Building our base

A few days ago, my mom and I were out shopping for sewing supplies to make skirts for the girls in Ethiopia.  We found a great deal on fabric, so we had yards and yards in all sorts of patterns and colors stacked in the cart.  The saleswoman asked about our project, wondering aloud if we were making a quilt (which might have been the ugliest quilt on earth if we actually tried to use all of the fabrics together).  My mom quickly jumped in, and explained our latest EOR project.  She also mentioned that I was just back from my trip to Portland, where we (as and ALL VOLUNTEER group–my mom’s caps, not mine) managed to raise more than $95,000 in a single night. The saleswoman was impressed, and asked more about EOR, seemingly pleased when I pressed my business card into her hand.

And just like that, our base grows bigger!  My mom, who is always a fan of everything I do (’cause she’s my mama!) feels a stronger commitment to EOR now that she’s a more active donor, and the woman in fabric shop might become a fan, or even a supporter who is willing to sew for us.  That’s how our base of supporters grows.

When I think about all of my personal contacts who have become supporters of EOR, it’s a diverse group of people I know.  Rarely seen cousins, friends from college, other Ethiopian adoptive parents, and the parents of Elliott and Astrid Meklit’s friends–all sorts of terrific people have invested in EOR.  At first, I was embarrassed to talk about the work I am so passionate about, but no longer.  The more I share about the work that we’ve done (built playgrounds, stocked clinics and libraries, created feeding programs, provided clean water and bathrooms…) and the work that we’re eager to do, the more I find that people are interested and willing to take part as well.

The board of EOR will continue to inform about the work we’re doing, we’ll continue to invest in new ideas to benefit the orphans of Ethiopia, and we’ll continue to imagine a world where all children feel safe, secure, and loved.  We hope that you will continue inviting your friends to join EOR by linking to our blog, by forwarding our newsletters, or by inviting them to become friends of ours on facebook.  As an added incentive, the EOR supporter who invites the most new friends to join EOR on facebook will win a fabulous prize from me!

No one can meet the needs of Ethiopia’s orphans alone, but together, we can accomplish much.  Please ask your friends to join us.  As our base continues to grow, so do our dreams for what we can accomplish for the children of Ethiopia.




So excited to share an opportunity to give more to Lola Children’s Fund,  EOR’s newest partner.

From HIV to Home is hosting a raffle to benefit Lola.  I’ve listed the information below hoping that one of you will be the lucky quilt winner.

Good Luck!


The mission of “From HIV to Home” is to educate families and assist in the adoption of HIV+ orphans. We do this by partnering with in-country programs caring for these children and by supporting adoptive families of children living with HIV. Join us as we pave a road home for these forgotten children.

To celebrate Lola’s very first year, From HIV to Home is giving away this beautiful quilt sewn by one of Lola’s supporters.

They are also giving away several additional items – two Starbucks Jonathan Adler limited edition (Red) travel mugs, a Starbucks (Red) gift card, and our very last “embrace” necklace!  That means that for every entry, you have five chances to win!

To participate in the giveaway, simply visit FHTH’s donation page at Network for Good ( to make a donation to the Lola fund.  100% of donations to this fund go directly to the work of Lola Children’s Home. $5 is worth one entry (so $50 is ten entries!).  Please be sure to note “Lola” in the designation box of your giving form and include your email address so we contact you if you are a winner.

Since Lola is a new organization, we depend hugely on word of mouth. If you share this info on your blog or website together with a link to our donor page, email with the web address for your post, and we will give you a free raffle entry!

Drawing will be held on May 7 – World AIDS Orphans Day.

handmade hope

This is the logo to my friends’  brand new Etsy shop.  This talented group of ladies produces fabulous handicrafts.  Unlike most Etsy shops, 100% of the proceeds from each sale will benefit a charity.  Lucky us, they chose Ethiopian Orphan Relief as the first quarter recipient!

Every bit of money raised through the handmade hope shop will go toward meeting the “Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy” goal of 100,000 bricks for FOVC.  This week is handmade hope’s inaugural week . I hope you’ll join me there to make it a grand success!

Thank you, ladies, for finding an amazing way to share your talents with others.  We are so lucky to know each of you.

handmade hope is EOR!


just a few of the many terrific items available at handmade hope (baby not included)



A glimpse of Ethiopia

We have all been touched by the stories that Team Tasfa has been sharing with EOR and asked them if they would share with our readers moments of their trip that are close to their heart. In the next few weeks we will be highlighting some of these stories. Thanks Team Tafa for sharing your joy, tears and love of Ethiopia with us.                                                                                              Kim

Aneata, has been an International Adoption Coordinator with International Adoption Net in Colorado since 2007. In that time she has facilitated the adoptions of 71 orphaned children from Ethiopia to homes in the U.S. She has dreamed of traveling to Ethiopia for three years and made her first trip to Ethiopia with Team Tasfa in December 2010.


