Saturday, January 8, 2011

First of Two Posts LEFT about our trip to Ethiopia....

Well, I have about TWO posts left regarding our recent trip to Ethiopia....I was limited to HOW MANY pics I could post due to LACK of internet time and such...So...I wanted to get one post out about some of my favorite sites...and then I'd like to post ONE MORE time about my visit with LL's birth family...So, for are some of my favorite pics that I didn't get to post yet:The above pic is the LINE UP of "treat bags" i left for my kids while i was gone...I left one bag per day WITH 5 treats in it: one for each of my 5 baby dolls!! I left a note on each bag letting them know HOW much I was missing them..and the hubby said this was a GREAT idea because it turned out that we didn't get to skype and talk as much as I liked....Yes, it was a lot of work getting all this together..but so worth it!! And, I won't mention the fact that I also had all the outfits laid out each day for the kids too..with a "good morning" note attached to each!! :) And, below we were off:We arrived in Turkey and were so happy to see they had a last Starbucks for a week or so....I wish I could tell you all ALL the stories just getting to the young college Turkish student that got sat beside me on the plane...I had myself and my sister and niece crying thinking about all the "play dumb" questions I wanted to ask this guy like: "So, do yall have a lot of Turkeys in Turkey??" And, "Do yall celebrate Thanksgiving with all those Turkeys?" Ok, so, you'd just have to know HOW funny i think i am..and HOW much I like to talk!! :) I had myself in tears thinkin up this stuff LOL!!
***So, I did read "There is NO me WITHOUT YOU" the entire way there...OMG...what a GREAT book to read on your way to Ethiopia...God soooo used that book to prepare me for what I was about to experience...I would HIGHLY recommend it to ANYONE going to Ethiopia OR for anyone that wants to understand the Orphan Crisis in Ethiopia a little bit better ...Wow... great book!!!!!!!
So, we landed in Ethiopia....literally brushed our teeth and headed 7 hours south....We picked up this little guy first..that I blogged about in my last post:He was the sweetest thing in the world..and still praying he finds a HOME SOON....Read the end of my last post for more details....Oh, and my first site of Injera on this trip:So, what was the south like? Well, if you think the city looks poor...well, you haven't seen anything!! The south..the way full of children with no clothes...animals EVERYWHERE..and people and children CONSTANTLY searching for water...I think that was ONE of the hardest things to comprehend..the constant, all day search for water!!! That is ALL they did...They'd spend 8 hrs. a day searching for water...small children spend their ENTIRE days helping their parent or relative gather water:
I asked myself...How can anyone expect to have a job, earn money, stay healthy, provide for their families, go to school, etc...when they MUST walk to water EVERY DAY, ALL DAY!! Think of the exhausting work this is!! It is nothing but survival every where you look....

We drove and drove...on this windy, bumpy road...swerving to miss animals and people constantly!! It's a constant beep of the horn to get people and animals to move out of your way. It's a continuous site of hunger everywhere!!
And, the site that I COULDN'T believe i was seeing was the site of young toddler children "nursing" from a goat..right along with the baby goat!! And, children behind him waiting their turn!! Can you imagine being so thirsty and so hungry that you'd nurse from an animal?? Of course one has to even consider that in America!!
As we went further becomes obvious that "white" people must seldom visit....because they are all mesmerized by us all...some just want to get close enough to look...others seems scared of us...but all are intrigued...trying to figure out WHY we were there......And, as we hit our 2nd orphanage, I asked..."May I use your toilet? " They said, "sure.." and took me to this:
I'm not a snob, I like nothing fancy, I'm very low key and laid back...but this smell and all the "extras" around the hole...made me seriously gag!! I walked away and tried to continue to "hold it" ...but i eventually HAD TO GO!! Oh, it was awful...I'll spare you the details...but it wasn't my LAST "hole" experience on this trip....cause there are NO toilets in the south ( least none we ever came across) and there were no diapers on children (that is considered an unnecessary luxury) and no bottles, bowls, or spoons for the most part....Less to wash when you have NONE of these things , they said...and when you have NO WATER...well, you can't have things around that need washing!! Wow...I learned a lot!!
above, we did run across a beautiful, traditional wedding going on in the south...It was refreshing to see happiness and HOPE for a future in a wedding!!!! Just a little breath of fresh air...
*So, as yall can imagine...while we were there...(for two days..our first two days in ET) there was NO coffee, barely any water to drink..little food for us..and NO DIET COKE, obviously!! So, anyone that knows me KNOWS that I have an addiction to coffee and diet coke and even to WATER. I drink lots of water during the day!! So, just try to imagine the headache I had after two days of with drawl!! It was awful...I could barely talk my head hurt so badly...but i survived and made up for the lack of coffee ONCE i got back to the city...
So, we visited the OLD Hannah's Hope where I picked up Lucy lane and where she stayed for the months until I got to bring her home!! All my pics and memories are from this place. This orphanage has a new name and HH has since moved to a new building...but IF YOU'VE seen my video of bringing LL home..then you'll remember some of these sites...Above, i'm at the famous gates that I once walked through to pick up my sweet LL....

