Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good News is Flooding the TAFRU Blog

Please visit Jes & Mel's blog for some good news.

It is private, but the information on how to get an invite is listed next to the blog link.

Hope I haven't missed any good news out there. If so, please leave a comment.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Yahoo Group

For anyone who is interested in joining, there is a new Yahoo group that has been formed for all families who have or are adopting from Toukoul. To join go to

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Almost Forgot

There is another family that has had some recent good news.

Check out A Play on Life. This is a private blog, so if you want an invite look under the private blog links and ask Kellyann for an invite.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a Great Holiday Season

I don't know how many of you check the blogs listed on the right hand side of the blog page, but a few have had some good news to announce this past week. One is a private blog, but information is posted on how to get a blog invite if you are interested.

Bushel and a Peck
Our Journey to Oliver
Theis Family Journey to Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TAFRU Attendees, Make Your Reservations

After contacting at least 10 different hotel, researching hotels and much discussion about hotels, the TAFRU committee has found, what we feel to be a good choice on hotel for the reunion.

Doubletree Hotel Portland
1000 NE Multnomah St.
Portland, OR

We have received a group rate of $58.00 per night. Yes, folks you read that correctly, $58.00 per night. This rate is for 1 or 2 adults per room. There is no additional charge for children under 18 years of age. The rate does go up to $68 per night for 3 adults in a room and $78 per night for 4 adults in a room, but still good rates.

In addition, the hotel is in a good location for our reunion. Not only is it in close proximity to events we are planning for the reunion, but it is located along the MAX line, so anyone flying into Portland for TAFRU can catch the Max and will be dropped off directly across the street from the hotel.

We have 20 rooms set aside for reservations at this time and can reserve more if necessary. Reservations will be accepted until Friday, July 23, 2010. In addition, if you make a reservation that needs to be cancelled, you also have until Friday, July 23, 2010 to do so. We obviously hope that no one will need to cancel their plans to attend TAFRU, but we do need to make sure everyone understands that any room reservation cancelled after that date will still incur the charges for that room. This is one of the requirements to get such a great room rate.
What we are asking families to do now is start reserving their rooms. If you plan on attending TAFRU or think you might attend TAFRU, please go ahead and reserve your room now.

Remember, even if you later discover you can't attend, you can cancel your reservation without charge. Just make sure it's done by the July 23, 2010 cut-off date. By making your reservation now, you'll be guaranteed a room and it will also give us a better idea on the actual number of rooms needed for the reunion. I know August seems like a long ways off, but we were shocked to discover that some of the hotels we contacted were already booked August 6-8, 2010. We just want to make sure we can get all the rooms we need and the closer it gets to reunion time, the more we risk not being able to get rooms if we need them. So please book early.

You can make your reservation by phone at (503)281-6111 and tell them you are with TAFRU, group code 605. You can also make reservations by visiting their website and when you get to the reservation details screen, enter 605 in the group/convention code box. You will need to secure your reservation with a credit card, but no charges will be assessed until check-out.

The TAFRU planning committee is working on the remaining plans for our reunion and doing our best to make this as fun, memorable, and successful as possible, so stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Toukoul Adoptive Families on Facebook

I don't know how many of you have joined the Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page, but one of our Toukoul families received some bad news about their little guy. Nicole Hall posted the news here. Please visit Facebook to show your support to Nicole and her family.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hotel Update

The reunion planning committee had hoped to make a decision on our hotel by this point, however, life seems to have gotten in the way of us working on reunion plans. Two committee members recently brought their children home from Ethiopia and needless-to-say they are happily busy with other things right now. Unfortunately, my oldest son has been in the hospital for the last 3 weeks so even though plans have been discussed, it's been slow going for the last several weeks.

Since the other committee members will one day be getting their referrals, traveling, bringing children home, we thought it would make sense to ask for a couple more committee volunteers to help with the planning.

The role on the committee would primarily be to provide input and feedback as we try to nail down all the details of the reunion.

If you would like to participate in the reunion planning, please email me - Don't worry about interviewing for the job. The first two to respond are the winners :-)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Need Your Input!

Hi Everyone!

We are still in the process of deciding on a hotel. What we've discovered is that we need some more input from you before we make a decision. In order to have the reunion run smoothly we would ideally like to have the activities and hotel in the same area of town. So, what would you like to do at the reunion? I am posting some polls to help narrow down our choices and will leave them up for about a week. Also, if you know of a location you think would make a great meeting place or an activity you would love to do leave us a comment! With your help we should have the location nailed down in the next couple weeks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Here Come the Referrals

I don't have any TAFRU information to post yet (hopefully soon), but we have some really happy families today.

Click here to congratulate the Theis family.

Click here to congratulate Shannon & Matt.

