Monday, December 29, 2008

Tadias' 20 Favorite People of the Year

Please go to to read about a super impressive list of Heroes.

Included is photographer, Aida Muluneh who is my final ARTIST SPOTLIGHT of 2008!

Aida Muluneh: Reshaping our global image through photography
"I have spent most of my artistic career promoting alternative images of Africa. DESTA For Africa was born out of my belief that we have to be accountable for how the world perceives us. Even though Africa is ever growing and rapidly changing, the images that we see in the mass media are not reflective of that, ” Muluneh says in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine.

“I feel that African artists have a responsibility to manage how the continent’s image is portrayed, and we can do that by actually providing the necessary education and resources to those who are interested in documenting their own realities.”

Her new organization, appropriately named DESTA (happiness in amharic) for Africa, is a local NGO based in Addis Ababa. Muluneh (pictured above) hopes to encourage a new generation of African Photographers who are able to compete in the global media industry while reshaping the image of Africa reflecting their personal experiences.

Go Aida - We support you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Tonight was great because it is Natalie and Dominic's Birthday and I was lucky enough to spend time with my new adoption community family - Nat, Dom , Julie O  - (all have referrals waiting for court date like me), Heather & Chris (Mimi's parents and a very very dear friend Russell (visiting from Sydney).  This journey continues to bring me so many awesome blessings.  What an amazing circle of friends.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Day I met LT

I had been on the wait list 6 months and 2 weeks when my life changed Tuesday, 12/23 at 12:20pm when I was at work and Britney yelled to me, you have a phone call.  I said, "ask Mike to take a message." And she said it's Abbey and I said, "I don't know..." and she said "Abbey from Gladney." At that moment my heart stopped and I sprinted down the hall about 200ft. My coworkers must have thought that I was crazy. I never expected the "call" on my work line, I assumed they would call my cell.
Out of breathe, I yelled "Abbey" and she said, "Amy, I have a Christmas Present for you" from that moment on...I was a little bit in a state of shock.  I saw her and felt so blessed. She felt familiar. Anyone who has gone through "the call" knows that it's so much to process but I was lucky enough to have Sandro, Christian and so many good friends near.

I was not expecting the call. I thought it would take a little longer AND I just assumed the agency would be closed Christmas week --BUT I was wearing my Liv necklace (courtesy Suzanne), my father's ring AND my Africa T-shirt on this day. I was also obsessively listening to an unplugged version of "Africa" on my Itunes. All of these things were special to that day.

Her name is awesome and it made me giggle most of the day. It's charming and melodic and I spent most of the day smiling about her and the perfect timing of it all and thanked my father. Outside of studying her pictures and sharing the magical news, I have been counting my blessings as I know that I am so so lucky to have this special being enter my life. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through this process. I am so grateful and Thank You Santa!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Christmas present ever!!!!!!!!!!

I got the call on 12/23 at 12:20pm. She is a divine 9 month miracle. More to come but I just had my family unwrap her photos. It can't get much better than this.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Girl Power

New York (Tadias) - U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA) and “African Synergy”, an organization founded by African First Ladies, are convening their first joint health summit entitled “Leadership for Health” at the RAND Corporation in Los Angeles. The two-day summit in April 2009 will focus on HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and girls’ education, as Africa’s First Ladies seek to forge new partnerships with U.S.-based agencies and foundations to tackle the continent’s health crisis.

Over 20 African First Ladies are expected to assemble for their first-ever U.S.-based health summit on April 20-21, 2009, and will be hosted by USDFA, a California based non-profit organization, founded by social entrepreneur Ted Alemayuhu (pictured above).

“These First Ladies recognize their powerful position as role models, spokeswomen and advocates for their people,” says Ted Alemayhu, Founder and Chairman of USDFA. “Through collaborations with our organization and the summit’s other partners, we believe they can continue to inspire and work towards even greater change in their countries.”

The expected dignitaries hail from member countries of “African Synergy”, a health initiative alliance made up of 22 African First Ladies, established in 2002. Participating nations include: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Maurice, Namibia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Senegal, Sudan, Chad, and Togo.

