Adanech was a beautiful young girl who was part of the Children’s Heaven program for five years.

Tragically in October 2013 she was murdered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her death was devastating to the girls at Children’s Heaven and many of them considered her their sister.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief is committed to honor her memory and today is the opening day for submissions for the “Adanech Gives Hope” Scholarship.

This scholarship will be presented to one girl from Children’s Heaven and will provide one year of private schooling for her. In addition a $1000 scholarship will be presented to a high school senior in Oregon who will be attending an accredited college in the fall of 2015.

The Adanech Gives Hope Scholarship is created to assist a female graduating high school who faced and overcame great adversity in their young lives or their families lives, including victimization. One $1000 scholarship will be awarded. Qualified applicants must be Oregon Residents pursuing a bachelor’s degree at an accredited US University or College, and display integrity and perseverance by overcoming obstacles. A 200-500 word essay and one letter of recommendation from personal or school counselor, or teacher is required.

To learn more information about the Adanech Gives Hope Scholarship requirements including deadline information please visit here. To fill out an application for the scholarship please visit here.


We’ve been running at full-tilt for the last few days.  The cousins arrived from Florida to enjoy a Buckeye Thanksgiving, and the house has been full-to-bursting since Wednesday.  11 people–eating, laughing, playing games, making art and…eating.  It’s a joyous occasion. Nothing illustrates my American good fortune like setting aside half a week to feast with some of the people I love best!

In the midst of all of this celebrating, my Ethiopian friends remain much on my mind.  I think about my friend Tiru, who is celebrating her Thanksgiving with all of her lovely daughters away from home for the first time.  I think about my friend Seleshi, who’s mother is visiting the United States for the first time since he moved here more than 20 years ago.  I think about Demissew, the man I met at the airport in Mekelle.  Every day I  wait for news that he’ll be starting his PhD program this spring at my alma mater, The Florida State University (with full funding, fingers crossed!)  And always, always, I think about dear friends at Children’s Heaven, Lola Children’s Home, and FOVC.

How nice, that in a life that was already filled-to-the-brim with good fortune, I’ve been given the gift of a wider world view.  The people I know, the places I’ve been…I’m an incredibly lucky girl, um, middle-aged woman.

So gifted, that when pressed to name a Christmas wish, I could only think to ask for one thing:  a goat (or a sheep… I’m not picky).  My relatives thought this a fabulous idea, so I know they won’t mind a bit when they receive the same, because really…what more could we wish for?  We all enjoy fine health, lovely homes, terrific kids, happy marriages and abundance. Nothing under my Christmas tree could possibly change my life in any lasting way, but the gift of a goat (or cow, a sheep, or chickens) will make a real difference to my very real friends in Ethiopia.

I’m sure most of you have been counting your blessings over the past few days too.  I hope that like me, you find your life is overflowing with good.  If so, maybe you’ll also ask for a goat for a holiday gift, or maybe you’ll give a gift of livestock instead?   Who wouldn’t like 8 chickens for Hanukkah?

Hoping your life is as abundant as mine,


Want to fill someone’s stocking with a sheep? Here’s how:


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

thankful for friends

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread love everywhere you go.”   Mother Teresa

A few weeks ago here in Portland we had our kick off meeting for Lights of Hope 2012. This year’s auction will be on May 19th at The Melody Ballroom. To have an event like this takes many months of planning and an amazing team of volunteer committee members.

Our meetings can be quite productive in between eating dinner, sharing our latest shopping tips, brainstorming new auction item ideas and waiting for Lauren to use her psychic  abilities to tell what name I’ll draw out of the door prize bowl.  (seriously she’s only been wrong once.) Yes, Lauren and I bribe our committee members with door prizes.

Each one of our committee members brings a specific talent to our team and this event could not take place without them.

So over the next 8 months these lovely ladies will dedicate countless hours of their time and talent to EOR to make Lights of Hope a night filled with hope for the orphan and vulnerable children in Ethiopia.

Thank you to Lauren, Molly, Annie, Jenny, Nicole, Sara, ViviAnne, Ally, Kristin & Michelle for sharing your time with us. A big thank you to all our husbands for the countless hours of babysitting they will be doing for us.

For more info on Lights of Hope or for sponsorship opportunities  please contact Kim at

Amharic classes in Ohio

Fellow board member Amy Harcar and I spent hours and hours this summer working through Amharic Level 1.  At the end of 10 weeks, I am fairly familiar with the alphabet (all 230+ fidel), have expanded my vocabulary,  can greet and express affection, and most important of all, have a clearer understanding of the pronunciation of Amharic words written in English.

The next Level 1 Amaharic class begins on October 1 (through December 3) 12-3 pm, at 1060 Mt. Vernon Ave.  Check the flyer for all the details!

If you live in the greater Columbus area, please try to squish this amazing class into your schedule!


Amharic flyer 7 20

Amharic lessons in Columbus Ohio

One of the nicest things about living in Columbus Ohio, is the large population of Ethiopians and other East Africans who live in the area. ETSS, the social services agency that serves this community, has worked hard to make Ethiopian adoptive families feel welcome at events and within the community at large.

For years, ETSS has considered offering an Amharic class for non-native speakers, and finally, one has coalesced.

Guess who’s going to know how to say more than ‘thank you’ and ‘beautiful’ when she travels to Ethiopia next fall?

I hope, if you’re in central Ohio, you’ll consider joining us!

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)



The Tribe


When my husband and I began the adoption process we hoped we would be blessed with a child.  We waited for a long time compared to many parents I know.  Our journey took two years.  While waiting we met so many wonderful people.  I lovingly refer to our close group of friends as “The Tribe”.   I’m not sure how I would have survived the wait without them.  On my worst days they called and emailed to make sure I was ok.  They even had a surprise “Sprinkling” (a mini shower even before we had a referral) to lift my spirits.  And on great days they share in your joy.


Now that our son is home I still rely on them for their words of wisdom and encouragement.  We speak openly and honestly about the trials and tribulations of adoption and parenting with no fear of judgment.   Parenting is hardwork and being able to have this common ground with so many wonderful people is amazing.




Please join me in welcoming newest board member, Amy Harcar!

I met Amy more than 3 years ago, at an Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services event for adoptive parents.  Amy & Joel were just starting their adoption journey, but were eager to learn all that they could about Ethiopia and adoption. We became fast friends and co-volunteers as we worked to plan the local Enkutatash celebrations.

In addition to planning Enkutatash, Amy & Joel have always supported the work of EOR, working especially hard to plan the very first Dead of Winter Bash held earlier this month, so I was thrilled when Amy agreed to join the board.  Amy will serve as secretary for EOR.  We are so glad she has chosen to join us.

Thanks Amy (& Joel, and Tesfa).  YOU are EOR!