How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
And, please link to The Wayfarer Adoption Blog by putting my button on
your blog so others can use this resource too. Please link to this blog when ever you can and whenever you re-post things (or images) you have found here. Thanks!
The solid tabs are links to my other blogs for books and family. Check them out if you are interested.
Welcome to the journey!

Monday, February 28, 2011

paperwork after you are home, what if USCIS makes a mistake? A change in date of birth lengthens process too.

It has been my experience that when you come into the country and submit all your papers and USCIS makes a mistake on your child's perm resident card then you are about a month behind on all papers touching USCIS from that point on. If you change your child's date of birth this will also lengthen the process due to the fact that they have to verify this at every single turn. This is our general time-line for papers after we came home with the boys.

Child 1
  1. home in Aug 08
  2. card came in Sept. 08
  3. USCIS error
  4. fixed with new card by Jan 09 (4 months)
  5. ATIN #took 12 weeks (or 3 months) mid Jan to April 10th.
  6. validation (4 months) and birth certificate (an additional 3 months) March to Oct 2009
  7. COC took 6 months. Applied in October 2009, had to re-submit papers due to date of birth change in March 2010. Got it in April 2010. (this was also lengthened by the dob change.)
  8. SS# applied Jan 18, 2011 received .............. March???? 8 weeks (or 2 months)? The estimate was 14 days.

Child 2
  1. home in Aug 08
  2. card came in Sept. 08 NO errors
  3. ATIN #took 8 weeks (2 months) mid Jan to mid March 2009
  4. validation (4 months) and birth certificate (an additional 3 months) March to Oct 2009
  5. COC took 5 months. Applied in October 2009, had to re-submit papers due to date of birth change in Feb 2010. Got it in March 2010. (this was also lengthened by the dob change.)
  6. SS# applied Jan 18, 2011 received Feb 14. about 4 weeks (one month). The estimate was 14 days.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What about Disruption?

With the number of kids coming home from Ethiopia, an older kids at that..... the number of disruptions and the fact that it does happen more often than expected, is seeping out of hiding to take it's place in the reality of adoption from anywhere.
I want to share with you an inspirational story of a family who adopted a child from a disruption. No, not from Ethiopia, but I could find stories on that too. (maybe another post). I found this to be a great story, not hiding the hard, but a good story of truth and hardship. Check out Wanted.

I also thought I would mention that the Adoption Exchange and Rainbow Kids and Colorado Coalition of Adoptive Families (also look at the resources tab for COCAF) have a lot of resource. If you have a kid who has come from hard places and you are struggling and so is your child, check out these resources.

Of late I have notice a lot of posts on various sites on this topic and helps offered from those who have dealt with it. Some of those suggestions have included: respite care; therepy for grief, trauma, abuse, abandonment, RAD, etc; neurofeedback; residential treatment/care; residential situations where the child is out of the home at a school that can deal with the child's special needs and home on weekends. Just some ideas to put out there. I actually know of families who have done each of these things and some multiple.

A note for parents starting the adoption process. 
I would highly and strongly suggest that you get in writing the policy of your selected adoption agency (or make it part of your inquiry before deciding) for potential disruptions. Not that any of us plan on this or expect it, but what if. You want to know your agency has a contingency plan, is able to provide help with hard cases, can make a re placement for the child if needed or offer resources for help, therapy, etc, and offer resources for respite care while you re group. Your home-study agency should also have resources for helping you with post placement issues as well as possible disruption. Be sure to ask. If your adoption agency or home-study agency does not or can not do this, then you can make your own plan, gather the resources available in your area. This is your circle to which you can turn in case of severe trauma, abuse, RAD. You can get all the help you can before deciding to disrupt, to hopefully prevent it. Of course it does happen, and you need to have the right resources in place. This is really important.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Throw a Lifeline, Build a Pipeline!! | Our Glimmer of Hope

Throw a Lifeline, Build a Pipeline!! | Our Glimmer of Hope

Interested in seeing clean water everywhere in Ethiopia? There are lots of options.
You can partner with this family to bring clean water to an area in the Sidamo region.
Check it out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ginny Doll

Just wanted to note that among doll makers Ginny Doll is a quality brand and doll. They have been making dolls a long time. My mom played with them, I played with them and your little girl can too!
Check out these cute African American Ginny dolls. These dolls can be bought many places, I have linked to the Doll Market, the largest on line doll store (with great sales too). They currently have some Madame Alexanders on sale and clothing too. They also carry Lee Middleton which is a super great big baby doll.

