Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

Enjoy more amazing IAN families and adorable kiddos!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Affording Adoption


Few who desire to adopt can pay for it out of pocket. If you can not take a second loan or adoption loan here are some ideas for you.

Many a church will be willing to donate from the deacons or mercy fund for orphans. More will be willing to allow you to hold a fund raising event at your church. Get with your Sunday School or small group and have a dinner or garage sale.

Here are some resources for funding an adoption.
Financing Adoption:

Adoption Financing on Squidoo
Affording Adoption a list
Adoption Assistance - Cadman Foundation
adoption funding - adoption source mortgage adoption loans, credit based adoption loans
Adoption Fundraising - Raising Money to Pay for Adoption Costs and Expenses
Adoption Grant-Loan Application
Available Resources To Help Defray The Cost of Adoption
Gift of Adoption Fund
His Kids, Too! - A Christian Charity Impacting Ukrainian Orphans
Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries - Home Page
Shaohannah's Hope
The Adoption Guide The Cost of Adoption
Ethiopia Adoption Blog, Ethiopia Adoption Blog - The cost of an adoption
Wiley, Morgan Parker Fund giving grants for international adoptions, out of date site but still funding.
Sea Of Faces Foundation grants for international adoptions
Both Hands Foundation
The ABBA fund
Lifesong for Orphans
Project Hopeful resources for families adopting HIV+ kids.
147 million

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recipe for Doro Wat (Chicken)


Last week, I passed along a great recipe for Injera, the traditional Ethiopian bread, eaten at many, many Ethiopian meals. Once you've got the Injera made (or if you're looking for a unique and very yummy tasting chicken dish), it's time to make the wat, the stuff that goes on the injera. There are 3 recipes that my family and I ate while we were in Ethiopia: Doro Wat (Chicken), Gomen Wat (Ethiopian Greens), and Kik Pea Alecha (Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans Stew). They are all placed on the table together so diners can pick and choose how much or how little they want of each. So good! While injera itself takes kind of sour and, well, strange, these recipes bring out the best and truly make it an amazing meal. In upcoming weeks, I hit up the other recipes, as well as some of our favorite Latin American recipes, and, for toppers, a great Fettucini Alfredo recipe. But, right now, here is the recipe for Doro Wat. Enjoy!

Doro (Chicken) Wat

2 lbs Chicken Pieces
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
4 Tbs Vegetable Oil
2 cups Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp Ginger (ground)
1/4 tsp Fenugreek, (crushed)
1/2 tsp Cardamom (ground)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg (ground)
2 Tbs Berbere
4 Tbs Paprika
(for a spicier Wat, use 4 Tbs Berbere and 2 Tbs Paprika)
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 cup Water (or more, as needed)
2 Tbs Butter

1) Traditionally, a whole Chicken is cut into 8 pieces.
2) Sprinkle chicken with Lemon Juice and Salt
3) Let Chicken stand while preparing other ingredients
4) Heat Vegetable Oil
5) To Oil, add Onions, Minced Garlic, and Ginger.
6) Cover and cook on low heat until Onions are just browned
7) Add Fenugreek, Cardamom, and Nutmeg and stir well
8) Add Berbere, Paprika, Tomato Paste, and Water
9) Bring to a boil and cook slowly, stirring often for about 45 minutes (should be the consistency of heavy cream) - add a small amount of water if necessary
10) Add Chicken pieces to the sauce, turning to coat
11) Add Butter
12) Lower heat and cook chicken for about 1 hour, turning often to prevent sticking and to cook evenly
13) Serve with injera and enjoy!

Thanks so much to for providing lots of parts of this recipe!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder

Recommendations from IAN families -

Books for parents:

Books for kids:

From The Center for Adoption Medicine:
Sensory integration dysfunction (DSI), or as it is currently known, sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a complicated, somewhat controversial disorder of "sensory processing" - the ability to take in, filter, and respond appropriately to sensory input (touch, movement, vision, hearing, taste, and smell). Some children are felt to be "sensory-avoiding", or "sensory-defensive" - feeling bombarded by overly intense experiences of touch, lights, sound, and so on. Some children are "sensory-seeking", or "sensory under-responsive" - seeking intense stimulation, bashing and crashing around, and seeming less aware of pain and touch. Some children have trouble using sensory inputs to plan and perform gross and fine motor tasks ("dyspraxia", or motor planning disorder).

