Friday, May 13, 2011  6pm

Yesterday I found out more detail on how children are matched with adoptive parents.  Apparently Duni’s mother runs an orphanage and I guess has for years.  Remember, Duni was our adoption agency coordinator over here in Addis.  Many of these orphanages are private.  A person just decides to start one.  I thought they were government run, like they are in Russia.

This is Duni on the left and Caitlin on the right.  Duni is a mover and a shaker in Addis Ababa.  Everyone has nothing but good to say about how she gets things done.  Caitlin was our coordinator during the entire paper chase back in the United States.  She is located in DC at the agency headquarters and got to come to Addis while we were there.  She was so wonderful during that entire process.   We were excited to meet both of them.

So at some point when Duni moved back to Addis, she checked out about 10 orphanages, trying to find out which ones were on the up and up.  She decided on 2 orphanages in Addis, so those are the 2 with which our agency has a relationship.  I assume one is her mother’s.

Our birth mother, down in the Wolaita region about 7 hours south of Addis, hears that she can choose adoption for her baby.  Someone, from the US or Europe will likely adopt her and she will be loved and educated.  She takes Selamawit to a Kingdom Vision branch in Wolaita and Selamawit is then  transported to Kingdom Vision orphanage in Addis.

Kingdom Vision orphanage in Addis Ababa

Next, our adoption agency in Addis gets our paperwork that says we are requesting a girl in the age range of 10-24 months.  So Duni goes to Kingdom Vision (or the other orphanage she works with) and says, Do you have a girl aged 10-24?  They say, Yes, we just received a little girl.  So Duni chooses her (I am not sure what other factors play into her choice – if there is more than just the age).  I believe Duni will also take other children that, for whatever reason, she believes will be able to be adopted out from the Transition Home (even though they have not been matched yet.)  I heard this information from another adoptive parent.  If anyone wants to correct these details, I would be thrilled to hear from you in the comment section.

Selamawit was taken to Kingdom Vision orphanage on January 1 this year and then was moved to our agency’s Transition Home (very similar to an orphanage) on January 5.   Other agencies will do their adoptions directly from Kingdom Vision orphanage (or other orphanages) and they do not have their own Transition Home.

Entrance to our agency’s Transition Home

Over the next 7 weeks our agency works to get everything ready for Selamawit to be given to us as a referral.  Things like meeting with the birth mother to confirm her wishes, meeting with doctors to confirm her health status, etc. etc.  Finally, we received her picture at the end of February.

Knowing that God has a specific plan for each of us and that things started out for these children this way FOR A REASON is such a wild and beautiful thought.  The orchestration that God wrote for a child like this and then to watch it play out is breath-taking.  That each step along the way happened as it did.  That so many different people prayed, from us, to our friends, to our agency (yes, they do) to all of the people we met in Ethiopia (a very spiritual, God-led group of people.)

Last night

So remember, we had all 5 just arrived in Addis.  We’d been up all night on the plane and were making it through the day until we could go to sleep last night and begin the transition to this time zone.

We all went to sleep at 7pm.  Everyone immediately zonked out.  30 minutes later a waiter knocked on the door and woke us up for me to sign the ticket for the water we had ordered earlier.  Argh.  Back to sleep.  A little while later the front desk called to tell us the internet was on.  Ok.  Please no more interruptions.  Finally we sleep.

We all woke up in various stages between midnight and 2am (the 2am was me – Yea!) except Meg.  She never woke til morning.

Back to sleep at about 4am.  We were supposed to have eaten breakfast and be waiting for our guides in the lobby at 10am.  At 10am we got a call from our guide in the lobby.  We were still asleep!  Wow!  Matt went down and said we need an hour.  No big deal since we were the only family they had all day today.  So Matt had the waiter bring up cinnamon rolls and cappuccinos to our room.  Sooooo delicious.  Five big cinnamon rolls, 3 beautiful cappuccinos and 2 fantas all for $3.50 which included the tip.  Pretty amazing.

We drove over to the Transition Home.