See their cute Ginny dolls:
Baby doll

Vintage baby doll

Girl doll

Mother doll

The Stinta doll is a way to show the love of both the birth mother and the adoptive mother. This is one of those classic flip dolls with a brown mom on one side and a white mom on the other. Very cool. These are made by a widow in Nigeria and are being sold by a family here waiting for their daughter to come home. Please go check out the site.

eBook, The Complete Guide to Adoption Grants and Loans

eBook, The Complete Guide to Adoption Grants and Loans

This book is now available to buy from Resources 4 Adoption.
I have not read this book, but the notice of it's availability comes from the Rainbow Kids weekly communicator. It sounds like a good resource.

Adoption Advocates International News: AAI-Ghana---good news for large families!

Adoption Advocates International News: AAI-Ghana---good news for large families!: "Ghana Gives Go-Ahead to Larger Families We are happy to share that Social Welfare in Ghana has recently become more open to acce..."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: Yafi's Family

Yafi's Family is a great book. These are the things I love about this book:
1. the child is a boy
2. he is adopted as an older child
3. he is orphaned by death
4. he is Ethiopian
5. his parents retained his birth name
6. He has siblings in his adoptive home

I like these things because my boys can relate to each of these things very very well. It is a story about another boy, yet a story about themselves as well. The story is unique in that there are very few books about Ethiopian adoption, few books about older child adoption and even fewer about children who were orphaned by death rather than relinquished or abandoned. I would highly recommend this book for your home library. I think we will read this one over and over. As a note, I would suggest talking about feelings after you read this book and giving lots of affirmation. It triggered some sad feelings of loss the first time we read it for one of my sons. He likes this book, because it helps him feel like he is not alone in his loss. That is valuable.

Book review: E is for Ethiopia

E is for Ethiopia is a great book. Using the alphabet as organization for an overview of interesting facts about Ethiopia the books it combines explanations and fabulous photographs of Ethiopia to share some of the wonder of the country with it's reader. I love this book because it is not a text book and is very interesting to my boys . They can see the culture of their birth in beautiful photos and words which helps them to connect to it. I also like that it is written by Ethiopians. They have the passion to pass along and I feel they do this well with this simple yet beautiful kids book.
Check it out on Amazon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

FREE Download what to expect the first year home with your child

I wanted to share with you an AWESOME reference. This is one of the coolest things I have seen available FREE for adoptive parents. Having been that parent asking all the questions the first year home and doing all the research, I see this as one of the most valuable tools a parent could put in their toolbox. Go download this at EMK right away and use it, or give it to a family who is in their first year or still waiting for their anticipated child. This is a great resource. Realistic Expectations the First Year Home by EMK press.

From the topics included you can see that this is a well thought out and highly helpful 50 pages. This is only a few of the topics, go to the link to see all of them and download.

Strategies for Building Attachment 
by Karleen Gribble, BRurSc, PhD,

Top Ten Tips for Successful First Year Parenting
by Deborah Gray, MSW, MPA

Why Grandma Can’t Pick Up the Baby
by Sheena Macrae and Karleen Gribble

Alone No More...Recognizing Post Adoption Depression
by Heatherly Bucher

Adding The Oldest
by Terra Trevor

Unexpected Special Needs
by Nancy Hemenway

Positive Outcome:
How Can You Combat the Effects of an Orphanage

By Mary Beth Williams, PhD, LCSW, CTS

The Impact of Trauma on the Adopted Child and Ten Keys to Healing 
Trauma in the Adopted Child
by B. Bryan Post

How to Find a Therapist Experienced in Attachment and/or Trauma
by the Attachment Disorder Network