SPD is one of those diagnoses where definitive research on prevalence, validation of diagnostic tools, and effective therapy is lacking. It's especially hard to know when normal developmental, temperamental, and other individual differences in sensory responsiveness becomes a "disorder". It's underdiagnosed in many arenas, and overdiagnosed in others, just like any disorder where convenient but unvalidated checklists proliferate on the web, and where "cottage industries" marketing products and treatments are competing for your parental attention and money.

Having worked with a lot of post-institutionalized and alcohol-exposed children (two populations that are at higher risk for SPD), I am convinced that there are many such children for whom SPD is a real disorder - one that significantly impairs their function in home, social, and school environments. And I've seen children respond well to occupational therapy (OT) sensory interventions, especially functional approaches that integrate sensory work with the child's needs in motor skills and social interactions.

Even if your child's issues are more reflective of developmental immaturity or individual temperament than a definitive disorder, the sensory approaches can be fun, stimulating, and helpful with self-regulation and self-soothing. It's still hard to convince insurers and schools to fund such interventions, and depending on your situation, sensory-based therapy may not be the most pressing use of your time and money ... but here are some good resources on the topic. A lot of interventions are ones that you can do at home, and while there are scads of nifty products marketed for SPD, you can get a lot done with simple, cheap, or home-made tools and toys.

Sensory Processing Disorder Resources:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentine's Day Gift Guide - Part 2

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of the Valentine's Day gift guide. I've since found some additional adoption and/or Ethiopian inspired items that I thought I'd share.

J Studio - beautiful digital archival prints created from original pen and watercolor drawings of multicultural families and Ethiopian landscapes. A portion of her proceeds go to the Kolfe Orphanage in Addis Ababa. Visit her blog to enter a giveaway of three 8"x10" prints.

EthioPAP - a cute fabric applique (for only $1!) that could be put on babies, girls or women's clothes or framed.
Shirts for Shoes - Charity left a comment on the last gift guide about this great opportunity. For every t-shirt (which come in children, men and women's sizes) sold, a t-shirt and pair of shoes will be donated to an orphan in Ethiopia.

vyz123's shop - Cute necklace with a pendant showing a child's handprint, the continent of Africa and a heart over Ethiopia. 100% of the proceeds go to humanitarian work in the village of Aleta Wondo.

Caitlin Kleiboer Photography - Matted photos of Ethiopian daily life and landscapes

Please feel free to let me know in the comments section of any other cool products you've seen. Thanks and happy shopping!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brothers and Sisters in Adoption

Brothers and Sisters in Adoption by Arleta James

From Library Journal: Therapist James, who has many years of experience as an adoption professional, presents a superb, exhaustive handbook on adoption that fills a void in the literature. She focuses on issues surrounding families, with children who are flourishing, considering adopting children who have experienced complex trauma, including abuse, neglect, or abandonment. She delves deeply into the mental health issues of these children, which can be complicated by the existence of other adopted children. She concentrates on navigating the emotionally trying dynamics of the relationships among children who are thriving and those who are struggling, underscoring the needs of the typically developing children. Throughout the book, James includes stories of the adoptive families she has helped in her sessions. Numerous additional appendixes include a super preadoptive training model for typically developing children, an adoptive family safety contract, and an extensive listing of additional resources. This scholarly review of the adoptive literature combined with solid, pragmatic, and professional advice is a superb guide to a specialized topic. Required reading for all helping professionals working with child protective services or with adoptive families.

From Carey, an IAN waiting mama: I have not read this book yet but it is on my wishlist. Though it doesn't have many reviews on Amazon (6) it gets rave reviews.

