I’M NOT THE BABYSITTER, but who is????

Meet Mali! The only person on the planet (aside from our parents and close relatives) that we trust with our boys.

She is quickly becoming part of the family.

She was born in Ethiopia, but moved to the US for school in the 1970s.

She goes to the same church as us, and is well-connected in the Ethiopian community (which we really appreciate)….

The boys are in love with her, and I am, too.

She’s coming over to teach me how to make doro wat! Finally, I’m going to tackle this beast of a recipe.


Ethiopian Orthodox Church

My friend, Ti Ti, invited our family to an Ethiopian church last Sunday.

Here is a picture of us before we went (clearly we had no idea what to wear so we wore a little of everything):

The church was everything I wished more non-denominational “white” churches would be like.

Instead of emphasizing the individual’s need to hear the message (“I must put my child into the free childcare so I can hear this message”) it is more about the community of the church.

Children are allowed in the main room where the room is full of fragrant incense and they only speak Amharic. Also,  you must take your shoes off before you enter.

People can leave that room and bring their children to a small house in the back where there is Amharic lessons using songs about Jesus and biblical stories. Everyone is welcome in this room. Samuel seemed to have some flashbacks of the orphanage and began worrying we were dropping him off there- so we stayed in this room with both boys for about 30 minutes.

Ti Ti has a baby that she wanted to quiet, and brought us into my favorite room of the entire church. The service is up on a flatscreen TV, but people are talking to one another and women come over and offer fresh baked bread and tea. On each table there are fresh Ethiopian herbs to put in your tea. I now am determined to grow them at my house. It was that good. While all this is going on, priests with occasionally walk through the room and people will sometimes stop to kiss the cross he is holding.

After the service has ended people go out into the courtyard to congregate. Our church also does this, so it wasn’t any news to us.

The laid back attitude of the entire service made me wish that other churches would take a hint on the importance of community DURING church services- not just after.


The Positive Effect of International Adoption on a Country

There is a lot of information available about negative effects of international adoption on developing countries. A lot of the information is case-specific, and the journalist is making a lot of generalizations (like the CWA scandal –  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/15/cbsnews_investigates/main6210911.shtml)….

It seems to be whenever there is good news, it some how does not make headlines, because we simply aren’t as interested in good news.

However, I think it is important to remind people that expanding our humanitarian efforts outside the U.S. DOES make a difference. We never seem to hear success stories and keep getting bombarded with problems. Pretty soon we will loose hope and stop wanting to help. I think this is a big problem in the U.S.

But there is good news!

Some of you may remember the documentary that came out in 1995 about the dying rooms in China- (watch the last minute or two )

Since international adoption picked up in China, it forced the government to start paying more attention to their orphans. By 2001, the effects of adoption in the country were apparent, in a positive way.

International adoption put a spotlight on the orphan girls in China and the Chinese government was quick to respond. Now the wait for a child in China is many years ( most people we know it took five to seven years for a referral)…This is the direct result of people putting the spotlight on the need for homes for these children, and the active presence of this has forced China to do some cleaning up.

I am not saying that it is perfect, but the change is dramatic and should be celebrated.


Our first taste of Ethiopian food!

We “needed” to go to Disneyland a few days ago. I was hearing great things about this Ethiopian restaurant in the ghetto of Anaheim. We decided to have lunch there before we went to see the big mouse.
It was delicious! Most of the food is vegetarian with the staple being lentils. We also had some really tender lamb.

You eat everything with your hands. Well, actually your utensil is an Ethiopian flat-bread called Injera. It looks like a giant spongy crepe and tastes a bit like sourdough bread. Basically you rip a piece of bread off and collect whatever bit of dip of meat you want with it.

The owner knew we were adopting and we were talking about how important it was to feed our daughter familiar things when she comes home. I asked if Injera was easy and she laughed…that was a bad sign.

I guess Injera is made of barley and a gain called “teff” that is located only in and around ethiopia. To make Injera it takes 3 days and 3 nights. Luckily, you can buy Injera at the restaurant we went to. Apparently all of the other dishes are pretty easy to make (or so she says!)

“AT” surprisingly LOVED the food.