Sensory Integration And the Internationally Adopted Child
By Barbara Elleman, MHS, OTR/L, BCP

Help Your Child Ward Off a Mad Attack
by Lynne Namke, EdD

Strategies to Deal with Anger and Power Struggles
by Christopher J. Alexander, PhD

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

bedroom decore - a random thought

So, I was thinking today about what I would do differently if we were planning for our boys after referral and court. One really random, but important thing is their room decor. Being that they were 3, that not infant/ not big boy stage, I choose a zoo theme. I painted big faces of animals in frames on the wall, put a jungle animal border up and made their blankets jungle/zoo animal theme. I did only the basic as I figured they would outgrow this theme soon enough. What I did not know is that they were going to be terrified of animals and have an aversion to anything soft and cuddly since they had never been exposed to it before. I am sooooo thankful I did not paint any lions, to which they were terrified and started crying and screaming over. In truth it took them a year before they were interested in any stuffed animals, of which I actually sat down and MADE many special ones to go with the room theme (one of those was a lion). I used the Pottery Barn kids ideas from a catalog that year and made the animals in it and painted the paintings on the walls. Ok it is really cute and great looking....... but not so great for the boys. I would have been much better off with a car theme.

Kids from Ethiopia are often afraid of animals and don't really know what to do with stuffed animals. Oh, I know there are always exceptions, but still, I would stay away from animal themes. I do know that most boys have a fascination with autos and planes, and they are familiar. So, either would be a good pick. If I were just starting and knew about he animal thing..... I would choose to paint road signs and traffic lights on the walls, paint or buy a border of a street with cars on it.  I would give them one of those semis that holds a ton of matchbox cars. I would paint their names on street signs. And......... they would not be afraid of it, they would think it was heaven.

Maybe that is what we will change the theme to when they do outgrow the zoo, which they have now become accustomed to and like. :) Just a thought.

Webinars from CASE for only $10 !!!!

I think this is well worth passing on!
Find the flyer here:

February 9, 2011
Dear Colleague,

The Center for Adoption Support and Education is pleased to continue our
community education webinar series to meet the needs of the adoption

In developing our educational series, we chose topics that we know will
benefit foster parents, waiting adoptive parents, as well as those who have
completed their adoptions. These webinars will allow your parents to sit back,
in the comfort of their homes, and participate in learning that is crucial for
meeting the needs of their children and families.

Recognizing the importance of ongoing education with respect to both pre
and post adoption issues, we are proud to offer THREE webinars for a
discounted rate of $10.00.  This discount was made possible through
support from the Debra Steigerwaldt Waller Foundation for Adoption, Ltd,
Chairman and C.E.O. of Jockey International, Inc.  With the leadership of
Debra Waller, Jockey through its corporate citizenship initiative, Jockey
Being Family ® has helped raise awareness and availability of post-
adoption services. 

We would very much appreciate your assistance in spreading the 
word by placing the attached program flyer with our upcoming 
webinars in your offices, and forwarding the flyer to your families. 

Certificates of attendance/completion are available for foster parent
continuing education or to document fulfillment of the educational
requirements for international adoption according to the Hague

Thank you very much for your collaboration - together we can make a


Debbie Riley, M.S.
C.E.O., The Center for Adoption Support and Education

Sunday, February 6, 2011

BFC Ink. dolls

A little smaller a 12 " doll is also available at various retailers. I know I saw them at Walmart. And you can buy them online too. I found them on Amazon, etc.
The BFC Ink dolls are super cute and poseable. They have cute clothing. They are bigger than Barbie and far far more appropriate and smaller than American Girl. They have modern girl stories and are super cool and have great character. I like them. I like the cute variety better than the mature variety. I found them listed on Sears, Target, Kmart, Walmart, Kohls, Toys R Us and Amazon.

This is their own web site.

more mature Calista  Buy on Amazon 12.99

very cute Calista buy on Amazon 
Target seems to have these cute ones too. Maybe more in store. K-Mart has them as well, maybe more in store.

