Meet our Ethiopia Liaison

Here at EOR we are so lucky to have an all volunteer team. Each of us from board member to President volunteer our time. Today we would like to introduce you to our Ethiopia Liaison, Kimberly. You might remember us highlighting Kimberly during volunteer week. Kimberly has been actively involved  with EOR for a few years. Recently she along with her husband and 5 children moved to Ethiopia to work with Wycliff Bible Translators.

Kimberly’s official title is “Ethiopia Liaison.”  She is working alongside Lauren  our Project & Partner Chair. Kimberly  in her free time has been visiting our partner organizations in Ethiopia to continue the great working relationship and follow up on projects. She’s only been in Ethiopia since late summer and has already made a huge impact on our partners. Close to her heart is Children’s Heaven. She is really enjoying getting to know the girls there and work with Hanna to see what future needs will be. Recently she shared these thoughts on one of her visits:

“The girls at C.H. have captured our hearts. This is a true heaven for these girls. Most of them do not have fathers and many have lost their moms or their moms have AIDS and their lives are just plain HARD. However, the smiles and hugs are so warm and pure. Hanna is a national who used to live in the states and when she came to visit her dad, she realized how many needs there were and made a deal with God and asked for 3 years to prepare. Well, 3 years came and gone and then she was brought here to open this girls haven. The girls are school age and come every day for a meal and tutoring. Some of the girls come for lunch if their school is close enough and the rest come after school and take their lunch home to eat for dinner. Many of the girls only have this meal and even with that have to share with their family. It makes them happy to have something to give to their family. Then the girls get to come to this home all day Saturday and have two meals a day. They have songs and worship much of the day and some kind of activity. This past week they had just gotten a basketball hoop and so our kids got to help teach them how to play basketball. Our kids are loving getting to hang out there and build relationships. Last week there was a mama with two little girls and there is no father and she is dying of bone cancer. She can’t stand up straight and there is nothing they can do for her to help manage her pain. She is obviously very poor and does not seem like she has long. She is trying to enroll her daughters in this program, but there is a waiting list of 200 girls for the already filled 70 spots. Hanna has hopes to get to grow this program if she can get funding. When I am there I so want to know the language so I can really communicate beyond a smile or a hug. There is a girl named A, who is probably 12, and lives alone. Her mother died and then her father remarried and the new mother did not accept this daughter. He put her back at their home all by herself. She is amazing and does well in school, but Hanna worries about her safety. This program is imperative for A life.

Kimberly will be representing EOR and delivering the Project Gena backpacks to Children’s Heaven  along with Team Tasfa. She has arranged for a photographer to capture the joy in the girls faces when they receive their gifts.

We miss Kimberly so much here in Oregon as she is one of my dearest friends, yet find comfort in knowing that she is doing great work in Ethiopia and giving back to her son’s homeland.



Kimberly and family

Simply Amazing

Lights of Hope 2010 was a huge success. Each guest gave with their heart and it was a very emotional, amazing, energetic night. Proceeds from Lights of Hope 2010 were nearly $67,000. We are speechless at your generosity. Your giving will help so many children in Ethiopia. Thank you to each guest for their generosity, thank you to our sponsors, thank you to our donors. Each of you have made such a difference . We are in awe of your generosity and the hope you have for the orphans in Ethiopia.

In 15 minutes you gave enough money for 500 days of food for 100 girls at Children’s Heaven. Their lives will forever be changed by you.

You all made a difference and that was shown beyond measure on Saturday night. We are  speechless and forever grateful to each of you.

Kim Pasion, President, Chair Lights of Hope Auction

Lauren Andronici, Partner & Project Chair, Lights of Hope Chair

Jenny Petersen, Board Member, Chair Lights of Hope

We Love our Volunteers…2.0

As you know this week is National Volunteer Week! It’s a time to honor those who give of their time for free. Yesterday Lauren blogged about Andrea & Kimberly. Today’s spotlight is on Krista Nichols & Molly Curran!

Krista is one of our advisory members. She keeps us up to date on one of our Partner Organizations . She is also on her 2nd year as a committee member for Lights of Hope! What would we do without Krista, well actually we would be lost as she is in charge of coming up with the great auction item descriptions for our catalog and making sure all our i’s are dotted and t’s crossed along with a long list of auction duties. Krista also will forever hold a special place in my heart. She met and held my daughter before I even met her. She had traveled to Ethiopia the month before myself and took photos and told her that soon her forever family was coming. I often tell my daughter how “Auntie Krista” knew her before Mommy did. This amazing volunteer is Mom to 4 tots, three from Ethiopia. Krista is a dear friend and I am honored that she is part of the EOR family.

Molly Curran is always the hit of any party here at EOR! It can be a auction meeting, girls night out,  game night…when Molly is there you know there will be lots of laughing. I am sure Molly wonders what she got herself into when she agreed to be in charge of check out at Lights of Hope! She is also our auction catalog designer and has assembled an amazing catalog for this years event. As EOR’s newest volunteer Molly has actively been involved with Day of the African Child, Shop for A Cause and this fall, along with EOR Board Member Jenny will be chairing a Family Fun Event. Molly and her husband Joe have two boys and a their daughter Hana is from Ethiopia. My son thinks Molly Rocks as she is a grad of Notre Dame!

