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!

Friday, December 30, 2011

True change for Ethiopian adoptions?

Here is a recent article discussing the actions or lack of action on the part of the USCIS in ensuring ethical adoptions in Ethiopia. It is a good read.
While I disagree that they are doing nothing, I can certainly see how the more "animated" objectors would think so. Things take time, diplomacy, etc. I would do it differently, but I am not on the inside, I don't really know what they are or are not doing. I believe they are working. I have no choice but to wait and see and voice my opinion, when educated and not emotional, as opportunity arises.

In my opinion it would be a good idea for the process to work something like this:
  1. the government of ET would receive paperwork on children accepted at orphanages at one consolidated office for all children nationwide.
  2. then make sure each child is eligible for adoption,
  3. then submit the child's file to the government appointed office for adoption. 
  4. Then adoption agencies would be on a list for referrals from the government organization. They would receive the child's paperwork file when deemed adoptable by ET. (They would be on a list rated by their rating of ethics in adoption. The government would receive funds from adoption to cover costs, no extra. Agencies the same. Agencies work with ET government employes not orphanages. The in country coordinator works with the gov. and families when there.)
  5. Then, the US agencies would then present the child who is said to be available for adoption to the USCIS (BEFORE giving as a referal to a family)
  6. then the USCIS would investigate, say yse/no  we will/won't approve this child, 
  7. then referral for adoptable children goes out to waiting parents,
  8. then paperwork, court, embassy, home. 
Sure, longer waits to referrals, but the other side is great! Ethical adoptions, faster process after referral. Less waiting in the orphanage when the child knows they have a family coming. Better for all. Of course there are some care of children considerations needed to keep the children safe and well during such a wait, but that is another discussion.  Just my opinions. I hope they are working toward true change. I hope.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taxes 2011

Here is an informative site on adoption tax credit for 2011.,,id=236883,00.html

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Article about ethics and Ethiopia

This is a good article, well worth your time to read it and let it sink in. I think that most of us went into adopting from Ethiopia hoping that it would maintain the ethics we believed it had. Sadly to say they were lacking then and are being exposed as lacking now. We are feel that from the checking we have done that all was ethical for us and our sons. We know others who have a different story. Sad to say.  What do you tell your children? The truth. But, wow, how hard is that!

Follow this link to a good story on this topic.

How Ethiopia's Adoption Industry Dupes Families and Bullies Activists

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Newly home families

Interesting article and video on some kids newly home from Ethiopia.
The first family has not been home long enough to see any issues, but they WILL. The second family is having some realistic issues and dealing with them.
See it here.

Empowered to Connect: Christmas stinks somtimes

New Empowered To Connect Resource: Why Christmas Stinks Sometimes

Link to Empowered To Connect

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 08:54 AM PST
It was the third day in a row, or maybe the fourth. I don’t exactly recall. I do, however, vividly remember coming home from work and being met by my normally patient and long-suffering wife declaring in an overly frustrated tone “Here, you deal with him. I’m done!”
The kids were home for Christmas break and one son in particular was being more than a handful.  This was very uncharacteristic for him.  The first day we thought it was simply childhood Christmas excitement.  By the second day, we were beginning to lose our patience.  When I arrived home this day my wife was almost at her wits’ end.  Nagging, whining, crying, bugging siblings, arguing, you name it.  But why?  Didn’t he know Christmas was almost here?  Had he forgotten that Santa was “making his list and checking it twice?”  Wasn’t he aware of how much mom and dad had to do in order to get ready for Christmas?  For so many reasons, now was not the time for him to be acting this way.
What I did next doesn’t come naturally to me.  Try as I might to ‘practice what I preach,’ I admit that my default reaction to situations like this is to ‘lay down the law.’  But something told me there was much, much more going on than simply bad behavior.  Call it what you will, I like to think of it as my God-given “adoptive dad instinct.” So I said to my son, “Let’s go for a walk.”  And after a little cajoling, he agreed and so off we went.
We walked for a while engaged in nothing but small talk.  Eventually I changed the subject.  “So what’s going on?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he answered.
“Of course,” I thought sarcastically to myself.  But I persisted.
“Mom says you’ve really been acting up the last few days,” I continued.  He nodded in agreement.  “That’s not really like you.  Is something wrong?  Are you worried about something?  Maybe upset about something?”
This time he shrugged his shoulders and just kinda hung his head and shook it side to side, ever so slightly.  I’d seen that look before.  It told me I was on the right track.  And then he gave it away.
“Do I have to tell you?” he asked.  This is the tell-tale question he always asks when he has something he really needs to talk about, but is a little afraid to bring it up.  More often than not the subject is adoption-related.  So I gave him the response I always give when he asks me this question.  “Of course you don’t have to, but you know I always want to hear what you are thinking – no matter what it is.”
And then he practically blurted it out.  “Dad, Christmas just stinks!” he exclaimed.  “I know I am supposed to love it and be having fun, but I just hate it.  I really do.”
It instantly occurred to me that somehow I managed to have the only elementary school-aged child in all of America who actually hates Christmas.  But I quickly asked the obvious question, “Why?”
“Because it makes me really sad,” he said. “It makes me think about my birthmom and my birth family.  I wonder what they are doing.  Do you think they think about me?”
“I bet they do,” I replied.  “No…I am sure they do.  And did you know something else?  You’re not the only kid that thinks Christmas stinks because of that very same reason.”
“I’m not?” he said, finally slowing down to look directly at me.
I grabbed his hand and we continued.  “No.  You know Ms. Melanie who was adopted when she was a little girl?” I asked.
“Yeh,” he replied.
“She’s told me a million times that lots of special occasions, like Christmas, birthdays, even Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, are really hard for her.  She even has a special name for those times that make her kinda sad and make her think of her birth parents and her birth family.  She calls them ‘trigger moments.’  This happens a lot for people who were adopted, and not just when they are kids.  She says that even though she is an adult, it still happens for her sometimes,” I explained.
I’ve always heard the expression “the weight of the world being lifted off of your shoulders,” but I don’t think I’d ever literally seen it happen until this moment.  It was though he realized in an instant that everything he had been feeling and thinking was not only “ok,” it was also very real and quite normal.  And the fact that I was understanding, even if it could not fully understand – that was all he seemed to need.
Our walk lasted over an hour as we continued talking about what he had been feeling and processing over the past several days.  We talked about how it was “ok” to feel these things, but it wasn’t “ok” to act the way he had been acting.  Instead, he needed to find a way to talk with mom or me about it.  As important, I assured him we would do a better job of being available for him, especially during times like these.
I can’t honestly say that I truly understand all that he must have been feeling or thinking in his little heart and mind.  And frankly, the connection between all of that and his behavior still somewhat alludes me.  But I know that his feelings are very real.
Amidst all of the tinsel and lights and despite the excitement of being out of school and the anticipation of the gifts and fun of Christmas day, the reality is that my kids – not unlike other kids who were adopted – still have profound losses that cannot be erased and must not be ignored.  And sometimes, even against their own wishes, their past and what they have lost comes crashing in.  Even at happy times like Christmas.
In the face of all this, my job – whether at Christmas, on birthdays, on Father’s Day or whenever – is to always be available for my kids.  To be open and willing to listen and talk, and allow all of who they are to become part of our holidays and special occasions.  As we do this, I realize more and more that rather than taking away from these happy times, embracing them and all of their past allows them to be more fully present – and allows us, as a family, to be more connected as we move forward.
After learning from my son why Christmas stinks sometimes, I no longer look at Christmas quite the same as I once did.  But of course I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Click here for a PDF of this article published in the December 2011 issue of Adoption Today.
For further reading on this subject (sometimes referred to as “traumaversaries”), read this article — Traumaversaries: Lessening the Impact of Adopted Children’s Annual Triggers.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Christmas Break Regression

Oh the Holiday Regression! Some of you know what I am talking about. Some of our precious kids just do not do so well with holidays, vacations, school breaks, company, alterations to the predictable and comfortable schedule. Do you have one..... or more? Loads of us do, you are not alone.