The April 2009 summit will engage the First Ladies in professional skills-building workshops, identify top priorities for the coming year, highlight key partners on the ground, and name actionable steps towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS and education.

“This is probably one of the most empowering initiatives we have ever been involved in,” says Mr. Alemayhu. “What is exciting about this particular partnership is that the entire movement is initiated and mobilized by the First Ladies themselves. USDFA and African Synergy share the common belief that healthcare is a basic human right, and recognize that a healthy population is essential for growth, development, and prosperity in every society and this is a great testimony, commitment, and dedication that needs to be encouraged and supported by all stake-holders around the world.”

The closed door VIP summit is being organized by USDFA in collaboration with the RAND corporation, UCLA, ONE, the Vital Voices Global Partnership and White Ribbon Alliance, as well as General Electric and Procter & Gamble, which are listed as sponsors.

Invited guests include former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Sarah Brown (First Lady of UK), and Maria Shriver (First Lady of California) . The Gala event will be co-chaired by actress Jessica Alba.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Know Love

What's interesting about the waiting is that the longer I wait the more at peace I am. I wonder how I'll feel once I am matched, but for now I wait with a knowingness that she's right around the corner. I no longer question my capabilities or obsess over the timing of her arrival or our connection.  I know.

This feeling was further confirmed when I met a stranger today in the most charming and unique coffee shop. I told her about my adoption. She told me that she felt my father around me and that he is kind and is with me and orchestrating Liv's arrival and while there will be a delay, it's not a bad thing. She said when you get her it's like you're gonna breathe easier and she's going to have great cheeks and will challenge you in a good way and your life will flourish. I looked at her and I said with a pleased "I know". I felt proud to be touched by her insight and thanked my Poppy for speaking through her.

As I sit here tonight and hear the rain coming down I think about the goodness all around us and the connection we all have with one another and I think about the concept of One Love and decide I should write in my blog. One love refers to the universal love and respect expressed by all people for all people, regardless of race, creed, or color. To me, it means we are more alike that we realize and that our stories are all of our stories.

The last two years has brought me a tornado of feelings and all that comes with divorce and losing a parent and deciding to adopt as a single mom to a child of Ethiopia.  I'm proud to say that I've done my best to feel it through and honor my instincts and let go. And I thank Vivian Stringer the head coach of Rutgers Women's Basketball for her reminder that "we cannot always control the circumstances we're met with, but we can control how we react." Like Coach Stringer and my father, I stand tall and know that my baby is right around the corner.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beautiful Babies

I'm an auntie - Again and again and again and again (just this week :).  Presenting Charles (left) and Avital (right) born to my dear friend Lorraine.  The twins are healthy, tiny and just beautiful.

As children do, they bring us together.  As I celebrate these two, I also thank Alexis for her generous gift to Liv (insert tear) to help Ethiopian Orphans through AHope and I in turn, pay it forward and sponsor a child in honor of my sister-in-law Suzanne's 30th B-Day.  By the way, the party was fantastic.

It's all about kids, honoring mothers and giving with purpose this Holiday Season.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

There are many reasons...

...that I'm smiling today.  

Last night was one of the most powerful nights of my life.  This process has given me so much more than I ever imagined (and I haven't even met my daughter yet).  I never even conceived that I would find a group of people who are going through the same thing, who  love to spend time together AND are super cool.  I've come to think of this group as my extended family and I'm overwhelmed with the thoughts of what the future brings for us and our children.  

So I'll start -  Combined, we had a lot to celebrate.
Heather, Chris and Mimi returned from Ethiopia and shared the most beautiful video and photos.
Julie O had a birthday, a referral and was issued a court date.
Nat and Dom received their referral
Noah (of Ange and Anil) turned one
I'm now third (according to the unofficial FBI list), and my dear friend had her twins last night and I'm going to Bakersfield to see my family/friends today to celebrate with a fun party.

The adoption process brings a range of emotions and moments like last night where good friends can bond, cry, laugh and share make my heart smile.  I am honored and deeply touched to be a part of all of this.  So today I'm just going to smile.