June 23, 2010

Gotcha Day!

In the world of adoption, the day you first get to wrap your arms around your child is referred to as Gotcha Day!  Exactly one year ago I held Janissa for the very first time.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  The memories of traveling to Ethiopia with my sister-in-law Kathy are etched in my mind and on my heart forever.  June 24 will always be a special day for Janissa and I, one that we will celebrate every year.

Check back in a few days for a video - it's much too late for me to try and finish it on time for this post.

June 13, 2010

Thank You Christy!

My friend Christy, a very talented woman, made this photo of Janissa for me. It's on canvas covered with Ethiopian newspaper. She was able to capture this image of Janissa from a photograph taken the first time I held her in my arms nearly a year ago. I will treasure this most wonderful gift forever.

If you are interested in having a similar painting of your child, please feel free to get in touch with Christy at christyvk@yahoo.com. I highly recommend you do!

June 1, 2010

Bonga, Ethiopia

Janissa was born in Bonga, in the Kaffa Region of Ethiopia.  Bonga is located just southwest of Jimma in the Keficho Shekicho Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (often abbreviated as SNNPR).  Bonga sits upon a hill in the upper Barta valley, with an elevation of 1714 meters above sea level.  Bonga is the administrative center of the Keficho Shekicho Zone with a population of approximately 20,000.  Its capital is Awassa.

The neighboring area is known for hot springs, caves and waterfalls. There are fourteenth century ruins associated with the former Kingdom of Kaffa.  The city is a center for the buying of honey and cardamom.

Another family and I hired someone to travel there for us and take photos of the orphanage where our girls first stayed, and to collect other information and photos for our daughters when they are older.  I wanted to share some of those photos so you get an idea of where my little girl might have grown up had her life taken another direction.  I hope you enjoy this slideshow.