Help Emily and her Miracle, Tam!

I'm setting up this GoFundMe for my dear friend Emily Kenny; all of the proceeds will go directly to her.

Anyone lucky enough to know Emily knows that she has been in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia for nearly three years. It has been a marathon journey, with incredible highs, but also setbacks that would have been impossible to overcome if not for the sheer faith, determination, and grit shown by Emily. It has been agonizing for those of us on the outside to witness the "two steps forward, one step back" progress Emily has had to make; I can't begin to imagine what these years have felt like for her.

After mountains of paperwork and years of saving money (adoption is really expensive!), Emily was matched with her son Tamirat (whose name means Miracle), and not a moment too soon. After another six months of endless boxes to be checked, she learned she was just steps away from getting the court date needed to officially transfer custody of Tam to her. She packed her bags and flew to Ethiopia with the promise, "I'm not coming back until I have my son."

As a self-employed businesswoman, Emily knew she would be taking a financial hit when she left town, and planned accordingly, even generously. She saved even more, and rescheduled appointments to build out weeks of time away from her business. But of course, the Universe couldn't let this last trial be simple and easy for Emily. Soon after arriving, the Ethiopian government announced they were shutting down all foreign adoptions. Information was sparse and unreliable, but if Emily could get her court date, there was a chance she could just squeak by before the shut down, and still bring Tam home.

And so started over two months of visiting Tam at the orphanage every day and their falling in love with each other, where she needed to keep up a brave face while she battled with the uncertainty of ever being able to bring him home. Everything that could go wrong went wrong: a police report from the time Tam was found abandoned had been lost and needed to be resent; an ad run in the paper with Tam's photo making sure no one claimed him before her court date had errors and had to be re-run for another two weeks; the list goes on. Her weeks away from her life and business turned into months away.

At last, on June 15th, the miracle. She got her court date. Tam was officially her son!

Emily is still in Ethiopia while she waits for Tam's visa and completes yet more paperwork and hoop jumping. When she returns, she will have been away from La Grande for nearly three months.

If you've talked in depth with Emily about this adoption, you know it doesn't feel like a choice to her. It is a calling that she couldn't turn away from. She has gone above and beyond sacrificing for this child, and experienced emotional extremes with truly inspiring grace.

I'm setting up this GoFundMe campaign and donating to Emily for so many reasons: she is responsible, it is a joy to help out a new parent, and she would never ask for help herself. There are so many of us who want to help Emily and celebrate Tam's homecoming, and might spend money on a toy or piece of clothing that's cute and wonderful, but not actually helpful to Emily or Tam. I completely trust Emily to put my money to the best use for her new family, whether that's recouping costs for an unexpected two months of lost income, buying Tam the food and clothes he needs, paying for preschool, or starting a college fund. Please join me in helping Emily out with this monumental task she is taking on with such courage and grace!
  • Andy Steele  
    • $25 
    • 57 mos
  • Maureen Kemp 
    • $200 
    • 58 mos
  • Mary Lewis 
    • $250 
    • 58 mos
  • Cerise Smallwood 
    • $100 
    • 58 mos
  • Grande REACH  
    • $100 
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See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Kirsten Johnson 
La Grande, OR
Emily Kenny