwork being completed.. I can't wait to be able to watch our company grow! One more kid will stay in school- thank you thank you thank you. It's so exciting to be a part of something that really means change and a future to another child.

If you know anyone that would like to volunteer at a school in Ethiopia and teach- for a month or so- they need volunteers -currently it's difficult to keep teachers for what the school can afford to pay. The family is wonderful - the school is energized and I can put you in touch with Eldana and her mom. As a volunteer you pay for your trip and when you get to the school they board you and feed you in exchange for your work-they'd also get you at the airport I'm sure of it. You would need spending money. I can also put you in touch with somebody to help you travel if you'd like to do that as well at the end of your trip. Just email me at if you are interested.

Rangeley in the Fall

Fall is Gorgeous and the smell - when I say "the smell of fall" doesn't a certain scent come to mind? That smell of leaves falling and settling on the ground? Laugh. If your from New England or the North East I know you are thinking of the exact same smell I'm thinking of. If your in the south - the Smell of Spring time is kind of what I'm talking about here.

Having to turn on the heat, the freedom to use your stove to bake something, the deep breath of moist cool mountain air. I just love it here (in October- by February I'm the cheapest bid would be happily accepted-laugh).

This weekend - Happy Birthday to mee-laugh- Denis, Geneva and I visited our friends gorgeous ski in/out condo on Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine. We hiked most of the main trails of the ski hill (in the rain), we wandered around a water fall, visited a gorge I use to swim in as a kid and met a lovely woman that ran a bakery out of her house. After a depressing weekend in factory focused Maine last weekend- a weekend in the resort towns is exactly what was called for. My Dreamy Maine is back. I'll post pictures tomorrow- the camera's in the car and I'm so sick of being in the car. The weekend was awesome. We almost drove to quebec -but we had Geneva this weekend- and if we had thought of it-could have dropped her by mom's- but I'm so pleased we didn't. Watching her tromp around in the water-burrrr- and hike the mountain off lead-brought giant smiles to Denis and I. She so comes to life in the Colder weather -it's always delightful to watch!!

GO RED SOX!!! The game is totally tied up at the moment and my heart is pounding. Go Beckett... Why do they have him pitching already??? Ughghghghg...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pictures of the Fire Pit

I decided after a very rainy summer-that since we didn't go camping- I would bring camping to us. Here are a few pics of the firepit I build over labor day weekend here in our back yard. It was a big hit at our last BBQ with a few friends-they took the guitars out there- and played them around the fire at night. Delightful!!!

Total cost= about 100.00
supplies from home depot (4 rows of small landscaping retaining wall stones-first (buried) and second row 14, second 13, last 12), a few bags of sand and some crushed stones.

Directions- measure out the circle, dig a small circular hole a couple of feet down for drainage- fill with stone, then create your first two rings, add sand, add on your last two on the top. If you need to mortar it-which I ended up doing- make sure you use the fireplace mortar. That's all folks- it's pretty easy - I started it on Saturday, and finished it on sunday- putting in a couple of hours each day. Total around 6 hours plus shopping for the stuff (mortar took a bunch of that time)

Pictures of the Basement

The new bathroom

laying the cork flooring

The new family room-with floor. We started with concrete walls, our neighbor has helped us emensly (insert completed most of the carpentry here)- it's a work still in progress-but we started with concrete walls!!. It's starting to look more and more like a living space!! Yippy.

Meme Stevens- Beautiful Song- get Kleenex

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