Friday, August 31, 2012

Creativity in waiting

Well Augusts numbers are in, and we moved 5 places from last month, up to wait list #111. Typically, the numbers jump a bit more than that, however the next three months are Ethiopia's wet season, and the government literally closes down all operations during this time. However, our agency informed us that they have continued to issue court dates for families for their little ones, which is pretty surprising. Again, they are informing us that the next couple of months will be slow on the number movement, and the date for resuming government functions is not known, and will not be known (most likely) until the day they resume. However, as you can see, 5 steps closer is still closer!
We have been praying a lot for our little one and his country lately. As many probably know, the prime minister of Ethiopia passed away this month, and while it was said he was sick for some time and that his position was being filled by the interim, whenever a government "high-up" dies or looses position, many African countries go into chaos and instability (according to a statement released by David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia) effecting all aspects of life for everyone involved including the orphans awaiting adoption. Luckily, David and many others I have been following do not believe this is going to be the case, and we certainly haven't seen that in the weeks following the prime minister's death.
So, whats new with the waiting Reichert's. Well, as you know we have our garage sale at the end of the month, and we have been so blessed with SO many donations! Our garage is packed with awesome stuff...its hard not to go digging into it all and finding a permanent home for some items in OUR home! A side note, I'm pretty sure our neighbors think we are hoarders. Anyways, very excited for the big event. Families and friends are going to help and we are all just pulling together for our new family member, and that is really cool to think about! Now, some people have asked me to post some items so they can look before hand (clearly experienced yard sale shoppers), so I made a tab at the top of the blog entitled "Fundraising" and as we go through items, I will post some of the most popular (according to me, which not sure how much that counts for...). If you are interested, contact Jay or I, or leave a message on the blog and we will get back to you. Also, wanted to share that we have raised nearly $300 on coffee sales! We thank you guys so much! I hope you are all enjoying your brews as much as we are! They will be coming out with Christmas flavors soon, which word on the adoption circuit says are their best flavors! So, don't forget your Aunt Girdy at Christmas who loves coffee, and consider continuing to support our Ethiopian nuggets arrival home! Who knows, by next Christmas, we may hear word on our little man and be preparing to bring him home.
One more thing, we have received A LOT of used/unwanted picture frames and mirrors for the garage sale, and I have been getting pretty crafty (if i do say so myself). I have decided to spruce them up a bit and sell them as lovely chalkboard frames (some even magnetic as well). I have included pictures in the fundraising section. If you are interested in purchasing one, or have any requests, please let me know. I made one for our nursery already and I LOVE how it turned out! Shabby Chic!

The picture at the top is also one i created from an old mirror. Additionally, if you have a really cool frame or mirror that just needs some TLC, I would love to take it off your hands. We also have a lot of candles, which I plan to delve into at some point.

 This post’s Ethiopian Education is about the Mursi, a well-known tribe that still calls Ethiopia home. They live in the far southwest border of Ethiopia, 100km north of the Kenyan border. While small in numbers (less than 10,000 total remaining), they are one of the most recognized tribes left in Africa. The women of the tribe are perhaps the most commonly recognized members and have been featured in a variety of publications and are in themselves, a form of tourist attraction. In fact, as they become increasingly dependent on market exchange, as their economy and culture waiver depending on cattle, droughts, and famine, the women have begun supplying the tourists demand for photographs and expect to be paid for each picture taken. The reason for such curiosity over these women is that they are one of the last groups in Africa to continue wearing ‘plates’ in their lower lips.

It was often thought that the reason for lip plating was to appear less attractive to slave traders who were known to sell members of the Mursi tribe to western countries. However, the true reason is similar to our own piercings, body decoration and artistic proclamation. 

Around the age of 15 or 16, a girls mother or another member of her settlement places a cut in her lip. The cut is then held open by a wooden plug until it heals. After the initial piercing, it is the girls individual decision as to how wide to stretch the lip by inserting larger and larger plugs over a period of time, usually several months.  Some girls choose plates that are as large as 12 cm or more in diameter! This is said, not surprisingly, not be a very pleasant experience. The wood they use inside of the hole is shaved from a simple tree branch (I was not able to readily find infection rates…the NP in me was a tad curious).

