Art Cards!!

You can now buy Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s Art Cards at a store, B Designs Home Decor in Hillsboro, Oregon!  These quality cards are very special as they are created by children who are now living with their forever families in the United States and by children who are living in Ethiopia at Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s partners.  A very important aspect of the cards is that all of the sales from these cards goes back to Ethiopian Orphan Relief and will be used to support EOR’s partners and projects.   B Designs Home Décor is owned by my sister in law, Jeni Barackman.  Jeni has been a supporter of Ethiopian Orphan Relief for a number of years now, as Ethiopia holds a very special place in her heart.  Jeni is an Aunt to my four children, two of whom were born in Ethiopia.  She has been a part of each of our adoptions, traveling to Ethiopia with us once and Jeni is excited to be able to support EOR in this way, and I recently asked her just a few questions about Ethiopian Orphan Relief and here is what she said:

I got involved with EOR after the invitation to the very first auction. You and Danny had invited us to go to the auction and I had no idea what to expect. I left that night feeling amazed and full of awe, with the passion and the energy that the organization had toward a country that we were just getting to know. At the time I didn’t realize what a big part Ethiopia would play in our lives. I am so grateful for that first invitation!

After the first auction I knew that I could do more to support EOR than just attending! So the following two years my mom and I created the quilt that displayed the children’s’ artwork. I also donated a few items from my etsy shop to the silent auction. My husband and I have loved the auction so much that we purchase a table now each year.  Because of all of this when I opened up my home decor shop in Hillsboro I thought that it would be a good platform to help sell the notecards!

Being a part of EOR is important to me because it impacts my family. I had the privilege of going to Ethiopia in 2011 with my brother to bring home my nephew. I never know one event in your life could have such an impact on your heart and soul. I had the honor of meeting Hannah and the girls at Children’s Heaven and I was amazed! I was able to share a meal and talk to the girls about their hopes and dreams and they showed me their crafts and stitchery work. I am so grateful for the care that the orphanage gave to both my niece and nephew and with the help of EOR that care is only getting better! I love being a part of this organization because it is helping those children that do not have their forever families.  EOR to me represents HOPE, hope for the future of children and families of Ethiopia. I am honored to be a part of EOR!

Thank you Jeni for your support and if you’d like to visit B Designs Home Décor they are located at 158 NE 2nd Ave in Hillsboro OR  97124

Art Party – Portland, Oregon, Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Colorado

Do you live in Portland, OregonColumbus, OhioLouisville, Colorado area? Join us for Ethiopian Children Art Parties! EOR is having a Art contest and we’re actively taking submissions of art masterpieces created by children adopted from Ethiopia.  Attend one of the art parties and you can submit your child’s work at that time.  Can’t make a party? You can still join in on the fun!  Mail your child’s art to EOR. Email for mailing details.

Portland, Oregon Art Party – Tuesday, July 6th 1-4pm in Beaverton, Oregon contact for details

Louisville, Colorado – Saturday, July 10th 4pm. contact for details

Columbus, Ohio – Saturday, July 10th contact for details

Hope to see you!

A BiG heart

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren’s brother and sister-in-law, Emily, last year for Lights of Hope.  A few minutes into our chat, I felt like we were old friends.  Both Emily and Marcus are warm, caring people (I guess it runs in the family!).  It was a thrill to see them again at Art for Ethiopia last November, and I’m so happy that they’re taking part in this year’s Lights of Hope.  Emily, so very generous with her time, agreed to be a guest blogger this month.  Please read her thoughts below:

I got involved with EOR because of my beautiful niece Meron who was adopted from Ethiopia 3 years ago. I had such a fantastic time at the Lights of Hope event last year that I can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Lights of Hope event on May 8th!

Some of the words that come to mind to describe Lights of Hope are Fun, Excitement, Energy, Generosity, Awareness, Caring, Community and Inspired.

FUN: because of the fabulous group of people, food, and drinks! Everyone was there to have a good time

EXCITEMENT:  about all the amazing items in the live and silent auction (and hoping to win).

ENERGY: because of all the positive thoughts, words, and feelings that were expressed throughout the night.

