Ordering a child

I think that I should clarify that I never agreed to adopting twins.  I can see adopting another child from Ethiopia in the future.  I feel very strongly about giving an older child a chance at having a family.  I find the whole situation in Ethiopia to be very heart-wrenching; there are just so many children who are orphans.

It is disturbing to me that you can fill out a form about the child you want (age and sex preferences) and there will be a child available within those parameters.  It is amazing and heart breaking.  I do not think adoption can fix the world’s problems but I do think it can make a huge difference in a child’s life.  I hope that is enough.

-Alisha

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One or two?

When Alisha and I first decided to pursue adoption, we initially thought we’d try to adopt one.  We have a three year-old son between us and I have two teenage daughters, age fifteen and seventeen.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that my oldest will graduate from high school next year!  Well, I got to thinking later on that maybe it would be easier for the child if we adopted two instead of one… maybe twins, or two siblings of different ages.  The thought being that they would have someone they were familiar with and maybe feel less alone in the beginning.  Another possible advantage could be the preservation of culture and language; especially if the older sibling was old enough to teach the younger.

I don’t know.  I keep going back-and-forth.  Truth is, I wasn’t the one to think of adoption (big surprise, eh?).  I was pretty content after we had our son.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how well adoption compliments my own life-long desire to help others in a meaningful way.  I think the most frightening part is the unknown.  That might seem pretty obvious but there’s so many unknowns!  First, there’s the issue of logistics:  I need to build another room in our house; we need a bigger car (more like minivan); arranging (and paying) for daycare for two (or three) instead of one; and then making sure we can provide adequately enough for two or three.

Maybe I just worry to much!  I suppose we don’t have to decide today or even tomorrow…

~Jeff

Teff and Injera

I think that one of the best ways to get to know a culture is through it’s food.  One of the staples of the Ethiopian diet is injera; a pancake like flatbread made from teff.  Teff is a grass-like plant that grows in east Africa that is very high in nutrients.  I have seen different figures but an 8 ounce serving will provide up to 40% of calcium and 80% of the iron needed for a 2000 calorie diet as well as some other vitamins and minerals.  Pretty impressive figures for a grain that is 1/100th the size of a grain of wheat.  After the teff is milled into flour it is fermented for a couple days which will give the injera it’s slightly tangy, sourdough-like, flavor.  Teff grain or flour can be purchased from Bob’s Red Mill in Portland (also available online) or from many health food stores.

There appears to be two main categories of seasoning for dishes:  those that are spiced with the fiery berbere and those that use the milder spices of nitr kibe.  Berbere is a seasoning made from red chili peppers, garlic and other spices blended together.  The berbere sauces are easily identified by their dark-red color.  Nitr kibe is clarified butter that is cooked with up to thirty different spices that produces an intensely unique flavor.

With this information in mind we promptly decided that a trip to Portland was in order.  Unfortunately, this trip was delayed because of all the bad winter weather.  Oh well, this gave us time to decide which restaurant we wanted to try first since there are several restaurants that specialize in Ethiopian food in Portland.  For our first encounter we ended up at The Queen of Sheba.  We had fun learning to tear off chunks of injera and scoop up our food.  For those of you that have never eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant the food (usually) is served on a “plate” of injera with more injera served along side it.  Utensils are not used, intead the injera is used to scoop up the food.  We tried several different dishes:  beef in a berbere sauce, lentils in a berbere sauce, chicken and mushrooms in an alitcha sauce and potatos and other vegetables in a mild alitcha type sauce.  It was all very tasty but the berbere sauces were a little warm for me.  We both thought that the chicken and mushrooms in the alitcha sauce was especially tasty.  I’m not sure how traditional of a dish this is but even my picky three year old would eat it.  Our goal is to try a different Ethiopian restaurant until we have tried them all.  I guess after that we’ll just have to keep visiting our favorites.

~Alisha

The Road to Adoption

istock_000002167993smallWell, after  a lot of thought and introspection we are finally on the road to adoption.  Our initial application has been submitted and we are busily working on completing our homestudy.  Wow, this is a very involved process…first the homestudy with all its questions and then the many pieces of the dossier.  It is much easier to have a child than it is to adopt!

So, the question I have gotten a lot is, why Ethiopia?  I think for us the biggest reason is the shear volume of need in the country.  I have seen statistics that estimate the number of orphans there to be between 4 and 6 million.  The other reason has to do with the process for adoption being relatively rapid and lenient.  There are some other international countries where the referral process is 18 months or more.

So, here we go…the process is exciting and a little scary and I’m sure it will challenge and suprise us.

~Alisha