Thanks Krista and Molly for all the time you give to EOR and thank you for your friendship.


Molly and family

Krista & family

Meet a Fabulous Blogger: Lisa Q!

Lisa Is a project coordinator for From HIV to Home.  This program’s primary goals include:

* partnering with in-country, community-based HIV+ orphan care sites
* and connecting waiting HIV+ orphans with adoptive families

Lisa is also the mother of 634 11 children, several adopted from Ethiopia.  Lisa writes an amazing blog,  A Bushel & A Peck, about raising her children.  Her focus on the adoption of the older child is  particularly inspired.  She marries grace and good humor with thoughtful advice (her own learning curve) about parenting.  I learn something new (and valuable) every time I read.  If you haven’t met Lisa before, please give her blog a visit.  You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you Lisa, for being a unique and helpful voice in our community.  Your hard work brings me ever closer to becoming the parent I want to be.


Finding Balance

nichols-20472Since bringing our fourth child into our home (the fourth in as many years) I have worked to find a balance between spending time with the kids and keeping the house clean = a war that is waged by many a mother. The pendulum swings wide for me, from the house to all the kids. It is the middle ground that I can’t plant my feet firmly on.

Recently I have found a happy medium. Our part of Oregon was hit with snow and ice that paralyzed all outside activity for weeks. It was the kind of weather that makes you want to hunker down and drink hot cocoa. So that’s what I did. I hunkered instead of cleaning. The worst snow since 1968 called for a change of pace.

In those two weeks I found that no one became seriously  ill as the clean underwear pile shrunk and the dirty clothes piled up. Everyone coped just fine with blankets all over the floor, topped with pillows and another layer of blankets. Forts were built, magnificent Lego castles were erected and there was a lot of laughter.

All the laughter-THAT is why we rode the adoption roller coaster 4 times. How easy it is to forget sometimes. In fact, there are more than a few things I need to remember far more often than I do. The blessing of children, of friends and of being able to live without worry. Sure, there are little worries about what to fix for dinner or who will take the kids to pre-school but we are blessed to not have the worries that many parents around the world face daily. The worry about not what to fix for dinner, but will there be dinner?

I pray that in all the franticness of getting through the day that we don’t forget to stop and be thankful and to give back because of what we’ve been given. And the cleaning? Well, I’ll know when things need attention: it’s time to clean when my oldest says “Mama, I want the bubble bath up as high as the dirt in the tub.” And so I scrub with a happy heart, thankful to have a bathtub and for children to dirty it.



The people we meet along the way

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching us my thoughts move towards my family and friends. How thankful I am for both! I often wonder how I was so lucky to be blessed with amazing friends! These are friends who are there for you in the thick and thin of it. When we first started our journey to Ethiopia, I never dreamed that my life would become filled with some new amazing friends! 

Do you have friends who have met your daughter before you, who held her and told her how much her family loved her, kissed her and told her that her forever family would soon arrive to take her home. Do you have friends that you have never met yet take the time to send the most beautiful bouquet of flowers in memory of your father’s passing. A friend who shares that first moment you see your child for the first time. A friend who just knows when you need a diet coke! A friend who understands your fear of public speaking and offers to do the speaking herself. A friend who has captured moments on film of my family that I will forever cherish. These are my Ethiopian Orphan Relief friends and I am so very thankful for them.

I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and that as you gather to celebrate that you are surrounded by love and friendship.



First Haircut

My three year old daughter from Ethiopia had her first haircut a few days ago. The salon? Her bedroom. The stylist? Her five year old brother. The mom? Not happy. Really it was not a good moment for anyone in the family, least of all me. It is a moment for which I will not be up for a mothering award. I was crushed. Her beautiful curly hair, coiffed and ready for a night out with 50 or so other couples who have or are adopting from Ethiopia, was missing a huge chunk out of the side. Soon after, as I shared the news with friends many asked if I was able to laugh about it yet. Not quite. By the end of the evening I was to a slight chuckle.

That night as I got ready for bed and mulled over the last few hours in my head I decided that as  a mother this really was a rite of passage- almost every mom that evening had a story to tell about one child cutting another’s hair. I realized then that more than a rite of passage for me, it really was one for the kids and I was thankful. My husband and I have 4 children adopted internationally (3 of whom were born in Ethiopia). We have decided to fill our small home with loud, gregarious, exuberant, busy  children age five and under so that they can grow up with not only a dad and mom but with each other. I suppose an unplanned (and really bad) hair cut fits under the category of things I will treasure about their childhood.  Sometimes I think about their lives before we knew each other. I think about what their lives and ours may have been like had we not met and they had grown up without parents and we without children. That adds up to  a lot of missed treasures: bedtime stories, chocolate milk kisses, “look at me” moments and yes occasionally, hair on the floor.

When I consider these times in our lives I feel thankful and at the same time inspired to come alongside a group like EOR who is working to improve the lives of the children- children just like mine- who may be missing the moments we hold so close. I look forward to the day when the gauntlet is passed to our children to carry on the work that EOR has started and continue to help orphans in Ethiopia. Until then, I’ll be buying headbands, hiding scissors (and gum) and hugging my kids tight every day!