GENEROSITY because of the amazing amount of generosity during Raise the Paddle.

AWARENESS:  because this event helped raise awareness of how many orphans need our help.

CARING: because so many people showed how much they care about making a difference in the lives of children in Ethiopia.

COMMUNITY: because of all the wonderful people who came together this particular evening and really made a difference.

INSPIRED:  to make Lights of Hope a greater success every year.

Thank you so much Emily for being such an integral part of Lights of Hope and EOR.  With your help, we raised more than $30,000.00 and this year, I know we can do it again.


Special Thanks… Mile High Wines.

Hey there everybody

Recently some good friends of ours at Mile High Wines in Lakewood, Colorado, held a wine tasting with a few hundred people in attendance. They donated all of the revenue from that tasting to Ethiopian Orphan Relief. Thank you so much, Chris!

It is gratifying to see local business owners (like Chris) make an effort to have an active role in the community. Mile High Wine has been supporting local and national non-profits since the very first month that they opened there doors four years ago. This is a statement to the leadership of businesses like this and we are excited to have them as a partner. If you like wine (or if you head over heals LOVE wine!) you should check out their website ( ) and sign up for their online newsletter. It makes me sound like I know a thing or two about wine, when really I just pick by the label art…

If you live near by stop in and thank Chris yourself, and be sure to rub Zeke’s belly (calm down, Zeke’s the weimaraner).

-Greg Cradick [EOR Volunteer]

it’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how

Someone else is scheduled to blog today, but I thought I’d share this photo from the session Greg did at Art for Ethiopia.  There was a family photo fundraiser before the big  art event, and in between we turned up the music and danced with our bad selves.


Tell me it isn’t fun to raise funds for Ethiopia…

Meet Shawn!



Last year we were pleased when Shawn Rodda lent her expertise and considerable organizational skills to our first Art for Ethiopia event in Denver.  We were even more pleased when Shawn accepted our invitation to join Ethiopian Orphan Relief Inc.’s board.  In the coming weeks, she’ll be adding her own stories to EOR‘s blog, but I wanted you to meet her first.


Shawn is a construction and real estate attorney based in Boulder, CO. She received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University and her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law. She and her husband, Justin, brought home their daughter,Lidya, from Ethiopia in May of 2008. In addition to Lidya, Shawn and Justin are parents to Nittany, a ten year old Golden Retriever. Shawn in an active member of the Colorado Ethiopia Adopt group, and enjoys hiking, camping, skiing, playing with Lidya, and all things Ethiopia.  She continues to serve on our Art for Ethiopia committee, and along with Katie Bell, Shawn is a member of our grant team.


Thank you, thank you for joining us Shawn.  Your plate was so full before you joined EOR, but you’ve managed to squeeze us in too.  Go wonder Woman, GO!




Art For Ethiopia 2009 Update

It’s that time of year again– time to plan the second annual Ethiopian Orphan Relief  Art for Ethiopia art sale and auction. We had a wildly successful event last year, raising over $12,000 to benefit Children’s Heaven’s new facility fund. We just had our first planning meeting for the event which will be held on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Flash Gallery in Lakewood, Colorado. This year, we plan to create a fancier event for adults without kids in tow and will hold the children &  family photo shoots by Greg Cradick earlier in the day. Spaces will fill up quickly for the photo shoots (all proceeds will benefit EOR), so people will need to sign up before the event for them. We are so grateful to have a wonderful planning committee this year which includes Greg Cradick (co-chair with me), Danielle Marquis (EOR prez), Shawn Rodda, Tracy Stevens, Emily Andronicci (Lauren’s sister), & Katy Bell (awesome new Board member and one of my personal heroines). We also hope to have a host of volunteers to help both before and during the event.
This year we plan to solicit art from regionally as well as nationally recognized artists. Tune in later for more details about that. We will also be selling tickets for this year’s event which will feature fine art, heavy hors d’oevres, drinks, music and a chance to dress up and wear those high heels that are buried in your closet (or in my case, a chance to purchase a pair of high heels since I gave away my only pair already). For now, save the date and let us know if you’d like to help as a volunteer or if you have any fabulous art to donate!  We are all looking forward to it!