Below is the famous "baby room" that all the babies hung out in back in LL's day...In my video, I'm walking towards this room and LL is handed to me for the first time IN THIS VERY OUTDOOR ROOM:
And, here is the OLD Hannah's Hope...It is very different now...but still has the same old charm to it:
Ok, I finally discovered Kaldi's coffee...This is a KNOCK OFF of Starbucks in America...The coffee was great..the staff even wore green was almost like being at home...We went there QUITE a few times...I was in heaven:
The day we visited Korah (the city dump which is home to 30,000 people) we saw many of the children that attend to the local school..they were so sweet and adorable in their school uniforms:
Here's some of the Project 61 staff preparing food...such joyful people:
We visited many homes in the Korah dump..such small little tiny mud huts:
I passed out SO MANY suckers:
We walked this rocky and bumpy dirt road through this area around the dump site...It was CRAZY seeing HOW many people live in these little shacks lined up one after another:

Lots of people are making, cooking and selling Red Peppers...
We walked up some steep steps to visit this home:
I loved our visit with this beautiful woman that has HIV..and so does her daughter...It was humbling to have her tell us of their hunger and basic needs never being met...
Lots of happy people sitting around..but also lots of sad people that don't want their picture taken..I don't blame them...

This kid, below, was one of our tour guides through the dump...He was so sweet and spoke English...He asked lots of questions about "America"...Lots of people on this trip would say, "Tell me everything about America...What is it like...It is true that..." and they would then ask about certain pictures they've seen or certain stories they've been told about America...Oh, HOW we take so much for granted....It is all of their dreams to make it to America some day....

This is an Ethiopian grocery store:
We bought some grains and rice and such for this mom..She just wanted food...her family is always hungry:
Loved all these happy children coming back from school:
Visiting another family:

We ate at the "lucy" restaurant...thought this was neat:
I loved meeting my nephew Nathan's bio family...
It was SO amazing to see all the pictures they have up of him around their home...They are ALL pictures that my sister has sent them:
We ate at one of the traditional Ethiopian restaurants one night where we were entertained by dancers...I just really think their dancing is so cool:
Another neat God story is HOW this below family, the Payne Family, called us one day MONTHS AGO and asked IF they could stop by our home and ask us some questions about "adoption"!! I didn't know them at all...but I heard they went to our SURE...WHY NOT? :) So, they came by..asked their questions...and what do you know.....6 months later...I just happen to be in ETHIOPIA as they are picking up their child!! Yes, they were just "thinking" about adoption on our visit to our home..and well..I just happened to be there WHEN they picked up their new son!!! How cool is that!!?? Yes, God is just cool like that:
Oh, I met the most fabulous teenage boys that were being adopted by a woman, Kim, that I just loved....these boys are from an "all boys" home WAY FAR OUTSIDE 12 hrs. or something...And, there are something like 175 older boys in this orphanage...Well, Kim, my new friend, has adopted 5 of them!! She has raised 6 bio children and now has adopted 5 teens from this Boys Orphanage...So awesome!! This boy's orphanage SOUNDS amazing (well, you amazing as an orphanage can be)...It is a christian orphanage and the boys are taught English and are transitioning to America VERY WELL!! CCI has a few other of these teen boys on her "wait list" on line!! If you've EVER considered an older boy...this would be a GREAT place to adopt from!! There is ONE particular boy on CCI's site that these boys swear is the BEST boy there...They told us HOW he makes the best grades, he's the smartest, is kind with the younger children and would make a wonderful son to someone!! They pray EVERY DAY that their turn will come...that they will get a family!! I'll be happy to point ANYONE to that particular child on CCI's site!! I can also put you in touch with "KIM" if you would like to chat and learn more about her GREAT experience with her boys from this orphanage!!!! Oh, LOVED these boys...just fabulous kids:
More sites walking down the road:
BUT from everything that happened on this trip: from meeting LL's birth family (which I'll blog some more about in my next post) to meeting our son ( a "waiting child" that met no one's parameters) to seeing Korah, traveling away from the city, etc...NOTHING struck my heart strings LIKE THE WAITING CHILDREN!! It's THOSE children that KNOW WHY you are taking their pics..and are hoping and praying that THIS picture WILL DO THE TRICK!! Lots of children found homes from our trip...Some children had been waiting a long time...others ONLY had to wait for days or weeks for their forever family to find them....BUT SO MANY OTHERS ARE STILL WAITING!! I want to tell you about these children ONE MORE TIME before I go:
This, above, is my niece standing with 3 "waiting children" They don't come together...They are two brothers (ages 8 and 4) and a "single" girl age 7!! EVERYONE that meets these children LOVES them!! The brothers are healthy, sweet, kind, happy brothers!! They love each other and would make WONDERFUL sons to anyone that would adopt them...The 7 year old girl has HIV..and might be the cutest thing I've ever seen!! Her beauty and smile alone would make a family proud for a life time!! She is a DOLL and has the BEST personality EVER!! The last I heard, these children were still waiting!! They are with AGCI..and you can go to their website and email or call about these children IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE INFO: !!! Pass it along and TELL people about these waiting children..I met them..we loved them..and they were fabulous kids!! They just need a family!!! COULD IT BE YOU????? Someone you know?? If nothing else, PLEASE pray for them to find their family!!

