Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 15, 2013

All for love: Two families adopt siblings from Ethiopia



The Mounsithiraj family

Newest Mounsithiraj siblings learn more about American life each day

The solemn looking 2-year-old Luke’s first picture with his adopted family showed exactly what he was feeling.

“The first time we met he was so shy and cautious,” said his mom Jean Mounsithiraj. “But during the last hours there in Ethiopia, he put a toy on his head, looked up at me and giggled. He really opened up.”

For his 7-year-old brother Kaleb, the transition was a bit easier — at first.

“They come from a very affectionate culture,” Jean said. “I think he was used to being the caregiver for his younger brothers and sister. He’s the devoted one. He shares all that he has and makes sure everyone has what they need.”

And now Kaleb is learning how to be a kid again.

“It’s eye-opening to see our world through new eyes. They are fascinated with everything,” Jean said. “I remember the water fountain in the airport. They could have spent hours playing with that!”

Moving from a lifestyle where food was not plentiful and surroundings were unsanitary to a home where every need is met was a welcome adjustment for the brothers. The Mounsithirajes have four biological children: Tyler, 16; Annie, 13; Katie, 11 and Molly, 8.

“Well there’s a lot more noise and activity,” said Jean, who home schools all the children. “The older kids have been very welcoming. They just put down whatever they are doing to help out. And they’ve had to give up some privacy — but they are acting like genuine big brothers and sisters.”

The language barrier was the biggest obstacle in the early months.

“Kaleb knew no English that first week. By the third week he knew a handful of words,” Jean said. “By the third month, he was very understandable. Now he is always asking what phrases mean. Some things are just so hard to explain.”

One day he found an ankle bracelet that belonged to one of the girls and wanted to keep it for himself.

“I said, ‘I think that actually belongs to Molly,’” Jean told him. “He wanted to know what ‘actually’ meant. How do you define that to someone with a vocabulary of about 10 words? For awhile he wore it and called it ‘actually.’”

And while Luke is still learning to talk, Jean and Thavisith say he understands everything.

“Now we hear the laughter and see the smiles where he used to walk around in a daze,” Thavisith said. “Even an occasional disagreement was welcoming! He comes alive watching Kaleb discover things.”

Learning that food would always be available when they were hungry was also an adjustment.

“At first they would stuff themselves and eat as quickly as they could,” Jean said. “It’s so much better now. Kaleb loves spicy food. He even put hot sauce on his oatmeal one morning.”

Both the boys love the snow and Kaleb wants to be outside all the time. One afternoon, after several hours, he taught himself how to ride a bike. And once inside, he often fills the room with his singing and dancing.

Each evening they gather and tell stories about their day. Thavisith is amazed at all the boys have been through.

“These are strong and brave kids,” he said. “They are still trying to wrap their brains around everything that is going on. Kaleb still has a strong connection to his past and his family.”

From the time they decided to adopt until the brothers were in their new home in Goshen, Thavisith feels has been an amazing experience.

“They came from half way around the world — and here they are in this small community,” Thavisith said. “At times we didn’t know how it would happen. It feels like a miracle — like a good pain in my heart.”

After saying a prayer each night, Thavisith will often hold one of the boys.

“I just can’t imagine that a child who is so different from you, can create so much love in your heart that they feel like your own kids,” Thavisith said. “Even on the hardest day, I can’t imagine not being with them. They are a perfect fit with our family.”

The four siblings see each other on Sundays at church and both families have made time to get together to keep the family bond strong.

Text Only
Local News
  • Mary Alice Miller SILVERTON, Ore. — Mary Alice Miller, born Aug. 9, 1950, near Topeka, LaGrange County, Ind., departed this life following a short illness Tuesday at her home near Silverton. Mary was baptized in her youth upon confession of her faith in Jesus Christ a

    July 31, 2014

  • Gene R. Lowther ELKHART — Gene R. Lowther, 75, died Tuesday at Golden Living Center. He married Mary M. Flynn March 27, 1970, in Elkhart. She survives with two sons, Michael (Pam) Estes and James Estes, both of Elkhart; and two daughters, Donna Estes of Elkhart and

    July 31, 2014

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

  • Rerouting for U.S. 33 lags behind GOSHEN — It looks like the city could start seeing some movement on the planned U.S. 33 rerouting project by as early as next month.That’s the word from Goshen Civil City Engineer Mary Cripe, who spoke on the subject during the annual Goshen City Cou

    July 31, 2014

  • School board OKs contract GOSHEN — The Board of Directors of the Goshen Community School Corp. approved the design-build contract with Ancon Construction of Goshen Wednesday.They approved $12.260 million for the Goshen Middle School piece of construction, said GCS Superintend

    July 31, 2014


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN