Emma, my mom, Matt and Meg

Journal entries from our 2nd trip to Ethiopia in May 2011

May 5, 2011

Hi all,
Well, the big day is upon us.  We are leaving this Monday, May 9th for Ethiopia.  We are taking our 2 daughters, Emma 13, and Meg 10 and also my mother.  My mom was a last minute addition.  It was actually Matt’s idea.  He thought she would have fun.  She took about 30 seconds to decide when I asked her.  So we should have quite the adventure!

We returned home from the first trip on March 31.  We waited and waited for the call that our paperwork had been submitted to the US Embassy.  Once it is submitted you KNOW that, barring anything unusual, you will be cleared within 10 days.  But you never know WHEN that paperwork will be submitted.

Names and Dates

So it was all very interesting that we found out it had been submitted on April 20.  That happens to be my mother’s younger sister, Sallie’s, birthdate.  Sallie died when she was 7 years old.  It was a horrible tragedy.  I truly do not know how a family continues on after something like this.  God bless them all greatly who have had a child die.

What a precious little girl.   Her name means “beloved.”

1 – She is who we are naming our new little girl after.  I was thinking it sure would be cool if our paperwork was submitted on her birthdate.  I was waiting on that day.  Checking for phone calls.  Checking my email.  The day ended and no word.  The next day, April 21st, I got the call.  The paperwork had been submitted yesterday.  Yeehaw!  I knew God would do on it on her birthdate!  Such a sign!

2 – Then this.  Selamawit’s birthdate, we were told, was October 30, though nobody seems to be sure.  When I pursued getting a firm birthdate, I was told, well, it might be November 7.  On the video we received from the birth mother interviewed by the social worker, she said she thought it was November 7, but it was definitely a Monday.

Well, neither October 30 nor November 7 are on a Monday, so we don’t really know which day it was.  The Ethiopian calender is completely different from ours.  And they put very little emphasis on dates.  More on seasons.   (That is actually kind of cool.  Probably makes for a slower life pace not being concerned about the day, or the time or the minute or the second!)  The adoption agency is putting October 30 on her birth certificate, because that was what they were told at some point.  So here is the kicker.

Sallie, my mother’s sister, went to be with Jesus on November 7.  I did not know that until a couple of weeks ago.  Yet, another sign regarding the name.

3 – In addition, about 6 months ago, before we ever knew about Selamawit, Matt and I were driving around.  For over a year we had been tossing name ideas around.   Neither of us had agreed on the other’s ideas yet.  All of a sudden I said “I know what we can name her!  Sally!”  Matt said “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”  Then I said, “But wait, we have to find out what her Ethiopian name will be and then name her something that will work with that.”  “Yeah, you’re right.”  So that was that.

Now something you have to know is, up to now, I (and maybe others in our family though I don’t want to speak for them) had been a little nerval about naming a child Sally because of what happened to our mother’s sister.  But, all I can say is, supernaturally, all of a sudden, I seemed to be ok with it.  It just seemed to be the right thing to do.  Which said to me –  Yes, that is what this child’s name is supposed to be.

Then when we found out her name was Selamawit, Sally seemed like a perfect nickname.  We would leave her name as Selamawit legally, but call her Sally.  Another sign.

4 – Also, twice, when I told people that her name was Selamawit, they said “You should call her Sally.”  Oooo.  That’s a biggie.  The signs just keep coming!

A Dedication

So this particular April 20th of 2011 was a very special day.  It was on that day, a few weeks ago, my mom, my mom’s brother and his wife from Louisiana and my sisters and I attended a library dedication in Sallie’s name in Oklahoma City where she attended Wilson grade school back in the 1940’s.

My sister Evie and I at the top.  2nd row is my Uncle Bill, Aunt Margaret, my mom, other sister Louisa and her two boys, Rucks and Ed.  Bottom row is my daughter Emma, niece Amelia and daughter Meg.

We sat with the current 2nd grade classes (since she was in 2nd grade when she died) and listened to several people speak about it all.

My sister, Louisa on the left; my mother and her brother handing out new books to the 2nd grade class.

My sister, Louisa, organized this whole thing.  It was very, very emotional for everyone though I think healing for my mother and her brother.

Love this picture!  My mother, Peggy, and her brother, Bill.

My mom looking at the school’s scrap book from the 1940’s identifying her sister’s pictures.  Meg looking on.

Afterward, we visited Sallie’s and my grandparents graves.

We had a wonderful time visiting all day.  I don’t think we had seen my aunt and uncle or his family for 6 years.  They live down in southern Louisiana. We love them dearly and wish we saw them more often!

A New Day

How strange, I think, that this dedication, this day of very special family togetherness happened right between our two trips to Ethiopia.   And this particular day was the day we’d been waiting with bated breath to find out if our paperwork would be submitted to the embassy.  And my mother would be traveling with us to Ethiopia to get Sally.  To see where she came from.

With all of these synchronous happenings, I just think it is all about a completion, a fulfillment of sorts.  I don’t know.  I think God has something in the works.

Moving On

I hope to send frequent emails, though with more people on this trip and of course once Sally-girl is with us, it may be a little more difficult, but I do want these for her journal, so I AM motivated!

And we definitely will be coveting prayers as we travel.  There is a travel alert after the Osama thing.  Not worried about it.  Just praying.

We will be spending an extra day in Washington DC on the way there to show our girls around.  And then taking an overnight trip to Lalibela, Ethiopia to see the rock-hewn churches.

They say if you go to Ethiopia, you can’t miss it.  After that we will pick up Miss Sally, meet with the Embassy and head home.  We will be gone for 13 days.  See you soon.

Love, Allison



  1. Brayan says:

    Hi Lea,I’m visiting here from Voiceboks so glad I came.LOVE your video clip it was eittreainnng, informative and so much fun to watch. You have a beautiful family!I’m subscribing to your posts so that I don’t miss any of your reviews or advice about homeschooling.

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