Earlier this week I had the great fortune of “meeting” (virtually) a new friend and having a powerful conversation about trans racial adoption, and search and reunion. She is a beautiful, intelligent and thoughtful Ethiopian adoptee who is helping to give adoptees a voice, by sharing her experiences with all of us.
This is her voice:
Far Away, Always in My Heart
I assumed that once I (re)met my biological family in 2011, I would feel more complete and sure of whom I was becoming. Some hard questions were answered. And a lot of new ones are on my mind now.
I was 6 years old in 1994 when my twin sister and I arrived in the US from Ethiopia. We had memories, and family, parents, siblings, cousins. For years, I had this soft image of my mother, a kind, loving and giving individual who would just about give up anything in the world for her children to be happy and safe. That was the love that kept me strong. That was the love that allowed me to embrace my (first) (Ethiopian) family when I returned in 2011.
See, the thing was that distance never changed how much I love her. Although her face slowly started to disappear as I lost my native language, that tender feeling in my heart for her was always alive and burning. No one could ever tell me that I was not loved nor well taken care of before I came to the US. Because you see, my past says otherwise. I came from a poor family, but we all were rich in the sense of culture, unity, and love.
Embracing my mother upon arrival in Ethiopia, and looking into her tired eyes, I saw years of pain, emptiness, regret, and much heart ache. Although in that moment she was happy to see me, the sadness really never left her eyes. In front of me I saw a strong and resilient woman, one who had grown very weary of her circumstances but yet was still hopeful. It’s quite profound that hope and faith during times of destitution and despair are what give certain people purpose and meaning.
So where do we go from here? I really don’t know. We can’t change the past. I’m trying to figure out the future, without a common language but with lots of love.
Thank you for your vulnerability, Aselefech. We are kindred spirits – you are admired.
- America World’s Work In Ethiopia (adoptedbydesign.typepad.com)
- Ten Things Adoptive Parents Shouldn’t Say: How to Keep It All in the Family | Babble (babble.com)
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As adoptive parents, we have much to learn from adoptees AND birth families.