Here are some gifts you could give your child in this unpredictable time:

Give your child a written schedule of events, let them know that things could change but they can trust you even if things don't go just like the plan. Try to keep the plan and let them know the moment you know it is going to change.
Give them the heads up as to who will be there and what to expect at various events, inclulding what is expected of them.
Give them the reassurance that your love and your family is NOT going to change and that you belong to each other in this wonderful season.
Give them family time, traditions and special things to look forward to that say, this is family, and I care about you.
Give them time to talk and cuddle, maybe a bit extra is just what is needed to stay grounded.
Give them grace. No one means to have a meltdown, it just happens, more so when mom and dad are busy and do not notice the warning signs.
Give yourself grace. Of course it is busy and you did not realize it was getting to be too much. You are not defined by your child's good or bad behaviour. And neither is your child. It just is.
Give hugs and kisses and reassurance and some time away from the activity together.  This too shall pass.
Give your child extra eye contact, smiles and touches.
Give some suggestions, when it is all just too much and regression sets in. You might suggest that this is why your child did such and such.....(ok, some do not agree with this, but it works wonders for us!). If they can understand what is going on in their brain then the behavior is not so bad, the event not so scary, the change not so unsettling. If the feeling has a name the actions seem to take a back seat because they become manageable. Seriously if they know they are acting on a false presupposed idea and it is going badly, maybe the truth will set them free. Just maybe. It *usually* works around here. 

OK, what if your child is older? Well, it has been my experience that this plan works just as well with a 4 year old as it does with a 12 year old. So, give, give, give. :) And have a great Holiday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

hacked! sorry!!!

Thanks to a kind reader I was notified that my blog had been hacked!!! I send my deepest apologies to those of you who were exposed to the hacker's inappropriate posts. All has been corrected and I hope that will not happen again. Please notify me if it does! Again, I am very sorry that any of you were exposed to that.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Adoption Nutrition

Children from Ethiopia have unique nutritional needs that may impact them long after they come home. is an important resource for adoptive and foster parents of Ethiopian children of any age. Topics include:
The site also serves as a venue for adoptive and foster families to share their nutrition-related experiences and ask questions of an expert team. Click here to view questions and answers specific to children adopted from India.

Free Kid-Friendly Global Recipes Cookbook!
Free Global Cookbook for Adoptive Families!

Visitors to the site can download a free book of kid-friendly recipes from around the globe. Click here to sign up for the cookbook!

Ethiopian Christmas in Denver

For those on the Front Range in COLORADO (of if you want to travel here for this wonderful event!)

Ethiopian Christmas
Location: Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Denver
15150 E Evans Ave, Aurora, CO 80014
Date: Jan. 7, 2012
Time: 1:00 P.M -7:00 P.M

The event will include food, coffee ceremony, hair braiding, games, music, story telling, gifts and prizes.  All are welcome-- including those who are considering adoption and would like to know about Ethiopia. Attached is a flyer.  Pastor Ermias may create a facebook page for the event as well-- so look for that soon.  If you have questions or need more information, you may reach Pastor Ermias at 720-434-1126 or

One more note about this... Pastor Ermias has asked that we RSVP for this event so that the church can be prepared with food and gifts.  If you plan to attend, please respond with the number of adults and children in your family. His number list listed above. Thanks! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rahel, Ethiopian doll

I understand that you can now purchase Rahel at Walmart 29.97and Costco 19.97!!!! I have her listed on this blog as available at Target. This is a great doll and she is ETHIOPIAN. Very cool.
Good Christmas present for doll lovers in your life.

Below is the photo from the Costco site. She is slightly different looking, not sure if it is the photograph or if they are re-marketing her for Costco. Either way, she is very charming!

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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.