Saturday, January 11, 2014

"STUCK" in Ethiopia

Dear friends and family,

It has been awhile since we last posted. Terefe remains in Ethiopia, and we continue to Skype with him every Saturday morning for the allotted 5 minutes.  He is so full of smiles, and he is getting so big! Terefe is pulling himself up in his crib and cruising around.  We continue to receive updated pictures of him and are happy to share these pictures with friends/family privately.
Our final fundraiser was November 9 and was very successful.  We had a dinner, silent auction, children's activities, and a band.  Our church, Belmont Mennonite, and our friends and family put in a lot of work to help us pull this altogether. Also, thank you to the band, Matt & Jason. We appreciate everyone's support and prayers. This fundraiser brought us close enough to our goal. :-)

But we are STUCK...

As many of you have noticed on Facebook, we have been talking a lot about CHIFF.  This is our main focus right now, as this act, The Children in Families First Act of 2013, can bring great reform to international adoption and get many children, including our Terefe, into permanent, loving families.

This is what CHIFF is about:

Please go to where you will be able to search for your state representatives and senators contact information. A sample phone script can be found there, and we encourage everyone to call.

Chris was able to share our story with President Jimmy Carter.  He wrote a letter and shared pictures of Terefe, and this was delivered and handed to him personally by a mutual friend.  The letter shared our concerns with the possibility of Ethiopia shutting down, UNICEF's influence over the government and our hope to bring our son home soon.  This was President Carter's response:

We Pray that Ethiopia remains open...

As Ethiopia considers closing its doors to international adoption, our hearts go out to the orphans and families who have been hoping to bring them home.  

Where the Problem stems from...

We understand why the numerous background checks, references, and paperwork must be completed. It is time consuming, but it is to protect the child and make sure they're being placed in a safe environment. We also understand  that once a family is matched with a child, extensive research is done on the child.  Whether the parents died, they could not afford to care for their child, or whatever the case may be.  We appreciate this.  We would never want to take someone's child from them and we understand why all of these processes are in place.

However, it is getting to the point where the amount of red tape that the US Embassy is placing on adoption agencies is making it more and more difficult, if not impossible is some situations, for children needing loving families to be placed with them.  In Ethiopia it costs money to get a birth certificate.  Often children are placed for adoption because of the poverty -- Not every parent can afford to purchase a birth certificate for their child.  
Similarly, all countries are being encouraged to go "Hague."  Hague is even more stringent and more "impossible."  Ethiopia is not yet under Hague, but is moving that way.  Hague makes it especially difficult to adopt from a third world country -- adoption agencies cannot simply "create" the birth certificate or birth record.  If one does not exist, a loving family cannot adopt the child...period.  In the case of Haiti, many birth records were destroyed in the hurricane.  Parents' permission is required to adopt their child.  What does this mean for orphans? 

We have learned that an organization known for helping children, believe it or not has been encouraging governments for years that it is better for children to remain in their own country rather than to be adopted abroad.  Ethiopia, being such a poor country, cannot take care of its orphans, yet this well-known organization is known to bribe orphanages with large sums of money.  In return, the orphanage does not complete or turn over the needed paperwork for the adoption to be completed.  We all wonder why this occurs (especially from an organization that is known to care so much for children), but it has been observed far too often.  

But CHIFF can change this.  

Please, friends, Support CHIFF.  Share this blog.  Let's get it going Viral.  The kids need us.

Stay tuned for our upcoming "Stuck" party where we will show the documentary and discuss CHIFF.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

144 Envelopes Fundraiser

Now that we are matched, we will need to provide a large portion of the finances for our adoption. We are still a long ways from our total need, and though it is difficult for me to ask (because of pride), we would like to humbly ask your help with this fundraiser:

Here is the idea:

We take 144 envelopes. We number each envelope 1-144. (that's the easy part)

Next, we will ask people to commit to taking an envelope (or more than one if you are feeling overly ambitious and super generous. :)

When you agree to an envelope, it means that you are volunteering to be responsible for coming up with the dollar amount on your numbered envelope. So, if you have the number 1 you would commit to $1. If you have the number 2 you would be committing to $2, and so on. The highest numbered envelope is 144. So the most anyone would commit to is $144.

*You do not have to come up with the money on your own. Ask your friends and family members to join you. Perhaps you could have your small group commit to taking an envelope or two, or you could do your own fundraiser. (If you do this, please let us know, so we can advertise your fundraiser and give others ideas on how they could raise funds!)

Your envelope will be sent to you with the number you have requested. It will already have a stamp and our address for you to send your pledge back to us once you have collected it. (We are having them sent to our personal address to collect them all to send them into our adoption agency together).

Now here is the incredible thing...

If all 144 envelopes are committed to and returned...this fundraiser would bring in $10,000! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Its Happening!

It's a boy!!!

