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!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Just wanted to let you know that Amazon is offering a FREE kindle book on Adoption. I have not read this book and do not have a Kindle. If I did I would snap this up.  But many of you may have one and this is a good opportunity. It sounds like a great book and one I may just put on my book list to read. The reviews are good too. So, follow this link over and pick up the free book.

Publishers note:

The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family

Authors Jayne E. Schooler and Thomas C. Atwood share insights into every aspect of adoption. This powerful resource addresses the needs and concerns facing adoptive parents while offering encouragement for the journey ahead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adoption Tax info

Ok, I know tax season is now officially over. However, I understand that there are a lot of people, us included, who are having issues getting the refund, or it is just delayed.

Here are two posts on a great resource web page that address the issues.
1. Info on the Adoption Tax Credit
2. Info on the delay
3. 6 things to know

Hope this helps

Monday, April 18, 2011

MOWA/MOWCYA court news

Just wanted to direct your attention to a few newish resources and articles regarding the MOWCYA slowdown.

The actual notice from MOWCYA regarding the slow down -original statement. This is a great thing to read for yourself. It is clear and well laid out with thought and intention. 

Department of State notice regarding a statement issued by MOWCYA more recently affirming the slow down for ethical integrity. While Ethiopia has not stated at this time the actual number it will be reviewing per day, the US Embassy feels that 5 is what can be expected.

An interesting article written as opinion by an Ethiopian national on this topic.

With this in mind, I have had some families note that with their agency families who have received referrals after this proclamation are still receiving court dates for as early as May. It will be interesting to see how things adjust to the new normal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creating A Family

I want to introduce you to a site I just came across. Creating A Family is a great site for finding adoption related information. It is directed at any sort of adoption, domestic or international and includes infertility options.

It contains useful articles and links on infertility, adoption service providers and offers webinars useful for pre adoptive parents. There is a blog with a lot of very interesting posts as well as a radio show. There is currently an interesting article on Adopted kids doing well.  I like the book list they have. They have a great section on adoption including, how to select an agency, special needs, support groups, attachment and bonding, artificial twinning, blending families, birth order, international adoption, etc.....
So, if you have not checked them out before, you should just pop over and see what they have to offer. I think this is a super great resource.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Myth regarding Ethiopian children and RAD

I recently answered a question regarding the myth populated by who knows who regarding Ethiopian children and RAD and attachment difficulty. Basically, I hear this a lot from lots of people: "Ethiopians love their kids so they don't have RAD or attachment problems". This is a myth. This is my response to the question asking if this is true.

Good to be thinking this through before you take the plunge. It is true that children who come to their families through adoption generally have some significant challenges. Each country has it's unique characteristics. While there are similarities in the struggles children coming from the same country have, there are always those who do not fill that same pattern. There are generalized ideas out there about different parts of the world and their orphan care and the subsequent issues the child is likely to face when in their forever home. You are likely well aware of these ideas.
The fact is that children everywhere struggle with attachment and can indeed have RAD. The way they struggle may look different. A child from Russia may have been deprived of physical contact and suffer from being easily over stimulated, among other issues and situations. A child from Ethiopia may have been carried on their mother from day one to the time they are orphaned or able to walk around. That same child may suffer malnutrition, may have seen violence or experienced it. That child may have been required to work at a very young age. He may have been shuffled around to various relatives and neighbors where who knows what happened to him. Many things that are cultural norms. These things have their own disadvantages and present their own unique and equally upsetting challenges when the child comes to their forever home in the Western world, a major cultural norm shift. An orphanage is no place for a child, no matter where it is there are negative effects from being in one. Even if the child we adopt was loved (and treated well by western standards) by his birth-mother there is a break. Trauma of death or relinquishment, trauma of the orphanage (even if it is a "good" one), trauma of being adopted (yes that is a trauma -separated from family of origin permanently, from culture, language, familiar everything). The younger the child the less trauma, the older the child the greater the possibility is that they have suffered additional traumas. Contrary to popular opinion Ethiopia has it's fair share of abuse and trauma to a child. Poverty is a catalyst for a lot of hard things including abuse. The thing about it is that they value children and family, so we get thrown off here by westernizing those values. Standards of what is acceptable are different than what we would feel appropriate here. Each time a child is hurt it breaks their cycle of trust and the more you experience the more you shut down, the harder it is to give and receive love. Yes, it happens, even in Ethiopia.
There is a yahoo group dedicated to parents of adopted Ethiopian kids who have RAD. It is not a small group and they are not all older adoptees. It is good to be aware of this but it is not really a reason to run away. Rather it is a good reason to learn all you can and prepare to parent a hurt child. If you have already adopted you are likely quite familiar with all the attachment parenting and related ideas and maybe everything I have said here. I would say, just be an aware parent. No matter where you child is born he or she has suffered trauma of one sort or another. Your child needs to have her circle of attachment mended. You are her catalyst to healing. No matter where she is from she will grieve; be angry; be confused; reject; regress;  need loads and loads of reassurance and love, nurturing love and stick with it love, from you. If you are ready for this you will do the best you can, and we can only hope the child will too.
If you are interested in stats and papers on abuse in Ethiopia you can check out an earlier post on this with links to papers, journals and stats on this issue.