Dolls on Clearance- Madame Alexander- Walmart

I just thought I would let you know that the 18" Madame Alexander dolls at Walmart start to go on clearance about this time of year. I saw them in the clearance at one Walmart already. At the one I regularly go to they are still in stock with all their accessories. So, this year some Walmarts may not clearance but continue to carry them as regular stock. I still don't see them on line at Walmart or anywhere else. Toys R Us has carried a variation in the past as well. I like this particular African American doll because she has curly hair and you can play with it. She is a great doll for girls of all ages and fits the clothing from American Girl. She is well made and is so much cuter than any other 18" doll out there, in my opinion. The doll runs from $20 to $40. That is quite affordable.
From the Madame Alexander web site:
  • Mia Bella (Toys R Us) They used to be called Favorite Friends and they can still be purchased online.
  • Doll Factory (FAO Schwarz) build your own doll!!!!!
  • Friends 4 Life (Walmart) actually now called Friends Boutique
  • Fashion Doll (Target)
  • Alexander Girlz (Costco)  not found online
  • Dolly & Me (Sears, Dillards, Kohls)
  • What-A-Doll (Kmart) mot found online
Each of these lines are the same 18" doll but have different clothing. They are sold only at the location they are marketed for and not available as an Alexander line with Alexander retailers. They are limited editions made for one year and replaced with a new version for the following season. 

You can buy them at Walmart, Toys R Us and on line at these sites.
These Carry the Favorite Friends line:
I also found many of them on Amazon you have to put in the full name Madame Alexander and the sub title Mia Bella, Favorite Friends, etc.

Mia Bella found on Amazon but not toys R Us online, Should have this label in stores Toys R Us. $30 aprox
Favorite Friends found on Amazon and other online stores, and Sears. $25-40

Alexander Girlz
 found on Amazon but not Costco online, check in stores
Dollie & Me at Kohls 34.99, Dillards $35
 Gabriella Dollie and Me at Sears. $29.99
Friends 4 Life (2010 version from Walmart) This dolly lives at our house and she is wonderful.
Now called  Friends Boutique.

Hearts 4 Hearts Ethiopian doll at Target (I think she is a 12") Not Madame Alexander.

See other posts on dolls here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Look

I changed things around a bit for the three column look. I think it will make it more user friendly in the end. So, I had to find a new look to fit it all nicely. I hope you like it and that it works for you. Some of the links on the side bars are still under construction, but most are newly refurbished and added to. Take a look around and enjoy. Let me know what you think! Would you like to see any other link section included?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I wanted to share with  you our experience with Compassion International.
When we lived in South America we had the opportunity to attend a church where there is a Compassion center. It was great to visit it and see the work God was doing there. We visited several sites while we lived there. We were so impressed by the work they do that we asked them to give us a child to sponsor. We were able to go to a site and ask about any children attending who were not yet sponsored. At that time we were introduced to Marina. A 5 year old girl who had been attending for a year but needed a sponsor. Your donations to "unsponsored children" go to kids like her. So, we met with her a few times and were able to give her some gifts of clothes and toys and school supplies while we were there. On our last visit before coming back to the US we met her mother as well. Her mother appeared to be drunk and tried to give us her daughter to take with us to the US. Other than it not being ethicical and she not being an orphan available for adoption, we would have done it. But, we were able to sponsor her until she moved out of the reach of a Compassion Center, about 4 years. We continue to pray for her. We then sponosored Daniel, about 2 years, until he moved and now have had sponsorship for Jhamil, about 4 years now. This is a boy who is going to go far if he gets the chance. Smart, kind, and a real go getter. Great letter writer and so very personable. I pray we get to sponsor him for years to come...... and that he gets into the leadership program. If anyone can do it he can. We love to write to him and encourage him to be all he can be. He writes back quickly and responds to our questions. He is a great kid. We sent a little picture book from snapfish to each of our sponsored kids of our family. That was fun and we have had great letter conversation about it. It is fun to find things we have in common too. Like chickens and weather and what they are learning in school and Bible class.