If you've read this book, I would love if you gave it a brief (1 paragraph?) review. Please leave a comment so I can contact you. Thanks!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

Here's a look at more beautiful IAN kids!

And if you missed it the first time, here is a link to the Valentine's Day gift guide for adoption and Ethiopian inspired products for your loved ones (or even yourself!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Injera (Traditional Ethiopian Bread) Recipe


My family and I were recently in Ethiopia bringing home our youngest child. Now that we are home, we have decided that it would be a lot of fun to incorporate some traditional Ethiopian recipes into our everyday American lives. A staple food in Ethiopian meals is Injera. It's a sour, thicker-than-a-crepe but thinner-than-a-pancake bread that the Ethiopian folks eat at almost every meal. Why? It's cheap and you can put lots of yummy tasting sauces, meats, or anything else that you can think of right on top. It's eaten with your hands and used to scoop up, soak up, and clean up your plate and, for as strange and sour tasting as it is on its own, it is fantastic with almost anything on top. Traditional Injera is pretty long and then rolled up. When we make it, the best we can do is to find our biggest skillet and go from there. This week, we tackle Injera. In the next few weeks that follow, we'll tackle a couple of different kinds of Wat (that stuff that I said goes on the Injera). This past Little Christmas (Epiphany), my family went multi-cultural, eating Ethiopian and Guatemalan food (with some Fettucini Alfredo thrown in for good measure). So, after the Injera and the Wat, we can tackle, Tamales, Arrepas, Empenadas and, well, Fettucini Alfredo. Enjoy!

(read recipe carefully - its takes a few days to make)
2 cups Teff Flour (we found it in the natural food section of our supermarket)
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
5 cups Luke Warm Water

1) Mix Teff Flour, All Purpose Flour, and Salt well.
2) Add Water, stirring constantly until combined.
3) Let stand, covered with a dish towel, undisturbed, at room temperature overnight.

4) In the morning, stir with a wooden spoon (should already be slightly bubbly at the surface, with the fermenting water rising to the top, and should be beginning to smell sour).
5) Cover again and let stand overnight.

6) Stir again.
7) Cover and let stand overnight.

8) Check your batter. If it is very bubbly and sour smelling, your ready to go. Otherwise, cover and let stand for one 1 more day.
9) Stir the batter until it is combined well.
10) Heat a large, lightly-oiled skillet over medium high heat.
11) Add 1/3 cup of the batter to the skillet.
12) As the batter cooks, I gently rocked the skillet, moving the batter around - when the batter stopped moving, I knew it was cooked through.
13) Using a metal spatula, without cooking the other side of the batter, remove the Injera from the skillet (you can fold it, roll it, or leave it flat - in Ethiopia it was rolled).
14) Repeat until all of the batter is used (adding more oil to the skillet, if necessary)
15) Serve with almost anything - chicken, vegetables, meat or, of course, Wat.

Thanks so much to Ashley Skabar at for providing lots of parts of this recipe!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Are you looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift to buy your spouse, child, parent or even yourself? Well, your search is over. Following is a collection of some unique adoption and Ethiopian inspired gifts.

Leap of Love: Cute American Apparel t-shirt in youth, women and men's sizes

Recipes to Grow a Family: This is an international cookbook, covering countries such as Ethiopia, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Mexico, the United States...and many more.

Our Life Upstate: Snuggly soft made-to-order fleece pjs (tops, bottoms, nightgowns, shorties) for kids and a classic jumper dress for girls, all at great prices

Dos Besitos: Cute glass tile pendant with the Amharic word for mother (enat) the back of which can be personalized with a date and/or name...the seller also has pendants with the Amharic words grandmother or sister and keychains with the Amharic words father or grandfather

Novica: Handcrafted Ethiopian wood mask, 'Hail to the Chief'

Adopt-tees: Huge selection of stationary, t-shirts, lifebooks and gifts all Ethiopian adoption themed. Some items are available for personalization and some are targeted to aunts, uncles, grandparents, lots of colors and lots of different designs