I hope this is just the beginning of the referral flood!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome Home!

I know of a couple families who have very recently returned home with their children.

Becky and Naing brought home Haven and Alec within the last few days.

Eric and Debra should be home now with their son Joseph or at least should be home very soon.

Referrals seem to be non-existent at the moment. I hope this is just the calm before the referral storm. If anyone has any referral news to share, please speak up.

We're still working on finding a hotel in the Portland area. The hotel information will be posted just as soon as we've found somewhere that will give us a good rate on the rooms.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anything Exciting?

I realize that the blog isn't very active at the moment. That will change in the future as we continue to make plans.

Until we have more TAFRU news to post, I'm asking everyone to share any news they might have. You can either leave a comment here or go to the Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page and post your news.

I know a couple of our Toukoul families have court dates coming up soon, some families recently passed court and now have their Embassy dates, but I haven't heard any referral news lately.

Has anyone gotten a referral over the last couple of weeks?

For those waiting on a referral, how long have you been waiting now?

Are you waiting for an infant, older child, sibling group, boy or girl?

For those who recently traveled, do you have suggestions for those of us who will be one day travel on our pick up trips?

If you haven't introduced yourself, please do so.

Do you have a blog that you would like us to include on the side bar?

Let's have some fun and get to know each other via cyber space until the day we can meet in person. After all, we are all part of the ever growing Toukoul family :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Input Requested

Hi TAFRU families!!!

As the planning committee discusses different ideas for the reunion, we realize that there will be costs involved. This weekend we've been discussing whether it makes more sense to make the reunion an all-inclusive type of weekend or a pay-as-you-go type of weekend. When we refer to all-inclusive we are referring to the costs involved for food and activities at those times the 'entire' group is together during the weekend. We would collect the money ahead of time and then take care of paying the food and activity bills for the entire group. Anyone needing accommodations will be paying for those separately.

If you are planning on attending TAFRU or even if you're just considering attending TAFRU at this point, we are asking you to participate in the poll on the right hand side of the blog page. Knowing what the majority of the group would like really does help us with our plans.

Our goal is to make the weekend as low-budget as possible while making sure it is fun, entertaining, and family oriented.

If anyone has any questions or ideas, please leave a comment for the planning committee.


Friday, July 17, 2009

May Be Kind of Slow

Because plans for TAFRU are going to take some time, there isn't going to be a lot of news posted on the blog. Right now we're checking out Portland area hotels for accommodations and hope to have something in place in September so travelers can start making their reservations. In the meantime, I don't want the blog to become a ghost town, so I thought it would be fun to share some Toukoul family news along the way.

I don't believe anything is posted on their blog yet, but Becky & Naing received some good news today, so watch their blog for details. Unless of course Becky would like to share something here :-)

The Peebles survived the news that the MOWA would be closed during their court date and were given the good news recently that their case will be heard on July 30th. Yeah!!!

Matt & Emily are now in ET picking up their precious baby girl.

The DeZutti's are also in ET picking up their handsome little guy.

I'm sure both these families will be blogging about their ET adventures and sharing lots of pictures when they return.

Mike & Laura returned home with adorable little Emme and Mona recently returned home with her cutie patootie Janissa.

If anyone else has news they would like to share, please post a comment here. Good news is always welcome!

There is still plenty of room to add blog links to this blog, so if you have a blog that you would like to share with us, please leave a comment with the information and we'll get it added.

If you didn't get an invite or see the information here, we now have a Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page. The link is on the right hand side of the blog page and so far 60 people have joined the FB page. We hope others will join and I want to encourage everyone to participate on FB. It's a great way for us to get to know each other and I know there are some who joined in hopes of getting information from those who have gone before, so please check out the discussion groups and share information about yourself on the wall.

Friday, July 10, 2009

21 Families

We have 26 families that participated in our recent attendance poll. Of those families 21 are making plans to attend TAFRU next summer. If you did not participate in the poll, but would like to attend TAFRU, please leave a comment and let us know. My hope is that over the next several months even more families will express their interest in attending.

In the meantime, we will begin looking at accommodations and activities during the reunion. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

A couple of weeks ago I created a Facebook page and have added that link to the blog page. We will continue to use the blog as a way of communicating information about TAFRU and Facebook will be used primarily as a way for us to get to know each other. Please click on the link and join us on Facebook.