Selamawit was asleep and we want her to heal, so we met with the doctor again while she slept.  All 5 of us crammed in her little office.  She was awesome again as she was last time.   She said Sally has had a fever for 3 days and been on an antibiotic.  She said Sally never gets anything more than a cold, but it happens to all these kids often because they are living together.  Again, she emphasized that Sally just needed individual attention, love, nutrition.  She also had blood work done so I’m happy to have that for her records.  Again, she talked about God frequently and worked it into just about everything she said.   At the end I told her she should be a doctor AND a preacher.  She is also from Walaita.

Precious Angel

Sally woke up right as we were about to leave so we stayed and played with her.

The nannies thought we were taking her today and were very, very sad.  The doctor told us the tall nanny was particularly upset that Selamawit was leaving.  Apparently Selamawit is the favorite of the doctor and her nannies.  (I’m not sure if they tell everyone that, but they sure convinced me.)  And the doctor had to tell her she must be happy that Sally is being adopted.  But it was still so sad.  So when we told her we were not taking her until Monday, she was very excited.

Wow!  Isn’t her nanny beautiful?!  I love this picture of the two of them.

She is happy now that she has one more day with Selamawit.

Next was lunch.  More Italian food.  The reason for the Italian food  is that twice the Italians tried to take over Ethiopia.  Once in the 1800’s and once in 1945.  Both times Ethiopia fought back and won.  But Italian food was here to stay.
After that was a trip up Mount Entoto.  We had quite a walk through it over rocks and extremely rough land.

Mama was a trooper.

At one point she said “Why are we going this way?”  “Because we are going to see Menilik’s palace.”  “Well, it better be great!”  Funny.

This is Job on the left, one of our agency guides, and the man on the right was our guide for Menelik’s palace.

As we left we had about 30 small bags of M&Ms.  We gave a few to some little boys outside our bus window and a ton of other children and even their mothers came up fighting for the rest.  It was a sight. And again so sad. Both my mom and I were totally teared up.

The view of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto.

Job and David, our driver, as we headed down the mountain.

As we made our way down the mountain I asked Job if it would be ok to stop at the next woman walking down the mountain with the huge pack of sticks on her back, and take a picture and pay her.  He said yes.  The next woman we came to was probably 50 or so.  Older.  She looked exhausted.  I was glad we came upon an older woman who we could bless.  I’m thinking she should be home tending to her flock and not doing such hard, back-breaking  labor.  But this is another world that is very hard to understand. Our surface observations are somewhat meaningless.

I gave her 100 birr.  $5.  That was a lot.  She normally would have made 1/2 that lugging that pack down the hill which took her all day to go up, cut, pile together and walk back down to Addis to sell as firewood.  Teared up again.

Saw this sign heading back in to town.  Thank goodness.

Moving On

Turns out at this point we have no hotel reservations for Monday through Thursday of next week.  Really?  I thought this was all arranged.  As I was working out leaving our luggage here while we go to Lalibela tomorrow, we realized the hotel wasn’t booked.   The guides said they would figure it all out while we are gone. I know God must have something wonderful planned!  How is that for positive? :)

Back in our room getting ready for bed.

Tomorrow morning we get up at 5am, leave here at 5:30 for a 7:30am departure for Lalibela.  It’s a 2 hour flight north. Yonas arranged for Hiley to be our guide. He says he is the best guide in Lalibela. He will be with us the entire time from airport and back again.  All transportation, guiding us through the rock-hewn churches, admission fees, etc is $4000 birr. That is $200 for all 5 of us.  $40/each. Not bad for 24 hours of care on the other side of the world.

Goat for dinner

Tonight we ate dinner in the hotel. I wanted the chicken curry, but I thought I should try the local dish so I got some kind of Ethiopian goat meat dish with injera bread. Not so good.  Oh well.
Time for bed.

Love, Allison


  1. Thad says:

    Loving this series! Found it at Part 5 and have awaited each subsequent entry. The journey to this new addition to your family has been exciting to follow. The series has even made me wonder if this would be a path for our family to venture down. Sally is beautiful and truly blessed to have you in her life. The series will even serve as a history for her when older. Your pics of Ethiopia make me want to visit too.

    I know that writing these takes time and energy from a busy schedule, so I just wanted to offer some added encouragement to continue the story.

    • Allison says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement to continue writing. That always helps! I think anyone venturing down this path will absolutely be blessed by it!

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