One World Projects: Three styles of hand-filigreed pendants made from silver

Sorene: Children's Songs From Ethiopia: This music CD gets several good reviews from adoptive parents on Amazon. Visit the Amazon page to listen to the tracks but search for lower prices (like the seller linked to the title of the CD in this post)

Please feel free in the comments section to list links of other products you've seen that might be of interest to IAN families. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 Fun Facts about Ethiopia


Here are some interesting tidbits that I have read on other websites:

1. Ethiopia is almost twice the size of Texas.
2. It is the birthplace of coffee and they have official coffee ceremonies in the home. If you are offered coffee, it is very rude to decline. (what am I going to do?)
3. They claim the final resting place of the Ark of the covenant at a chapel in the holy city of Aksum, which used to be the capital of Ethiopia.
4. Ethiopia has 63 airports. Only 17 of them have a paved runway. YIKES, I hope we pick the right one :)
5. Often women feed the men with their fingers as a mark of love and devotion to them.
6. There are 13 months in the Ethiopian Calendar. Each month has 30 days and the last month has only 5 or 6. New Year is celebrated on September 11th and they are almost eight years behind our western calendar.
7. Homes are a traditionally a round hut called a Tukul. The floor is dirt, the walls are either sticks and/or mud, and the roof is made out of a long grass called Tef. Families like to use magazines or newspapers as “wallpaper” in their homes.
8. Traditionally, parents and children do not share a last name. Most kids take their father’s first name as their last name.
9. Did you know that a large portion of the Ethiopian population claims descent from King Solomon of Jerusalem and Makeda, the queen of Sheba?
10. Ethiopian television consists of just one channel. (Glad we are not taking Adrian :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Soul of a New Cuisine

The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson

From Publisher's Weekly: Born Ethiopian, raised Swedish, and now one of New York City's top chefs, Samuelsson (Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine) has written an exotic yet accessible book that will hasten the coming of the African fusion cookery he envisions. His 204 recipes and 258 color photos are enriched with personal and political history; as in his many condiments and sauces, the balance is right. While he stresses the diversity and bounty of the second-largest continent, he repeatedly describes African cuisine as poor people's cooking, crafted with simple tools and necessarily emphasizing starches, vegetables and big flavors. Whether it's rosemary for Honey Bread or turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in his Vegetable Samosas, herbs and spices are always sauteed in oil or tossed in a hot dry pan, to intensify and mellow. He even proposes toasting the cinnamon for the whipped cream accompanying his Ethiopian Chocolate Rum Cake. The recipe for the cake is typical: the batter is prepared in a single bowl, mixed with a spoon, and bakes up moist and gingerbread-like, with great keeping properties. Toasting the cinnamon takes seconds and is impressive in the complexity it delivers.

Connie, an IAN mama about to travel: We received the most amazing cook book for Christmas. To even call it a cookbook is sort of an injustice. The recipes are amazing and remarkably simple, but the stories, photos and journalism about Africa are even more impressive. The author is Marcus Sameullson, an ET adoptee from Sweden and he now owns a number of successful ET restaurants in NYC. The book is called "The Soul of a New Cuisine". I haven't been able to put it down since we received it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Traveling through Frankfurt, Germany from Ethiopia to the US


If you are going to be traveling through Frankfurt, Germany on the way home to the US with your adopted Ethiopian child you will need a German visa for your child. You do not need one for yourself if you are a US citizen. But your adopted child WILL. Lots of people have questions about it so I am posting the answer we just gave to our agency about how it works. It was a bit of a pain, but worked out fine. We did not have good directions for doing this but my awesome husband did figure it out!