Monday, April 11, 2011

car seat/ baby carriers

Do you do this?
or do you do this?

Even this too much is bad news for baby bonding:

Just do a simple search and you will come up with a multitude of ways to carry a baby. I think that the style that attaches the baby to the mom are the very best you could imagine. There are so many varieties. No, this post is not a recommendation on one over another. I think they all look great. We used the horrid, old fashioned sort that are impossible to do alone with our first two, lack of knowledge prompted this. At least it was better than the car seat turned carrier. The second two were too big when they came to us and we used an Ergo minimally. The old fashoined hip hug hold with mom's arms is what we used mostly. So, I really can not comment on the best one for this or that. But, please feel free to put a plug in for your favorite one in the comments here!!!!! I am quite sure others would appreciate it.

This post is to say that I see way too many babies  in car seat carriers outside of the car. And yes, I have witnessed a few adopted or foster babies in these. I just want to say that this is not the way to carry your child, adopted or not. The big plastic baby chair for the car needs to stay in the car. Please do not carry your child in that thing. A sling or ergo will do the trick in the store, other wise hold the baby in your arms. Sure, they get heavy, but it is not a bad thing to develop muscles, but it is a bad thing to develop attachment issues due to the car seat being used outside of the car.  Even the stroller.... ok, I know it is sometimes really handy and a good thing to have on hand. But, not much and not regularly. In the mall, the store, the airport? Carry that baby on you. Even a walk is best with baby hugs. I know most adoptive parents would never dream of using the car seat for a carrier or the stroller tons. But, just in case, and for your friends.... I want to give you three articles on this topic to read for your information and to give to others.

The Connected Child

This weekend we attended the Empowered to Connect conference in Denver. It was wonderful. We are big fans of the book, The Connected Child by Dr. Karen Purvis. 

We have found many of the ideas in here very useful for all of our kids. I am going to give some personal advice on here. I do not usually do that, I tend to favor giving you tons of information and letting you decide what to do with it. However, with this one..... I think every adoptive family needs this book. I feel that if you have kids in your home you should read this book and implement it with the kids you have before you add new children to the home. Then it is all in place for your kids who are on their way to your family, and you are all practiced up and your kids now won't be asking you why you are doing it different with  the new siblings. I do not think this is strictly a parenting technique for adopted kids but rather what all kids can benefit by. I love this book it is really great. It works for us and we have the diverse kids over here, ha, don't we all!

This book talks about the basic connection your child needs and why it is broken and how to fix it. It gives you ways to implement basic and really important things like: obey the first time, be respectful, no hurts, calm and gentle actions and voice, asking for what you need, etc.

Did you know that your child will mirror the type of attachment style you have? If you have a secure attachment style this will come easier for them, if you have an insecure attachment style then they too will exhibit this type of attachment. How do you know what your style is? Some self examination is in order to find out your attachment style. It is probable that in all your training you have actually had some sort of "ah-ha" moment regarding your own attachment style, grief process and well, all sorts of connections to your child hood events and why you do what you do now. If not, maybe it is time. Dr. Purvis encourages parents to seek out their own story and embrace it and grow from it. She said over and over if you as the parent have not done significant healing of your own you will not be able to lead your child to healing. Here at our house, we can attest to this as truth. Never fear, now is not too late. As you change and grow so will your child. Healing begets healing.

You can also access this information in video clips on Empowered To Connect.
You can buy the videos from TCU.

I strongly suggest that you make this the top priority in reading and implementing BEFORE you bring your child home. And, if you did not do it before, well get it now and start doing this. It is a wonderful tool.