We also sponsor a child in Ethiopia. When we were there to pick up our sons, the girls and I were able to meet Oliade and his family. It was a wonderful experience. Compassion provided a translator and a worker from the Center also accompanied us. We went to the Compassion Center to see where he learns and to meet him. His mother came too and they brought us wonderful drawings and flowers. Then we went to their home. We met all his 7 siblings and father. They served us the most yummy cinnamon tea ever. I bought some to bring home. It is soooooo good. And of course the yummy popcorn that comes with all hot drinks. It is like kettle corn. And bread. That was a sacrifice as bread was hard to find while we were there due to fasting days for the Orthodox church. They had the cutest little kitty. We had to walk a long ways on a rugged road and then a foot path like a hiking trail. They live in a one room home made of concrete blocks and mud stucco. It has a tin roof and a heavy door with bolts. There are no windows and a curtain to divide the room, dirt floors. There is one bed and that doubles as a seating place. They cook over a camp stove. They are fortunate to have a toilet house out back. They saved up and built that house themselves. I am so proud of them. They send the kids to school. I can tell they are educated and devoted. This is a truly great family striving to pull out of poverty for their kids. It is next to impossible in Ethiopia to do so. Education does not guarantee you a way out. What is there to go to? No industry to speak of. Maybe in time..... by the time Oliade finishes school we hope he will be primed to enter a new industry leading work force. He is a super smart kid and excels in school, he is shy, but with accomplishment and love his confidence will grow. He loves science and writes well. We enjoy writing to him to encourage him to do his best and continue in his faith. This is a great family and we hope to be able to sponsor Oliade for a long long time.

So what does your money go toward? Other than a small percentage for office cost, the money is wisely spent in the Compassion Centers. Compassion Centers vary a little bit from region to region, country to country.But this is generally what you would find. A center is located at a partner church and provides before and after school programs to kids who come. Most accepted non sponsored kids as well. If a child is sponsored his siblings can go to the center.  At the center the children receive help with school work, Bible lessons and scripture memory, a hot, nutritious meal, basic hygiene education and medical care. They play sports and do crafts. Each child has a cup and toothbrush and they brush teeth and get a shower at the center.
Our church has now created a partnership with one particular center in Ethiopia. Your church can do this too. Get families to sponsor kids from one certain center and you can take trips over to help out the center and meet the kids!

In case you did not know besides the small amount you send each month you can also send up to $200 a year in a family gift and $200 for the center. $15-25 can be sent for Birthdays and Christmas as well. The Christmas gift is spread so that ALL children get a gift. Your child's gift is from you. We like to send all we can to the kids family because they need it and will use it well. We always get reports on what they buy. Clothes, shoes, food, cloth, school supplies. Only occasionally will they get a toy like a soccer ball. Compassion also has great projects for the community. They have pure water projects, HIV projects and food projects which get food to areas in drought and help malnourished kids. Check out their web site for more things they do to help the community. There is a mother and child program which provides nutrition, hygiene and parenting training for mothers of children under 4. They also receive a hot meal and Bible study and mentoring. Some sites are also able to assist the mother in trade training. At age four the children are eligible for the kids program. You can sponsor a mother child program too. They have a leadership program for older kids where the kid goes to leadership training with Compassion and gets to go to the University for a degree. The sponsorship here is a higher cost, but really, nothing like sending a kid here to school. I hope to sponsor Jhamil and Oliade this far. I love those boys and want so much to see them break the cycle of poverty.

Consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Sponsor a Child


The content on The Wayfarer:Ethiopian Adoption Resource Blog is for informational purposes only. We are adoptive parents, but we are not professionals. The opinions and suggestions expressed here are not intended to replace professional evaluation or therapy, or to supersede your agency. We assume no responsibility in the decisions that families make for their children and families. There are many links on this blog. We believe these other sites have valuable information, but we do not necessarily share all of the opinions or positions represented by each site, nor have we fully researched every aspect of each link. Please keep this in mind when visiting the links from this page.
Thank You.

A Links Disclaimer

I post a lot of links. I do so because I feel that the particular page has good information and much to offer. I do not necessarily support all that each site has to say or promote. I trust you to sift the links for information you feel is worthwhile to you. Each person's story and situation are unique and different things will be useful or not useful to each one in different ways. Please use your own discretion when accessing links and information.