1. At the Wednesday (our agency has this day) US Embassy appointment they have to tell them that they need their papers NO LATER than Thursday morning BEFORE noon. You will need to tell them they have to get a German visa.
2. After the US embassy appointment you will need to go get biometric photos of you child, you just get them when they are taken it takes hardly any time to get, and they are not expensive. This can only be done at Erat Kilo photo studio, it is a Kodak studio on Erat Kilo. THE Awesome driver Terefe knows where it is too. His number is on our blog for driver recommendation, look for that post. He is awesome and drives only adoptive families.
3. Thursday pick up the US embassy papers and then take them directly to the German Embassy. You HAVE to take the kids. Stand in line and fill out the papers, give them the kids passports. They need to have the passports and they have to have the American visa stamped already. It takes a bit to fill out the papers, take something to entertain the child in a very happy and pleasant manner. (No messy treats, messy is bad PR for adoptions. Make sure your child is dressed nicely, and appropriate for the season. Rainy season wearing layers, at no time/season should the child's legs or arms be exposed if an infant and if an older child pants are the best bet for boys and a dress for girls, plus a jacket in rainy sesaon.) You will have to tell them that you need it by 10 am Friday, or it will be a full day from when it is requested. You will have to tell them when your flight is and that is why you need it that early.
4. You do not need to take the kids to pick up the visa on Friday. Then you are good to go.
5. When you land in Germany because you have an Ethiopian citizen traveling with you, you have to go through customs and have the visa checked and then go check back in to the terminal.

That is it! Not too bad if you know what you are doing and start asap!
You can not wait to get this rolling it will cost a lot in time and effort and maybe a delayed ticket/flight, and the German embassy is not that nice to deal with if you are late. They are very nice and work with you if you give them time and flight schedule. Just get it done asap. They speak English, and that is very helpful. They have selective hours so you should call them to make sure of the times that they are open, it varies. Your guest house host should be able to do this for you or get you the number. It is good to plan your return flight with this in mind.

Germany (Frankfurt) has a great play area up by the Mc Donalds. It is a life saver. There are lots of restaurants and a pharmacy.

Hope that this is helpful!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

More beautiful families and kids!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ethiopian Names and Meanings

Heritage is very important and traditionally a child grows up to know at least 7 generations of his/her ancestors. For example a child named Abraham Alemayehu Zerihun carries 3 generations of names, his own (Abraham), his father's (Alemayehu) and his grandfather's (Zerihun).

Why are children named like this?

One reason is that many people have the same first name so the father's name identifies them like the English "Robert - son" = Robertson. The grandfather's name adds to this and also shows heritage which is important in determining status - the more names you know the higher your status in the community.

Another reason for naming children this way is that when Ethiopian men plan to marry, traditionally they send a delegation of 6 elders to the girl's family to negotiate the marriage. This negotiation includes determining if the bride and groom are related. Both families must provide the male lines of both sets of parents back 7 generations. Therefore, it is the names that are handed down through the generations that are the evidence of their family line. -From AACASA

The following sites contain lists of Ethiopian male and female names and their meanings:
If you know of any other good 'name' resources, please add them in the comments so I can add them to the list above. Thanks!
Added 4/21/10:

This blog post gives some insight to Ethiopian nicknames.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Children Just Like Me

Children Just Like Me by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

From School Library Journal: A delightful, attractive look at children from around the world. The authors spent two years meeting and photographing youngsters from every continent and more than 140 countries. The volume is divided by continent, which is introduced with photos of children, their names, and nationalities. Then a double-page spread features pictures of each child's food, eating utensils, housing, school, friends, and family. The text gives the young people a chance to comment on their favorite games, friends, and hopes for the future. The final section includes excerpts from the Kindersleys' travel diary. This book is factual, respectful, and insightful. It provides just the right balance of information and visual interest for the intended audience.

From Carey, an IAN waiting mama: I love, love, love this book! My (bio) sons (3 and 4 years old) like to look at the kids and have me read about their lives. It's opened up a lot of great discussions about how differently people live, yet we have so many similarities.

There is a spread dedicated to Tadesse, a nine year old boy in Ethiopia who lives in an orphanage because his father has died and his mother is not well enough to care for him and his siblings. (There is also a spread about a little girl in China who is an only child, with a mention of the government's concern of the growing population. Also, of possible interest to other adoptive parents, there are spreads on children in Russia, South Korea, India and Vietnam but not Guatemala.)