MOWA/MOWCYA court news phone conference April 6, 2011

Children's Hope International posted it's commentary review of the April 6th phone conversation. Read it here.
This is the pack of slides that go along with this presentation. Slides.

This is a very good presentation. It seems that the main thing that they are working to change is to have USCIS verify the orphan status of the child before the child  goes to court so that when Ethiopia declares the child legally and irrevocably adopted by the new family then the Embassy can be sure that the status of the child also follows US guidelines and is as sure as possible that this is true and verified fact. This is a good idea. It is also what the court is hoping to do so that would work in tandem.

I appreciate that the court is saying that it will push through those who have been given a court date. After that they will implement better investigations to verify orphan status of children. Due to this they will not process as many per day. Then they will see how that goes and alter as needed. I am glad that all the major parties are invested in ethical practice and will be working together to ensure this. I believe that this will help to bring the number up again in time. Of, course only for those children who are really and truly adoptable. This is of course in everyone's best interest not just the child. Really who wants to adopt a child who will later tell you that their situation is quite different than what you were told.

Sounds like encouraging news all around. Not fast, but it is the effort to maintain "open for adoption" status and to clean up ethics that will benefit the program the most in the long run.

USCIS error on permenant resident card

It sometimes happens that USCIS makes an error on your child's permanent resident card (green card). If this happens you need to file the I-90. You DO NOT need to pay the fee. Be sure to mark that it is an error by USCIS. Here is the link to the instructions.
This is the form I-90.

IF this does happen, take care of it right away. It took 3 months for us to get our new card.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

USCIS presentation 4-6-11

Here is the visual of the presentation from USCIS phone conference. Still waiting on verbal transcript of that.

Twinning or more...

Just wanted to pass along this super great post by a mom who has done more than artificially twin her kids. She actually has 5 kids all age nine at the moment. It is an excellent read and picture of what this can look like. There are lots of cautions out there, all with good intent and all good things to think about. But, the reality is sometimes you don't know you are creating this situation. You think your child is older or younger than he actually is..... you get artificial twins. Or, the child you have fallen in love with on the waiting child list just happens to be a "twin" with a child you have at home. Is it the end of the world? Should you avoid it?
Read this mom's post: Stillwater

In our case, we adopted two boys who were of undetermined age distance apart. Ends up being about 8 months. Yes, we have Like Twins. But, they are so not twins and we are able to put them in different grades which helps a lot. I think it has it's definate benefits and challanges. I don't think one outweighs the other. Just what is best for your family.......... of course if you don't always know that is what you are getting, well you just have to adjust. That is an important skill in the world of international adoption, not to mention parenting in general!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

questions for choosing an agency

This is a great list of things that you should find out from your agency before signing with them. I realize that this is for a different country but it still applies to Ethiopia and any other similar international adoption program. Check it out here.

MOWA/MOWCYA court news

USCIS announcement. This really just confirms what we already know................ Still waiting for news from parents who are there and in process to see what is really happening. I know without an official MOWYCA statement things are sort of up in the air feeling...... and they may not give one, or soon anyway. It may just work itself into some sort of new normal. Will will all wait some more and see.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An interesting paper

Article of report of investigation in Ethiopian Adoptions from the Netherlands (I believe). See it here.  I would like to note that this is a lengthy read and may be a bit difficult due to the two and three culture and language use. However, I did read the entire thing and as it states in the beginning, that though there are some natural concerns there is nothing to prove that all are unethical.  This is a good report to show what is causing concern and some of the errors made when using two languages as well as when trying to provide many adoptive parents their new children quickly.

I would like to note that I do not post this to be alarmist. That is not my nature, nor is it the purpose of this blog. I post it for informative reasons only and feel that there is cause for the reform of the system but not for panic. I think parents should be patient when waiting for their child. I think it is important to check your agency and it is important to do what you can. I will state that due to these sorts of concerns we requested children who were not abandoned or relinquished. I can only verify the accuracy of the paperwork of one of my children. The other is unknown. I have no reason to suspect it was falsified. Both are orphaned by death. I think, under the current circumstances and the reading of the sections of the law in Ethiopia that this is in line with what they prefer there as well.

