by Matt Jepsen
My wife, Erin, has a visual impairment that prevents her from driving or easily reading print and has been an enthusiast for blind mobility skills since she was young. She is also a certified braille transcriber. Because of this background and knowledge, we decided we would really like to adopt a blind child. After slogging through mountains of paperwork and walking over the emotional mountains and trenches that accompany international adoption, in 2011 we traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to appear in court and meet our new daughter Elizabeth. That was five years ago and our daughter is eight years old now. In the meantime, my wife has taught her to read (she just finished the entire Little House on the Prairie series) and taught her to get around town independently with a white cane (age appropriately, of course!). Because we learned to love her country and culture as we tried to preserve some of it in her life, I read many books about Ethiopian culture and history and we both used books and homemade flashcards to learn as much of the local language (Amharic) as we could.