Every night my 4 year old asks to read about one of the children in the book. Since receiving this book over the holidays it has become part of our bedtime ritual...which I love.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More IAN Family Photos

Thank you all for sending your photos to us to share! Please keep them coming! We look forward to seeing all the new forever families coming home the next three weeks!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ethiopian National Anthem


Recently, De-De and I after looking in some books decided to listen to the National Anthem in Ethiopia. Here is a website which will play you the music and below are the words--first in Amharic and then translated in English. Above is a map of Ethiopia...

Amahrian Lyrics:
Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia

Yäzêgennät Keber Bä-Ityopp'yachen S'änto
Tayyä Hezbawinnät Dar Eskädar Bärto.
Läsälam Läfeteh Lähezboch Näs'annat;
Bä'ekkulennät Bäfeqer Qomänal Bä'andennät.
Mäsärätä S'enu Säbe'enan Yalsharen;
Hezboch Nän Läsera Bäsera Yänoren.
Denq Yäbahel Mädräk Yä'ahuri Qers Baläbet;
Yätäfät'ro S'ägga Yä'akuri Qers Baläbet;
Ennet'äbbeqeshallän Alläbben Adära;
Ityopp'yachchen nuri Eññam Banchi Ennekura!

English Translation:
March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia

Respect for citizenship is strong in our Ethiopia;
National pride is seen, shining from one side to another.
For peace, for justice, for the freedom of peoples,
In equality and in love we stand united.
Firm of foundation, we do not dismiss humanness;
We are peoples who live through work.
Wonderful is the stage of tradition, mistress of proud heritage,
Mother of natural virtue, mother of a valorous people.
We shall protect you - we have a duty;
Our Ethiopia, live! And let us be proud of you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adventures in Ethiopian Cooking...


Scott and I were required to bring an Ethiopian dish to our international adoption class' potluck. Though I am a lousy cook and have never made Ethiopian food before what concerned me most about this request was the fact that there were not one, but two, Ethiopian women in my class. So, I have to make Ethiopian food for Ethiopians?!?!?!?!

After looking over some recipes, I decided to try and make dabo kolo, a small bread type snack. It appealed to me as it only required one exotic ingredient and looked like something the whole family, Jack and Logan included, could make together.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoons berbere*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, softened (room temperature)
  • In a clean mixing bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients (flour, berberé, sugar, and salt).
  • Slowly add the water and mix so as to form a thick paste. Remove the mixture from the bowl and knead it on a lightly-floured surface for a few minutes to form a thick dough. Add the softened butter and knead for an additional five minutes. Let the dough rest in a cool place for ten minutes.
  • Divide the dough into handful-size pieces and roll these into long "pencils" not quite as thick as your small finger. Cut these rolls into pieces (scissors can be used), each piece no longer than the width of your finger. (Jack and Logan loved helping for this part.)

  • Heat an ungreased skillet over a medium heat. Place enough of the uncooked dabo kolo in the skillet to loosely cover the bottom. (They may have to be cooked in batches.) Cook over medium heat, stirring periodically, until they are lightly browned on all sides, -- OR -- Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven (350 degrees) for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring or shaking the pan a few times to prevent sticking.
  • When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in dry air-tight containers.
* Berbere is a collection of finely ground spices including hot cayenne pepper, garlic, sweet paprika, ginger and cloves. I bought mine at a local Ethiopian merkato (market) but you can substitute cayenne pepper if you don't happen to have berbere in the spice pantry.

(This recipe is from Recipe Zaar.)

Luckily, when I was at the merkato buying berbere I bought some pre-made dabo kolo. We had never had it before so it was our control subject. The store bought varieties were very crunchy. Unfortunately, the ones we made were hard on the outside but a bit doughy in the middle. Next time we will try making them a lot skinnier.

We were told by one of the Ethiopian women in our class that she makes them without berbere and much much smaller. Knowing how Scott likes to experiment in the kitchen, I'm guessing there are some cinnamon dabo kolo in my future.