Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...

Legacy of An Adopted Child
Author Unknown

Once there were two women,
Who barely knew each other.
One is in your heart forever,
The other you’ll call mother.

Two different lives,
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,
And the second taught you how to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.

One gave you a family,
It was what God intended for her to do.
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me
Through your tears,
The age old question through the years.
Heredity or environment…
Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling… neither,
Just two different kinds of love.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A useful website... calls themselves "the go-to nutrition & feeding resource for adoptive & foster families."

They offer information on nutrition by country (including a page on Ethiopia), possible nutrient deficiencies, common feeding challenges (including hoarding), things to think about before your child comes home and a section on the first year home. They also offer a free global cookbook.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Six Things to Know About the Expanded Adoption Tax Credit

Thanks to Charisa for providing the link to the FB group...

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-10, July 27, 2011

If you are adopting a child in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service encourages you to familiarize yourself with the adoption tax credit. The Affordable Care Act increased the amount of the credit and made it refundable, which means it can increase the amount of your refund.

Here are six things to know about this valuable tax credit:

  1. The adoption tax credit, which is as much as $13,170, offsets qualified adoption expenses making adoption possible for some families who could not otherwise afford it. Taxpayers who adopt a child in 2010 or 2011 may qualify if you adopted or attempted to adopt a child and paid qualified expenses relating to the adoption.

  2. Taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of more than $182,520 in 2010 may not qualify for the full amount and it phases out completely at $222,520. The IRS may make inflation adjustments for 2011 to this phase-out amount as well as to the maximum credit amount.

  3. You may be able to claim the credit even if the adoption does not become final. If you adopt a special needs child, you may qualify for the full amount of the adoption credit even if you paid few or no adoption-related expenses.

  4. Qualified adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the legal adoption of the child who is under 18 years old, or physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself. These expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel expenses.

  5. To claim the credit, you must file a paper tax return and Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, and you must attach documents supporting the adoption. Documents may include a final adoption decree, placement agreement from an authorized agency, court documents and the state’s determination for special needs children. You can still use IRS Free File to prepare your return, but it must be printed and mailed to the IRS, along with all required documentation. Failure to include required documents will delay your refund.

  6. The IRS is committed to processing adoption credit claims quickly, but it also must safeguard against improper claims by ensuring the standards for this important credit are met. If your return is selected for review, please keep in mind that it is necessary for the IRS to ensure the legal criteria are met before the credit can be paid. If you are owed a refund beyond the adoption credit, you will still receive that part of your refund while the review is being conducted.

For more information see the Adoption Benefits FAQ page available at or the instructions to IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, which can be downloaded from the website or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


YouTube Videos:

Source: IRS

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ethiopia: The Whole Picture

This was originally posted a year ago, but is worth a second, or third, or fourth look...

Ethiopia: The Whole Picture from Paul Hassell on Vimeo.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The ABC Webinar

You have been talking to your child about adoption since he came home. But what about the time he spends at school? What does his teacher know about adoption? About birth parents? Does she know how to help him answer why he doesn't look like his mom?

Join Debbie Riley as she discusses how adoptive parents can educate the educators. This webinar, co-sponsored by Adoption Learning Partners and JCICS, costs $15.

This webinar will help you:
  • Talk to teachers about creating an adoption-sensitive environment
  • Educate teachers on managing discussions about adoption in school
  • Discover how much of your child's story to share
  • Learn how to handle some standard school projects (family trees, baby pictures)

Thursday, September 22, 2011
7:00 - 8:00 PM Central Time
Q & A: 8:00 - 8:30 PM Central Time
(Start Time: 7:00PM Central, 8:00PM Eastern, 5:00PM Pacific)

Debbie B. Riley is the Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.), an independent pre and post-adoption organization in the Baltimore-Washington area and co-author of the book, Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens.

Click HERE to register.

Monday, August 15, 2011

favorite items from Ethiopia!


Below are some of my favorite items we brought back from Ethiopia on this trip. Shopping can be somewhat overwhelming! Lots of vendors, lots of items, and lots of haggling! I tend to pick out what I wanted and ran when the haggling came. I let the hubby handle that one—being he was the professional sales guy and all!

There were some items I didn’t get this time because I ran out of time/forgot or just plain couldn’t think. I will have a list of items to pick up next time (and as always more coffee!)

These pictures made out of banana leaves. There are pretty fragile and I was worried—but they made it back fine. There were lots of different scenes to choose from. We got those from the antiquities store in the big mercato.

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Scarves. We bought lots of scarves for the girls and friends. The ones below came from the Former Women Wood Carriers Association. (I think that’s the formal name-I might have messed it up a bit) It’s at the bottom of Entoto Mountain.I asked and they said it takes about 2 hours to make on scarf. They had tons and they were beautiful.

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One of the women carrying the wood down the mountain. From what I have read—they do this once a day for their own use and selling. They make about $3 from it. And it is HEAVY. and it is a STEEP mountain. Can’t imagine doing that every day.


We purchased some scarves from the Leprosy Hospital as well. These had a lot more elaborate designs and a sheen to them. They also had clothes there and table clothes.


One of my very faves. A basket made from the women at the Fistula Hospital. A very moving and humbling place to visit.

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We just purchased the coffee set below from some random guy on the street. He kept following us and his price kept dropping—I finally told the hubby—“buy that!” And I am amazed we made it home without it breaking! We packed it with a bunch of our clothes in our carry-on.

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Animals—we always bring animals home from the kids from our trips to Ethiopia and Zambia.


Of course, we need the coffee to go with that coffee set!

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Some traditional clothing for our little man.


Some necklaces for the girls—there didn’t seem to be as much jewelry this time as the last time I was in Ethiopia.


They has these postcards all around. I wish I had bought more—they would be pretty in black frames in a grouping. Might put them on my list for next time!

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Another fave—this is the story of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba on a canvas. They had quite a few of these and other pictures that were really neat in the antiquities shop as well. Not sure how I am going to hang it yet.

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Close up of it.


And for Ab and Josh—their only request were soccer jerseys. Josh’s we paid too much money for and then found them cheaper and got Ab’s (first store only had adult sizes) and of course the sweatbands for Ab and his Mirinda. Smile