**Ok, I've run out of steam and pictures for now...I REALLY want to do a BETTER job advocating for those that wait!! That's my New Year's Resolution....TO NOT FORGET ABOUT THOSE WE'VE LEFT BEHIND!!! I hope you'll join me this year AND PRAY these children to their forever families....Happy Saturday to you all, kj


  1. Great post! Just a hit about stopping caffeine withdrawal next time-buy caffeine tablets. I buy No-Doze when I work night duty (I'm a nurse) or before a gym class. Completely safe. Buy from a drug store. 2 tabs has about the same caffeine as a diet coke can.

  2. WOW! Just incredible. God is good. All the time!

  3. Awesome. Beautiful. Sad. Heartbreaking. Hopeful. Godly. Awesome.

  4. You are VERY inspiring to me.....I too would love to stop by and ask you many questions....and I may just have to do that, we live in Chattanooga! I can talk to someone from the agency but I would just like to have a "hands on" talk with someone who has walked down this road. We are in the very beginnings of this adoption process. We've made the decision to adopt, received our information packet yesterday, and have filled out the preliminary app. We are a bit "stuck" with needing to raise money but I believe that God is in complete control of our journey! I have opened up an esty store to sell these pencil/crayon rolls that I sew. I may just have to send you a couple to test out and then maybe you'd be willing to advocate for our great cause!!!
    The "him" has a double meaning. We are doing the for Him {God} but also for a him {little boy}! I have started a blog to share our journey down this beautiful road of making the orphans out there "ONE LESS"!!
    Thanks for sharing your journey.....I visit here daily and LOVE hearing all that you do!! Kera Hughes

  5. Loved following your journey everyday. Some days there just are no words..... God is good. SO good. ALL the time. ♥ Praying for your Wes and for those who wait. There are days when you just feel so broken for those who wait. With your posts I'm reminded there is Hope. Hope in Jesus, HOPE for the orphan. We just must continue to advocate to the fullest to ensure their voices are heard. God bless you KJ!

  6. WOW. So amazing...I know going to Ethiopia is going to be so life-changing for us. And I can't wait to read that book...have heard so much about it!!

  7. I loved reading about your trip. I emailed Kelly when I saw her mention "south" of Addis on her blog. I am waiting/dying/eager to get my biological brothers home from the Wolaytta region. She did graciously (amazed me) email me back and said you went there. They should be moving to Addis soon though because my court date is this month! I was just getting neurotic because I never hear anything about that area, so I wondered about it. :-)

  8. LOVE your stories....we need to hear them....need to be reminded to never stop advocating. Never stop remembering the needs of others!!!

    *By the way reading Hole In The Gospel right now- LOVE IT!!!

  9. Great post. Love all of the pictures and stories and details. Love you too! Thanks for sharing.

  10. You don't know me but I love your blog! You inspire me to do more. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  11. What amazing stories you have! It is so humbling seeing the pictures and hearing about how so many struggle with obtaining the absolute necessities in life. So sad. I pray I make it to Ethiopia someday to adopt a little one and make a change like you have been doing.


Thank you for your kind words!!