Melkam Addis Amet! Happy Ethiopian New Year!

11. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

Today is Mäskäräm 1 in Ethiopia which means today is the first day of the New Year 2007 or “Enkutatash”. The Ethiopian calendar is much more similar to the Egyptian Coptic calendar having a year of 13 months, 365 days and 366 days in a leap year (every fourth year) and it is much influenced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which follows its ancient calendar rules and beliefs. The Ethiopian calendar is always seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian (Western) and Eastern Orthodox Church calendars during September and December and eight years and four months behind during January and August. 

Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.

Enkutatash is a very festive occasion traditional celebrations can vary from area to area. Generally after attending church in the morning, families gather to share a traditional meal of injera (flat bread) and wat (stew). Later in the day, young girls donning new clothes, gather daisies and present friends with a bouquet, singing New Year’s songs. They often receive a small gift in return, usually either money or bread. Young boys paint pictures of saints to give away and also receive a small token in return. The day of festivities winds down with families visiting friends and sharing a drink of tella, Ethiopian beer, while children go out and spend their newly received riches. 

In honor of Enkutatash we are looking for donations for our Women’s Project in Adama that helps support single women in need of jobs and opportunity. This program is a self-sustaining program but your donations help bring more women into the project. As these women earn income a portion is funded back into the program which gives opportunity for even more women to receive the valuable training and vocational skills to become self-reliant and provide for their families and children. You can learn more about this amazing project here: http://westsandsadoption.org/blog/page/3/. Donations can be made using this link http://westsandsadoption.org/donate/ or by checks mailed to our office at 1240 East 100 South #1, St. George, UT 84790. West Sands Adoptions is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and you will receive a receipt for your donation for tax purposes.


Betam Ameseginalehugn! (Thank You!)





Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee Increase

3. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

visa_stampWe were notified today that the immigrant visa fees for immediate relative applications (I-600 and I-800 cases) has increased from $230 to $325. This fee is applicable for all visa fees paid to in-country US Consulates and US Embassies after September 12th, 2014.

For more information you visit the Department of State’s website here: 


Talk about a Teenage Dream!

19. August, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

Feven and Katy Perry2Some of you know her some of you don’t. She’s one of the sweetest things to ever hit Kentucky, smart, beautiful, strong, talented (and did we mention a very gifted singer)! Feven was adopted last year and she is someone who has touched every heart here at West Sands Adoptions. As a waiting child you can imagine Feven’s road home was not easy. With a strong heart and will and an amazing family Feven has conquered challenges most of us will never know. Feven just had a birthday and received an amazing surprise that you won’t believe! THE Katy Perry brought Feven up on stage last Saturday live in concert, talk about a Teenage Dream!

We are so proud of you Feven! What an amazing girl you are! You’ve always been a celebrity here in our office now you are a bona fide rock star! You go girl!! You definitely deserved this awesome gift and experience. We love you Feven!

Everyone in Kentucky is talking about it and so far Feven and Katy Perry’s duet has hit the local news and radio. We borrowed the following article from WDRB.com:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Sixteen-year-old Feven Kruer of Shelbyville entered a contest before Katy Perry’s concert at the KFC YUM Center Saturday night open to anyone 16 years or older with a birthday in August.

Kruer won, and Perry’s team selected her to go on stage with the superstar.

Perry even told her that she loved her costume.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard from the Kruer family.

In 2013, we interviewed them about international adoptions. Feven was adopted from Ethiopia last year.

Her family says her teacher encouraged her to listen to American music to help learn English, and it was Katy Perry’s music that Feven started listening to.

She turns 17 on Friday.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.


link to original article: http://www.wdrb.com/story/26301508/shelbyville-teen-joins-katy-perry-on-stage



Ethiopia Program August 2014 Update

1. August, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

Dear Families,

Welcome August 2014! In July 2 families received court dates and traveled to meet their children and 1 more family brought their child home! As you are all aware we are heading toward court closure this month. We know you are all anxious to receive a referral and wondering if this is possible with court closing. The answer is it is possible! Since the Regional and Local Governments in Ethiopia continue to work through rainy season there is still a chance referrals will come during the closure but those cases will take additional time to process. No official date of closure has been announced but we are anticipating closure to begin around mid-August and re-open in October. As we receive information we will update our blog with current information.

In July 2 children were matched with their forever families. 1 toddler (new referral) and 1 older child (waiting child – dual process). We also received a new referral for another healthy 12 year old boy whom we were not able to match this month. Please take a moment to read the current list of waiting children who are ready to be referred immediately.

​Ethiopia Waiting Children

(documents complete)

*4 year old boy – Paraplegia from waist down

*10 year old boy – Healthy

​*11 year old boy – HIV+

*11 year old boy – Healthy

*12 year old boys​ (2) – Healthy

*13 year old boy – HIV+

*13 year old boy – Healthy

_______________SIBLING GROUPS_________________

*15 year old girl & 10 year old boy – Healthy

*14 year old girl & 10 year old boy – Healthy


​If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about any of these waiting children please contact your caseworker.  Keep in mind that families can pursue a waiting child and remain on the list for an infant referral​through the Ethiopia Dual-Process Program. We are also offering a Dual-Program for families interested in pursuing our​​ China Special Needs Program as they wait for a referral from Ethiopia.

​​​There is a great need for families for the children who are currently approved and waiting in orphanages. Waiting children are children who we have receive referrals for but cannot match with current families. Waiting children tend to be over the age of 8, older child sibling groups, and children who have more severe special needs.  We know this wait has been very difficult and each month adds to the stress and waiting. We also know there are currently children in process waiting for approval but what we don’t know is the timeframe. While we wait for infant referrals we will continue to advocate for the waiting children of Ethiopia and encourage each family to consider their options moving forward.