I first lost my heart to Ethiopia in 2007. As an international adoption coordinator ~ one of those jobs I just fell into because I needed a job ~ I work directly with families adopting orphaned children from Ethiopia. As I learned the adoption process and saw the faces of the orphans needing homes, that job I fell into quickly became a passion.  Yabsira Shambel was the first little boy to steal my heart. He was beautiful, yes, almost 2 years old with a turned in club foot, but it wasn’t his beauty or his deformity ~ there was a sparkle in his eyes that just captured me in a way I can never fully explain and that boy was the first thing about Ethiopia that changed me. Forever.

Now I have just returned from my first visit to Ethiopia with Team Tasfa. There were so many defining moments along the way that have stolen pieces of my heart and again changed me. Forever. Team Tasfa is such an amazing group of people and we were all changed by Ethiopia in large and small ways. For me some of the moments were:

~ my very first view of the Ethiopian landscape from the plane window ~ I saw the patchwork of land and colors and I knew I immediately that I found the place where I belong. Forever.

~ the beautiful walk to FOVC (Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children) in Shanto ~ the whole town came to greet us and led us to the gates of FOVC with smiles and music and dancing that was so beautiful and joyous ~ and these people have nothing compared to our western standards ~ their smiles and their joy at welcoming us is etched on my heart. Forever.

~ the children of Shanto ~ those lucky enough to attend school at FOVC and those who spend all day watching outside the gates of the compound. The village children who watch all day know the songs and the routine and their eyes say how much they wish they could go to school at FOVC too. The children (128 of them) who attend school at FOVC were SO happy to see us, so gracious and polite and just starved for love and attention. We spent four full days talking and playing with them and every one of those days stole even more pieces of my heart. Forever.

~ the pillowcase dresses ~ which I know so many EOR friends and supporters are aware of.  As we delivered dresses to the village girls outside the gates of the FOVC compound my heart about burst with the joy these little girls had at getting something so beautiful and new. It seemed like such a small thing but those dresses were a miracle to these little girls. Their smiles will never leave me.

~ the sewing machine! Money donated to the widows of Shanto allowed us to purchase a sewing machine for them. It is an old rusted, beat up Singer with foot pedals and a piece of fabric to hold the hand wheel in place. The looks on the faces of the staff when it arrived just melted me ~ that machine was a piece of gold to them and I had the honor of teaching some of the women to sew on it.

Smiles and sewing machines and pillowcase dresses and patchwork landscapes may not seem like enough to steal ones heart, but if you were there with me in Shanto you know exactly what I mean; if you weren’t there, go if you can and be prepared to be changed in ways you never even imagined. Forever.


The Shoes

A few days ago I read a blog of a Team Tasfa team member, Ingrid. Team Tasfa is a amazing group of people who have a heart for Ethiopia. They hand carried  the pillowcase dresses & Project Gena backpacks to Ethiopia on behalf of EOR.

After reading Ingrid’s heart wrenching post about a young boy at FOVC (friends & orphans of vulnerable children) one of our partner organizations in Shanto, Ethiopia, I asked if she would share with our readers her life changing moment in Ethiopia. Thank you Ingrid for sharing with us.

Ingrid studied at Moody Bible Institute and majored in Urban Ministries. She shares she has seen a lot of poverty in the US but knows it doesn’t compare to global poverty. She wanted to find something personal to get involved in and learned about FOVC and their help for the orphans and widows. She and her family sponsor a child at FOVC who they were able to meet on this trip.                                                                                                                                                                      Kim

Our team brought over multiple suitcases full of donations. Our goal was to give every child at FOVC a new outfit and pair of shoes. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough shoes. Because we found it difficult to buy more we decided not to give out shoes during our visit. Instead we left money so the FOVC staff could purchase enough for all the children.

One day at FOVC I found the shoes pictured above laying on the ground. By the looks of them I suspected that the owner had outgrown them and had toes hanging out. I took the shoes to a staff member and he identified the child. It was a boy name Israel who was around 12 years old. I was right about the toes hanging out. I immediately talked with Lory, our team leader, and she said to go ahead and find a pair of shoes for Israel. I found a pair of used ladies white tennis shoes and grabbed a new pair of socks. Israel grinned as I brought them over. He put on the socks and slipped on the shoes. I tied them for him and checked the position of the toes. They were a perfect fit. He continued to grin and headed back to join the rest of the children.

A few minutes later I went over to the children to take some more candid shots. I noticed Israel standing in the background crying and I thought he didn’t like the shoes or that another child had been mean to him because he got shoes and they didn’t. A staff member translated for Israel. He was happy. He had tears of joy!

This was the most moving moment of the entire trip for me. I held that little boy and we both cried. His were tears of joy and mine were tears of sadness and confusion. It is hard for an American to imagine a child crying over shoes. Not really cool shoes that they wanted for Christmas but a used pair of ladies tennis shoes that meant his toes didn’t hang out anymore. A pair of shoes that would keep his feet clean on the dirt road he walked everyday. It was a moment that I don’t ever want to forget. It was a moment that changed my perspective and my life.                                                                                                                                                                        Ingrid