Lip plates, much like piercings and tattoos are best seen as an expression of social adulthood and perhaps sexual maturity.  If you would like more information on this tribe, good news, they have a website, you can read more about them here!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Models and Medals

So these pictures are a bit late, but Jay and I did a little impromptu photo shoot with Kurt Reichert (aka the most amazing father in law) while we were up at the family cottage in July. I found this site ( for adoption t-shirts recently and purchased two for us to wear at our upcoming garage sale.  They read “Our heart is in…” and there is a little heart where Ethiopia is located on the paint splashed Africa image. Very cute and actually, I've been wearing it everywhere, work, the gym, around the house…I just really like the shirt ok?! Plus, these shirts have been great conversation starters for not only our adoption story and process, but also the orphan crisis around the world. Anyways, thought I would share. Speaking of the garage sale, we are still accepting donations (furniture, cloths, housewares, ect) so please feel free to email or comment if you have any.

In light of the recent Olympics, I thought this posts Ethiopian Education should highlight some athletic accomplishments of famous Ethiopian athletes.  As you know, and as cliché as it sounds, Ethiopians, and Africans in general, are known for their speed! So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that many medals from Olympics past are for running. The first African to win a gold medal was Abebe Bikila in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He ran the marathon with a record time of 2 hours 15 minuets and 16.2 seconds. That is over 26 miles…crazy fast! Even more amazing than that feet (no pun intended, and yes I meant to spell it that way) was that he ran barefooted. The next Olympics in Tokyo in 1964, he beat his old record by running the marathon in 2 hours 12 minuets and 11 seconds, making him the first athlete, and the only African (Ethiopian) in history to win the marathon twice in back to back Olympics. However, his record was beat by another amazing Ethiopian Haile Gebreselasie who ran the race in 2 hours 3 minuets and 59 seconds! 
As for 2012, the Ethiopians once again showed the world their fleet feet. The country in general won 7 medals in running events (3 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze). Our gold medalists were Meseret Defar in the Women's 5000 meters, Tirunesh Dibaba in the women's 10,000 meters, and Tiki Gelana in the Women's marathon. 
The more you know!

 *Obtained at and wikipedia.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Officially Expecting!

Jay and I have an exciting announcement…We are officially EXPECTING! We submitted our dossier, the entire compilation of documents we have collected over the past 5 months, on July 23. I have to be honest, it was a little hard to let go of! We have spent a lot of time, effort, and not to mention money collecting all of these documents and making sure they were meticulously correct.  Don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled that the paperwork process is largely complete (except for occasional renewals along the way), however this collection was the only solid thing we had that showed our progress towards bringing our little man home. Handing it over to the guy at the post office who barley smiled or made eye contact was a bit tough. As he was stuffing it into the envelope, I literally had to catch myself from saying, “Hey buddy, careful with that! do you have any idea what your stuffing in there?!” Thankfully, our package made it all the way Oregon, and after a few corrections, we now have something even more substantial to hold to…an official wait list number!

So, when can we expect to bring him home? Well, here is how the process works. Now that we are on the waitlist (which means that 115  families are waiting ahead of us for their child) we will get monthly updates on our wait list number. Now some of these families are waiting for different ages, sibling groups, and some are on both the girls and boys wait list, so the number will change according to the number of children that match the criteria of the waiting families. Once we get down to single digits, we can expect a phone call at literally any moment. Once a child is placed in an orphanage that matches our criteria (boy, under the age of 12 months) and we are next on the list, we are given a referral (the long awaited phone call). The U.S. embassy then makes several investigations into making sure this child is truly an orphan and if not, that any remaining family members relinquish all rights to the courts. The child also undergoes some testing for HIV, Hepatitis, and other diseases and we are given all available medical information to review with our international adoptive pediatrician. Once the phone call arrives, we have a small amount of time to decide whether we will accept the referral or not. I will get more into this process as we approach it. So in short, not a quick process, and we are said to anticipate a wait of about 18 months, however we KNOW that God is in control here and not the governments and paper pushers as we sometimes like to believe, so our son will be home when he is supposed to be. When we get our official updated monthly wait list number, I plan to update the timeline to the left on the blog accordingly.