We received a referral from Celebrate Children International on August 29th, 2013!  He is approximately 10 months old and his name is Terefe!  
We should be able to bring him home in January, 2014.

Erin and I are so excited!

We've seen countless photos and a video of him; we are in love.  He's adorable!

God is amazing.
Each time a payment is due, he's made sure we have almost the exact amount needed in our adoption fund.

In order to bring him home, we will be having more fundraisers in the coming months.  We hope to have a dinner/silent auction type fundraiser in late October.

Terefe, we can't wait to meet you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

T-Shirt Fundraiser

"A baby is born with the need to be loved and never outgrows it."
Shown in Blue
The back of the shirt shows a Fred Rogers quote:
"Anyone who does something to help a child is a hero to me."

T-shirt Fundraiser!

Shown in Orange
Erin & I are selling t-shirts as our next fundraiser!

We are excited about our t-shirt design, created by T-Zone Apparel of Milford.  The shirts are available in a dark orange and light blue and are $20 each.  We have many sizes available immediately and will order additional shirts as needed.  
E-mail me at chipsher @ with any questions or to order!

We appreciate everyone's support!  For those that adore kids like we do, these shirts are perfect. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Adoption Concert

Our adoption concert is about a month away!  Saturday, June 15th
We have 3 great bands lined up!
Opening the show will be Barry Ray Heflick and Doug Rice with some family sing-a-longs and adult contemporary music from 12:30 to 1:30.  A Christian band, Matt & Jason, will perform from 3:00 - 5:30 with some of their original modern worship.  Rounding out the day will be Primal Urge. They'll be covering some of the best 90's rock music from 6:00 - 8:30.

Please "share" or print the flyer!  
We look forward to a fun day at Congdon Park!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Amazing things happening in April

Chris and I are pleased to have sent in some very important paperwork this morning.  Our dossier (a complete notarized profile) has been shipped to Washington DC to be authenticated by our US Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy.  We are also awaiting approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to adopt internationally.  These days checking the mailbox has been exciting times as we wait for one letter after another going on to the next step of our adoption journey.  As I heard our adoption agency workers state we are in the time of the, "paper pregnancy."

We are excited to share that a local Christian band named Matt & Jason will perform on June 15th at Congdon Park in the afternoon for our adoption concert fundraiser.  Visit Matt & Jason's website to learn more about them and their music at:
For those of you that like the alternative rock music of the 90's.  Primal Urge, a band from Fort Wayne, will perform in the evening on June 15th.  Their website is
Come out to hear these talented bands on Saturday, June 15th.  We are currently seeking an alternative location in case of unfavorable weather.  Please let us know if you have any ideas of an indoor venue in the area we could use as a backup.

In His Amazing Grace,

Erin Hipsher

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Ways to Help Bring Home our Child!

Dear friends and family,

We have multiple fundraisers planned or ongoing right now:

1. Our "Piece of the Puzzle" fundraiser, in which we are asking folks to sponsor a puzzle piece or pieces for $12/piece. Each piece will have the person's name on the backside, and our child will be able to look at the puzzle and see who helped bring them home.

2. Our "Just Love Coffee" fundraiser, in which we have created a virtual storefront. Our "storefront" is directly located at anyone who purchases from the website after entering through our storefront will help us earn money for our adoption fund. Check out the store. It has many different types of coffee, most being organic and free trade, and many other products. Its a wonderful organization that we are excited to be working through.  Use the code "KissTheRim" to receive 10% off your order for a limited time.

3. We have a
"Yard Sale" planned for June 1st at our church, Belmont Mennonite in Elkhart. Many people have been donating items they don't need anymore that we will be selling with 100% going to our adoption fund. If you would like to help by saving items for us, or by shopping at the Yard Sale, save the date!

4. Another date to save is June 15th. This will be our "Ethiopian Adoption Benefit Concert". The music will be provided by Fort Wayne's own "Primal Urge", a group thoughtful enough to donate their time and talents so that we can keep 100% of the proceeds. They play 90's rock, such as music from Pearl Jam and Sublime and are quite talented. The suggested donation is $10/person with children being free and welcome. There is a large playground near the stage. The concert will be held at Congdon Park in Bristol, and beautiful park near the river. 
We are considering having Primal Urge play sometime between 6:30 and 7:00. We have the bandstand reserved all day, so we are looking for other bands to volunteer their time!  There is a great area near the stage to have picnics. 

5. We have opened our "CafePress Storefront."  We have a variety of items, including shirts, mugs, cards, stickers, hats, and more!  We receive a percentage of every purchase made, so please share our page: products feature a quote by Mr. Fred Rogers, "Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life, is a hero to me." 

Please consider one (or all!) of these fundraisers.

If you are unable to contribute monetarily, we will always need volunteers for the events, publicity for the events, and prayers!!

Please please please feel free to "share" this and tell all those you know. We appreciate all of you from the bottom of our hearts.