In the meantime, continue to spread the word and check in from time to time for more information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I don't know how many of you read through the blogs that are listed on the right hand side of the blog page, but please take a moment to check out the blogs for Becky & Naing and Eric & Debra. They have some exciting announcements posted!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Votes Requested *Update*

We have 57 readers and 25 have provided us information on their plans for TAFRU next year. I know that it's almost impossible to predict what your plans might be a year from now and we are not asking for any commitment at all. We just need to know if there is any possibility that your family may be attending TAFRU next year and if you'll need accommodations while in Portland. If you know that the chances are slim to none that you'll be able to attend, then vote that way. If you think there is a slight chance that you'll be in attendance, please let us know. The last thing we want to do is start making plans for 20 families and then find out later that we're going to have 50 families attending and not be able to accommodate everyone. It really would be much easier to make arrangements for more and then cut back those numbers if we have to.

So, if you haven't cast your vote, please do so today. Voting ends tomorrow.

Thanks everyone!!!!


Because this information is so important in planning TAFRU, I've extended the poll until Friday afternoon. If you haven't participated in the poll, please do so. It will only take a couple seconds. Thanks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time is running out

Hi everyone. Please take the time and vote. We need to get an idea of how many people need hotel information. I know this seems a long time away next summer in August. But to make this a grand time for all, planning is needed. Planning takes information.
Also, please share this blog information with anyone you know that has adopted from Toukoul. If you need an invite sent to someone, let us know and we can send the invite.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gathering Information

Now that we have decided on Portland, OR as the location for TAFRU, we need to start gathering some information from each of you that will assist us in making plans.

One thing that we need assistance with is trying to determine the number of families who plan on attending TAFRU. This will help us in determining lodging needs, activities, food, etc.

I have set up a poll and am asking everyone to participate. We are not asking you to commit by any means, but to simply let us know if your family is planning/wanting to attend TAFRU next year and if your family will need lodging while in the Portland area. We understand that things will change over the course of the next year and as we get closer to the actual event we will gather more detailed information, but your input now will be very helpful to us as we work on the plans for TAFRU.

Thanks for your participation!!!!

TAFRU Location

Although we don't have a specific location yet established, TAFRU will be held in Portland, OR.

Also, in an effort to continue spreading the word to other Toukoul adoptive families, we have been in contact with 2 of the 3 agencies. We hope to make contact with the 3rd agency in the next week or so.

There is plenty of room to add blog links to the TAFRU blog site. If you would like to have your family blog included on the sidebar just leave us a comment with your blog address and we will be happy to add it. Some of our families are waiting on referrals, some are traveling soon and others already have their children home. I, for one, am having fun checking out the blogs to see how everyone is doing and getting to know each family. Being able to meet many of you next year will be the icing on the cake.

Stay tuned for further updates and possible polls.

Monday, June 15, 2009

TAFRU Date and Volunteers

Based on the results of the poll, our first ever Toukoul Adoptive Families Reunion will be August 6th - 8th, 2010.

Also, joining me in making plans for TAFRU are Laura George, Kellyann Redick, Becky Zaw-Tun and Alisha Josifek. These ladies are going to do a great job helping me with the plans and I look forward to working with them over the next 14 months.

Monday, June 1, 2009

TAFRU Location Announcement

Based on the votes from those who participated in choosing a location, Oregon is the #1 requested location for our first ever Toukoul Adoptive Families Reunion.

Choosing a date was not so clear cut. There was a tie between the August 6th - 8th and August 13th - 15th dates. To select a specific date, I've set up a poll which is on the sidebar of the blog page. The poll will be open for 2 weeks, so please take a second to vote.

I'm also putting out a request for 3 or 4 volunteers to help with the remaining plans for TAFRU. I'll need at least one volunteer, preferably two from Oregon. If you are interested in helping out, please let me know.

I also realize that finding a location and date that would allow all families to attend was an impossible task. However, it was nice to see that some who chose Oregon, are not from Oregon but are interested in traveling to attend TAFRU. My hope that by having 14 months to plan, other families living outside the Oregon area will also be able to attend.

In the meantime, please continue to read the blog for updates as more specific details become available. I think we all want TAFRU to be a success so it can continue in the years to come at a location near you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I just realized that I left out a possible weekend, July 30th - August 1st. I know it's a little late, but I'm going to toss it into the mix so please let me know if this is a possibility for your family.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final Update on Location and Date

At this point we have 55 families who have expressed interest in a Toukoul Adoptive Families Reunion. 47 of those families are blog participants and 8 have not yet accepted their blog invitations.

I'm still searching for Toukoul families who may be interested in participating in TAFRU, so please continue to spread the word.

Oregon is still in the lead for location; Central U.S. in 2nd and the E Coast and Washington are now tied for 3rd.

June 25th - 27th, August 6th - 8th and August 13th - 15th are in a 3 way tie for date right now.

So far, I've only received comments and/or emails from 17 blog participants giving me their choices for location(s) and date(s). Since we have 47 participants right now (48 counting me), there are 31 of you who have not yet given me your input. The location and date of TAFRU is going to be decided based on what the majority of families want, so please take a minute to leave a comment or send me an email with your opinion. It's okay to have more than one choice of location and/or date. Also, if you are willing to travel anywhere for for the reunion, please let me know that as well.