I want to note that if you are to read this report that there are a few things not stated.
  • This is a relatively old report an many many things have changed since it's writing as well as as some of the laws stated which were not in place when some of the case studies took place. Things are different now and will be different in even a few months, years.....
  • Achild must have police paperwork in order to be available for adoption (at least as of 2008). 
  •  The social worker who is not an employee of the orphanage or adoption agency is the one who fills out the paperwork sent to the court. Therefore the info could be different from that which the orphanage or agency filled out to send to the adoptive parents. 
  •  The court has it's own persons filling out the paperwork  (MOWCYA letter, etc.) and it has often been different from that which the orphanage or agency submitted in the child's dossier. There does not seem any reason for this and after the court has filed this paperwork and it is in error it does not take back and redo it. Therefore if the referral papers and the adoption court papers differ it is the fault of the court not of the agency or orphanage. I believe this will change with the new flow they have over there for the papers in MOWCYA. This is a good thing. 
  • In my experience, the agency sends the report to the orphange where the child came from, the orphanage sends to the relative or if they do not know the address, holds in a file for a certain time in case the relative comes. 
  • When an orphanage is in overflow because of the number of children there are often private homes the children stay in and that is considered the same as the orphanage. Not an issue.
  • Finally there are many places where mis-communications can become questionable, not all things are documented formally as it is not required. (maybe this will change too). The information changes hands many times and between several different entities both formal and informal. I think there is a natural limitation to this in any circumstance. I believe that this will be considered in the new formation of things. Info is taken in by so many different people from so many sources that it is certainly easy to see how slight discrepancies could become large ones. Ever played "telephone"? I am not saying this is ok, I am hoping this will be remedied by the new format they are currently working out to make things more ethical. Because of this I don't think any one person can easily be indited on most of these cases as it is difficult to decipher where the error actually occurred. Many of these sound like it occurs in the court to me...... but could have originated elsewhere.
So that is my opinion of this paper. I find it to be lacking a great deal of pertinent information, but is a good idea of why there needs to be streamlining and change for the better of all.  I would not take this paper as proof of wrongdoing for most of these cases. Some are given court attention and rulings.

Tax Credit update 2011

 TI wanted to let you know some current news on the Adoption Tax Credit. This is from the North American Council on Adoptable Children. There are many great articles linked here. The following is only a partial from their site.

Update on the Adoption Tax Credit

In the last few weeks, NACAC has gathered information about what’s happening with the adoption tax credit. Almost all of the parents we heard from had not yet received their adoption tax credit, although
most have received their regular refund. We have also heard reports that the IRS is reviewing up
to 90 percent of the adoption tax credit filings, although we do not know if this number is accurate.

A few families have reported to us that they received their refund with the adoption tax credit. Although this was a very small proportion of the people who responded to us, it is heartening to know that the credits are being paid.

For those who are experiencing delays, there are two different situations:

The IRS is informing families that the credit is under review and may take 45 to 90 days to process. The IRS is requesting documentation of the adoption. In most cases, families sent the correct documentation with their return but it has somehow been separated. Please re-send the documentation, being sure to include your name and social security number on each page.

If you haven’t received your regular refund, we recommend that you contact the IRS and ask why this part of your return has not been processed.

Anyone who feels like they are being treated unfairly or who has a financial hardship can consider contacting their taxpayer advocate.

Please contact us at
to report any unusual problems you are having or if you need help with a specific issue.
                                                                                                                                                         Webinar on the Adoption Tax Credit 

NACAC is hosting another webinar on the adoption tax credit. Join us on April 11 at 2 pm central (3 pm eastern, 1 pm mountain, noon pacific) to learn about how to access the credit for adoptions from 2005 to
2011. Fees are $15 for NACAC members and $20 for non-members.    Register here

Christian Alliance for Orphans 7th Orphan summit

The Christian Alliance for Orphans will hold their seventh orphan summit, SUMMIT VII, on May 12-13, 2011 in Louisville, KY.
Tom DiFilipo along with Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Chuck Johnson of the National Council For Adoption, are the scheduled luncheon presenters on the state of intercountry adoption. While we have attended six of the seven Summits, this is the first year that we will support the SUMMIT by presenting. We greatly appreciate the work of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and value our growing collaborations.
Details on SUMMIT VII including registration, can be found at any of the following links: Summit Events, Special Features, and Sessions.
We look forward to seeing you at the Joint Council Conference and Medical Institute on April 11-13 (click here for details or to register) and at SUMMIT VII.
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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.