This is an update from a family from my adoption agency on conditions and needs at our agencies orphanages. So great to here from a family that was just there.
I wanted to post my thoughts on both locations of BZ. There are many good
things about both. I spent several hours on 3 separate days at BZ Addis so can
tell you more about it. There are 9 cribs, all sets of 3. There are 3 older
children (ages 3,5,10). The 10 year old boy is amazing and has not been matched
with a family. I've been told he likely has polio. There is also a 2ish girl
with some physical/developmental delays.
Each time I was there only 2 nannies were working. Fewer than I had expected
but it seemed to work out. The older kids appeared to do their own thing with
the babies getting the majority of the attention from the nannies. The babies
don't all sleep at the same time so the nannies were able to manage all of them.
When babies wake up they are usually held and/or put in this toddler bed to
play. Babies don't cry long before receiving attention. Bebelac is the formula
being used. In some ways this is good since their tummies aren't constantly
adjusting to new formula. I don't think older babies received anything other
than formula. ALL of the children are VERY loved!!! When we first arrived there
were maybe 4 rattles between all of the children. The biggest problem I observed
was diaper rash. It's a big problem. The babies appeared to sit around wet for
long periods of time. I don't know how to get that changed. Maybe by sending
tons of cloth diapers???
We brought many, many toys. I hope that they are brought to both locations. I
offered to do this, but the orphanage manager told me to leave everything in
Addis and she would distribute it. If anyone else goes to Sebeta, please check
BZ-Sebeta: Let me tell you, it was a real task to get there! I felt like an
undercover agent. I had heard from other families in the past that Biniyam and
the orphanage manager discouraged visits to Sebeta. So, I didn't tell anyone I
was going. Much easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I arranged with
Abraham the driver to go to Sebeta on Saturday to see the town since our son was
born there. Right as we got to town I casually mentioned that I also wanted to
go to BZ and deliver some care packages. He called Biniyam and Biniyam told me
it was too complicated to give directions. He suggested we call the orphanage
mgr. Instead, I asked Abraham to find the local police station and get
directions from them. He flagged down some man to ask about the police. Next he
went inside, came back and made a phone call and told me we had to wait 15 min.
Later some lady knocked on our car window, got in the car and lead us to BZ.
BZ Sebeta is very comparable to the Addis location. There are definitely more
older kids, but about the same # of babies. I can't exactly remember, but it
seems like there were 2 walls of 4 cribs, but maybe it was 3 walls. There were
at least 4 nannies present. It was definitely a surprise visit, so I feel that
this is how things operate all the time. The kids are also on Bebelac formula
and looked incredibly healthy! The nannies were very kind and let me take
pictures. They were happy to see our son after so many months. I really wish
Sebeta hadn't been such a mystery for months or that Susan would not have told
me that her best guess was the kids were on goat's milk. That created a lot of
> The needs at both orphanages are great. They are probably set on toys for a
while (particularly rattle-type baby toys), but you really can't have too many.
They do need more baby gyms or activity mats. I only brought 2. Other baby toy
needs are things for sitting babies, you know those 9 month and up baby toys.
They need cloths for all ages, crib sheets, blankets, as much diaper rash creme
as possible, lotion, vaseline, powder, bottles, crib mobiles, crib mirrors,
EVERYTHING!! Another project that needs to be taken on by a crafty person is
making new baby pillows. These pillows are used for everything-putting under
baby's head, under tummy for tummy time, to prop the bottle, etc. To say the
pillows are disgusting is an understatement. They need small pillows that are
made with shower curtain material and stuffed with pillow cases to go over them.
I think if you made the pillow cases vinyl instead, the actual pillow would
still get gross. I will post some pictures of each location and try to respect
the privacy of families. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
If you do take a day trip to Sebeta, stopping at the all-female monastary is
also a nice thing to do. Abraham now knows where BZ is, so it shouldn't be a
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