Last of all, if you would like to have your blog added to the sidebar so your fellow TAFRU families can 'get to know you,' please let me know. I know I've enjoyed reading the blogs and feel like I'm getting to know everyone a little better.

I hope everyone has a safe and glorious Memorial Day weekend!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Keeping Up On the Updates

In an effort to do a better job of keeping everyone updated, here are the latest and greatest stats:

We now have 43 reunion blog participants and 10 people who have requested, but not yet accepted invites to the blog.

Oregon is still in the lead for location, however, the Central U.S. has now taken over the 2nd place position.

June 25-27, August 6-8 and August 13-15 are all tied for the reunion date.

Again, if you have not yet left a comment with your choice for location and/or date, please do so. This reunion is for all Toukoul families and I want everyone to have a voice in as much of the planning process as possible.


Friday, May 8, 2009


Currently, there are 42 blog participants and 6 who have asked to join the blog, but not yet accepted the invitation.

In the lead for location is Oregon with the East Coast and Central U.S. tied for 2nd.

August 6th-8th and 13th-15th are currently tied for the reunion date with June 25th-27th in 2nd.

Because I am still receiving requests from folks to join the blog, I want to continue taking requests until May 31st. If you have not yet left a comment with your choice for location or date, please do so. It's okay to choose more than one location and more than one date.

Date choices are . . . . .

June 25 - 27
July 9 - 11
July 16-18
July 23-25
Aug 6-8
Aug 13-15

These are all 2010 dates.

Unless there is a clear winner for location and date, I will set up a poll on June 1st and ask everyone to vote on their choice for location and date. My goal is to have the location and date pinned down by the middle of June so more definitive reunion plans can begin.

Thanks for participating!!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting To Know Each Other

Many of us have blogs to keep our friends and family up-to-date on our adoption journeys and life post-adoption. For me, blogging has also been a good way of making new friends. Some I've never met in person, while others I've had the opportunity to meet at adoption events over the last couple of years.

Because many of us will be meeting in person at TAFRU, I thought it would be nice to start getting to know each other via our blogs. So, if you have a blog and would like to have your family name and blog address added to the side bar, please let me know.

Still Gathering Info

So far, I've only received 11 suggestions on where we should have our reunion. If you haven't yet expressed your opinion on location or date, please do so. I've been tallying all the requests and on June 1st I will post the results so we can begin discussing more details.

Also, continue to spread the word to other Toukoul families that you know.

**For more detail, please see the April 14th post.**

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Contact With The Agencies?

I've been wondering if we should make contact with AAA, TOL and Dove about our plans? I think it would be a good way to get the word out to other families who might be interested.

What does everyone think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


What a response! I've gotten responses from 20 different families so far asking to be added to the blog list and several of you are passing the word onto other families. Please continue to pass the word to any Toukoul families you know.

Because we have several on the blog now and I'm sure more to come, I thought we should at least start making a couple important decisions. Date and location.

I think we will all agree that finding a date and location that is going to work for everyone is just not feasible. However, I know we can find a date and location that will be agreeable to the majority. My hope is that by having this reunion in the summer of 2010, it will allow those families that want to attend, but will have to travel to do so, the time to plan and save.

What I would like start with now is discussing dates and location. I'm going to give us a list of dates to choose from and would like everyone to let me know which dates work for you. These are all 2010 dates.

June 25 - 27
July 9 - 11
July 16-18
July 23-25
Aug 6-8
Aug 13-15

I'm avoiding 4th of July weekend due to travel costs typically being higher over holidays. I've also tried to select dates that won't conflict with kid's school schedules.

Next, I would like us to discuss location. Tell me where you would like to see the reunion held and why you think it would be a good location.

Thanks for your participation in helping make this reunion become a reality.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Welcome to the 'planning place' for the first annual Toukoul Adoptive Families Reunion (TAFRU).

The decision to plan TAFRU is very recent. I am a future Toukoul adoptive parent and I expressed my interest and desire in keeping my future child connected with not just other children from Ethiopia, but children who were also adopted from Toukoul. I discovered that other parents had been in discussion about this as well and the idea of TAFRU was born.

There are a lot of plans yet to be made, but as this event is put together, it will be posted here. At this point all that has been decided is that TAFRU will be held sometime in the summer of 2010. We would like to involve everyone in deciding the date and location, so watch for polls to be posted in the near future.

I look forward to getting to know many of you via this blog and hopefully meeting many of you in the future. In the meantime, please pass the word to all current and future Toukoul adoptive families that you know.