Ethiopean adoption right for Helena family

Published 4:10 pm Monday, August 8, 2011

This photo of Stevie (left) and Silas Rosser was taken at Silas’s first outing in Helena after arriving home from his adoption in Ethiopia. Silas will turn 3 in September, just six weeks after Stevie’s third birthday in August. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Gabe and Sara Rosser discussed adopting their family even before they were married. As Gabe has an adopted brother, it was already on his mind and his heart.

Their daughter, Stevie, born in 2008, was misdiagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which means that though she doesn’t have the disease, she and one or the other parent is a carrier.

“We felt that was a confirmation that adoption was indeed our path.” Sara said.

At 23 and 24, the Rossers were considered young as adoptive parents so they had to choose adoption in a country where they met the age requirements such as Ethiopia, which has the highest concentration of orphans, some 5 million or 11 percent of the country’s children with the majority males.

“We prayed about it and that’s when we chose to begin adoption proceedings for an older sibling for Stevie,” Sara said.

In February, the Rossers spent a week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with Silas, going to court to begin the legal process and applying for his visa.

They received word on July 6 that all had cleared and just returned July 20 with Silas.

“When we arrived back, we just stayed home the first week,” Rosser said. “We kept it low key, watched very little TV and made sure to not over stimulate Silas.”

Silas has learned a handful of English words, and the family uses some Amharic words to smooth the communication. He also had to get used to their dog, Sasha, as Ethiopians have no domestic pets.

Meeting Sasha, Silas scaled quickly up to his dad’s shoulders saying “Whoosha, Whoosha” — “daddy” in Amharic — but he soon learned a dog is a great thing to cuddle with.

Grandmother Wanda Anderson claims her two grandchildren even look alike to her — sharing the same features in different skin tones.

As to his transition to American food, Silas loves tomatoes and the vegetable soups his “Nana” prepares. Popcorn is a favorite snack.

“It is so interesting to see our world through Silas’ eyes,” Gabe and Sara Rosser agreed.

Roots, the Rossers’ salon, opened in June at 4075 Helena Road in the building formerly occupied by The Monkey Basket. The shabby chic, casual cream and white décor of the space works well for Sara’s clients, many of whom followed her from the now closed NVogue salon in Vestavia Hills, where she previously worked. After the last 18 months spent as manager there, Sara said she is delighted to be back doing hair.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at