Sunday, May 24, 2009

One AAI family's experience

Recently we received a letter from a family that adopted two older children from Layla House last year. It brought tears to all of our eyes and we asked permission to share it along with family photos below.'s what makes our work so worthwhile.

Thank you for the updated information from Addis Ababa. It makes me glad that we used AAI and that we are sponsoring an AAI employee in his pursuit of further education. I imagine that you might hear more often from frustrated or disgruntled clients than happy families. (I'm a teacher, and that's how it works in my field!)

Please know that we are thrilled with our decision to adopt M­­ihret and Tsion last fall. They came home in September at ages 13 (Mihret) and 10(Tsion) after spending seven months at Layla House. They have both flourished in their new home. Our son Mihret has been on the A/B Honor Roll every quarter, and he recently scored at the 80th percentile on the North Carolina End-of-Grade math test. He was required to take it, despite the language barrier and gaps in his knowledge base. He worked very hard in preparation for the exam, and we are amazed by his score. Tsion takes her test in a few weeks, and my husband (a math teacher) thinks she'll do just as well as her brother. She's a math superstar, apparently. They are both on soccer teams, and doing well with that too. Tsion is especially aggressive and talented on the field.

We call their father in Addis Ababa every few weeks and send letters and photos back and forth. We believe the contact with the kids' Ethiopian father has really helped the children cope with the transition. He is a wonderful man who raised his children with values and expectations that align with ours. (He used to buy them books and nag them to read. Now the kids are stuck with an American mom who teaches English and insists on daily reading. They never complain.) We feel very fortunate to have had the chance to meet their father while we were in Addis Ababa. Thank you for providing that opportunity to adopting families. I have heard that other agencies do not allow families to meet (adopting families and Ethiopian families), and I think that is a real disservice to the children involved.

Last year we were on the list for an infant girl up to 18 months when we fell in love with Mihret and Tsion on the Feb. '08 waiting child video. Now I am pregnant and our third child is due in five weeks. Believe me, it worked out perfectly. Two babies would have been very stressful, financially and otherwise. We've already got the two best kids in the world in Mihret and Tsion. I just hope our third child will be so special. His name will be Ezra Tamrat, in honor of Mihret and Tsion's Ethiopian father, Tamrat. Although people like to tell us that Mihret and Tsion are lucky, we feel that Ezra is the luckiest kid in the world to have such amazing older siblings. I'm sorry for rambling, but please know that every day Kevin and I marvel at our good fortune in being blessed to parent such fantastic children.

Thank you for all you do for the people of Ethiopia.



  1. Please pass the kleenex.....It's so nice to hear "the rest of the story" isn't it? I love how they keep in contact with the kid's birth father, that is so great! What a wonderful family! More stories please :) ......

  2. I agree! I loved this, please continue with other families...

  3. a beautiful family! thanks for sharing their story!

  4. Oh, this is just wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. What beautiful children!

  5. This is great...I love how they went into the process heading in one direction, then took a detour and ended up with a wonderful older sibling set and how its all worked out perfectly for their family. And I completely agree that it is such a gift to have the communication with birth family when they are known. Beautiful!

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!
    Jenny L.

  7. Sarah,
    Thank you so much for posting the story of your beautiful family. My husband and I are at the beginning of our adoption journey and your words make us even more excited and grateful.