So, what to do in the meantime? Prepare! Jay and I are starting to fundraise (as many may have seen through facebook posts). God has provided SO much this far in the process, but it’s time we also start planning. Our first fundraiser is a yard sale! We are asking anyone with items they are willing to part with (aka donate) to help lend a hand in making our yard sale a success to contact either Jay or I.  It will take place September 29th and 30th and we are willing to come get items and even help box them up! For those who may not have any items to donate, maybe just stop by that weekend! We have furniture, cloths, purses, household items and I’m sure lots of odds and end necessities for a simple donation. We also plan to have baked goodies and maybe even some of Jay’s famous lemonade available (actually its made from powder but still pretty tasty!). Ok, second fundraiser, we have a coffee storefront! What better way to support bringing our little bundle home than to sell something originally founded in his home country! We are working through Just Love Coffee Roasters, who helps raise funds for adoptive families, just by purchasing coffee from their store. Rob Webb and his wife Emily, who have adopted two girls from Ethiopia themselves, initially founded this unique fundraiser. The Webb’s found that many fundraisers for adoptive families were difficult and lacked a good sound model for helping financially support adoptions. They formed the Just Love Coffee Roasters fundraising program as a result, and it is very simple. Jay and I get the word out about the website and our adoption, and they do the rest, with some of the proceeds helping us along the way (any where from $5 for most bags to $19 for samplers!) It’s a great way for all you coffee lovers out there to enjoy the finest fair trade, organic, and shade-grown coffee beans from all over the world (including Ethiopia!), while also supporting bringing home our little nugget as well! Here is our store, stop by and check it out!
We also have a link and a video describing the fundraiser at the top of the blog.

Additionally, we are preparing by doing a lot of reading! There is a lot to learn when it comes to becoming a first time parent, particularly to an international orphan. These kiddos often are developmentally, emotionally, and physically behind for their age as the result of being in an orphanage when so many babies aren’t held, rocked to sleep, or even comforted when they cry (heart breaking). Thankfully, there are a lot of qualified professionals who have studied this and shared their wisdom through lots of publications, web seminars, and conferences. I am trying to make it my goal to always be in at least one book or educational session during this wait so we know what to expect and how to overcome the obstacles. We are also following a lot of other adoptive parents blogs and they are SO helpful because they are honest with what is going on and how they are managing. So, I plan to do the same. Who knows, maybe someone reading THIS adoption blog is feeling their heart being tugged towards the orphan crisisJ

Lastly, Jay and I are truly going to take this time in wait to grow together and spend and enjoy the time of just being “us”.  We have a lot of our friends and family relocating near us in Columbus, and we are enjoying ever second of being near them all! We are also continuing to volunteer at our church together, with the middle school ministry. We actually have a lot of adoptive kids, and they teach us endlessly about their perspective on adoption…invaluable information!
We have been praying together nightly for Ethiopia, help for orphans there, and our sons birth parents, and we are asking that you do the same.  Everywhere I look now I see Africa and Ethiopia and talk about orphans. Perhaps its because I’m more open to it now, but I see God making changes there and all over the world. Pretty hard not to see his fingerprints throughout this entire process and the hearts He is changing to help this world and all the people in it.   I found this quote recently and it totally shook me to the core…

Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Very powerful, so I had to share.

Ok, time once more for Ethiopian Education, my little opportunity to educate myself, Jay, and of course all of you, on our future son’s home country. This fact is very fascinating to me and I truly loved researching it. Did you know that Ethiopia claims that the final resting place for the Ark of the Covenant is in the holy city of Aksum, which used to be the capital of Ethiopia? The Ark is said to be located at St. Mary’s of Zion Church and has its own guardian. “The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant” is a man who reportedly lives his entire life inside a fenced-off area surrounding the compound. He never leaves this compound, and will only leave when he dies and is replaced by the next guardian. Inside the chapel of the church are 30 robes of 30 previous guardians on display, with everyone of the 30 professing they have seen the Ark and are indeed guarding it from the general public. As we all know, this is a sacred object, but according to reports, it could become defiled and polluted if the world looked at it (which does follow what scripture says…). Apparently, the villagers (including the guardian) are all willing to sacrifice their lives if necessary to protect this Holy historic object. So, what does the Bible say about the Ark? Well, some people believe the Ark is a mute point now that the Messiah has come, but others believe the Ark is going to play a role during the period of time following the Messiahs future victory over the worlds system before he institutes His eternal kingdom on earth. What’s more, they point to Isaiah 18 vs. 7which states “In that time a present will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin (Ethiopians, according to verse 1*) to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion.” The present? Well…you guessed it…perhaps the Ark!…..Here is a bit of a diddy I found that CNN did on this topic…Enjoy!

                                  CNN story: Ethiopia and The Ark of the Covenant

*Isaiah 18:1- “Listen, Ethiopia—land of fluttering sails that lies at the headwaters of the Nile”- New Living Translation