Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A little Addis Ababa right here

I've been planning this special evening with friends for quite a while now. What's so special about it you may ask? Well, nothing, aside from preparing massoor, cabbage and carrots, gomen besicah, injera, tej (home brewed by Timyay, but not completely done) and roasting my own beans for a coffee ceremony. Then, I invited the most amazing guests that all happen to be Ethiopian. Amharic was spoken about 75% of the evening, and once in a while Tim, Woineshet, and I got the jist of what was being said :) The ladies helped me tweak my recipes, and we all gathered around our large mesob (Ethiopian food basket) to enjoy a meal together. There was laughter and intense discussion about the next generation in Addis Ababa.

These friends are our newest family members! Our friend Anagaw helped us to meet Winnie's living birth relative in Ethiopia. He dropped his plans in Addis to show us around, eat loads of kitfo, and assist us in everything from buying a dress at the mercado to Teddy Afro music. He met Winnie on our first night together in the hotel, translating things for us. Tiru was our babysitter when Winnie first came home. We go to her and Admasu's house nearly every other week for Ethiopian food, coffee, hair braiding, and the warmest of conversations. The other friends who came for dinner have come into our lives more recently, but we feel the warmth with them as well. Like any family, it's important to show appreciation and come together to celebrate traditions. I wanted to do both of those things with this dinner. I wanted them to feel welcomed and as comfortable in my home as I have felt with them.

With that said, there are a lot of traditions and cultural pieces that I need to work on.

1. Stand when a senior enters the room

2. pour coffee to the senior most male in the room and go from there. A slight bow of the head and hand shake are appropriate.

3. burning incense on coals is a sign of welcome and honor when guests come to your home

4. Tej takes two months to mature (weak tej is called birz, which is what we actually served)

5. three cheek kisses upon arrival are appropriate

6. once green coffee beans are rinsed, they must be roasted that night (I rinsed the whole bag, and my kind guest helped me roast it!!)

...the list could go on and on. I am really looking forward to returning to Ethiopia. I have a much better understanding of the culture and traditions. I appreciate all the little details that take such time and effort. My initial interest may have been for Winnie's sake, but now I am drawn to this for myself. I am forever grateful for the friendships with my Ethiopian family. Caio, Abigail

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



This past weekend I went to a cabin with the ladies from our Bible study. I slept in until 9 am one day!!! There was no barbie doll in my face at 7 am... nothing but sweet time with my friends and reflection on what God wants for me. We took some hikes, soaked in the hot tub, ATE, played an interesting board game, prayed, talked, painted nails, and read. The weekend was laid back, and I realized that it was much needed.

When I got home, my daughter was very happy to see me. My husband was starting to make dinner at 2:30 on our new smoker, happy to see me too. I didn't stress about the messy house. I was in a much better place mentally. It was a good reminder how important it is to take care of yourself and not feel guilty about getting away once in a while!


p.s. Soon after my return, the neighbor kids came over and decided to play "dental clinic" with Winnie's dolls and Tim's drill and pliers. We have some tongue-less dolls and new rules in place for supervising visitors.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fundraising-Take One

These are a few of my favorite things.
From Pampered Chef, that is. Now until April 3rd, you are invited to an online Pampered Chef party that benefits our adoption fund. Instead of getting free goodies for other's purchases, we get $$ for our adoption!! PLUS, the Pampered Chef consultant is in Ethiopia AS I TYPE meeting her children. So, this is a "double Whammie" fund raiser really.
We are blessed with an AWESOME tax credit this year, but have a lot of saving to do. SO, if your in the market for some kitchen stuff or want to get a head start on Christmas shopping... CLICK HERE , then click on "shop online" and enter Shaw adoption fundraiser in the host section.
Tim Abigail and Winnie

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Way to Help the Situation in Ethiopia

Here is a link to sign a petition and support Ethiopian adoptions.

I've been praying every morning at 3 am, which is 11 am Ethiopian time. The families that are either in the process or have adopted from America World set up to have prayer around the clock this week. A little insomnia is well worth it!! The court and Ministry of Women and Children's affairs are in the process of discussing the proposed "90% cut in letters of recommendation" this week.

On a lighter note, we had a great teaching on sacrifice this past Sunday. Our pastor suggested we fast from something this lent season. Tim thought about giving up his Internet/data package for this. We discussed it, and although the decision to disconnect a little isn't very easy, he was pretty sure about it. Well, it was confirmed the next day when he dropped him phone into the toilet before it was flushed. Now I'm waiting on a clear answer about what I should fast from :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Read an article, got mad

Here is that article. Now, I'll explain why it is so upsetting to me:

I agree that adoption needs to be heavily regulated. I see how an extremely impoverished country is the target for greedy, self-seeking people to take advantage. A system must be in place to verify that orphans are indeed that: No relatives able to take care of them, relinquished with informed consent IF a parent or guardian is alive. It is my worst nightmare to think that I would be involved in taking a child from a parent or guardian that could care for them, tricking them in any way, or serving my desire for a child over the best interest of that very child. Yuck. I'd definitely rather be childless than that. It is also my opinion that parents in the adoption process must demand answers from their agency, and that may mean deciding on a waiting child with full history or turning down a referral that doesn't seem to add up. For us, setting up a meeting with the next of kin was extremely important. I wanted to hear first hand that this was done willingly and there were no false expectations.

I sponsor a child from World Vision. A child that has a family but can not afford basic sanitation, schooling, or medical assistance. She happens to be from Africa, but there are families all over the world that you are able to adopt/assist with similar needs. I am all for this!! However, some children do not fit into this category.

The problem with the new proceedings in Ethiopia are the thousands of older children, special needs children, and double orphan children who will remain in orphan homes while years of "important steps" are being discussed. Yes, most days they will be provided food and clothes, a place to sleep, but the staff will still be paid assistants not mothers and fathers. Imagine adding kids to the already bursting homes, without funding any additional nannies or housing. They will be turned out when they are 14, maybe 16. Some might have job skills, most will not. This excerpt makes me crazy: "...finding family-based local solutions for what the government estimates are 5 million Ethiopian orphans." Seriously? Have they been to Ethiopia? My dear Ethiopian friend and I were just discussing how normal it is for children to stay in homes after their parents die, the eleven year old looking out for the 7 year old, shining shoes and doing "what they can" to survive. In Addis Ababa, in the middle class area, this happens!! Imagine the poorest communities, where neighbors don't look in on the kids and there is absolutely no advocate, no protection for the weakest.

The shutting down of corrupt agencies is a great thing. Investigation and fact finding into each abandoned or relinquished child are great things. Slowing down adoptions by 90% and making children who have already been promised a home wait over a year is not a great thing. In a country twice the size of Texas with 5,000,000 orphans, 2,500 adoptions a year is not really that many.

I am fearful for these children.
Will you pray for them?
Pray for the law-makers
Pray that orphans all over the world will be protected and provided for
Pray that self-serving, corrupt people in the adoption world would be stopped