First Families Project

Wow. Since I published it Wednesday (Dec. 11), my post about The Stories of Ethiopian First Mothers, and of Their Children touched a lot of hearts, and perhaps a few nerves. The response was incredible: close to 600 shares on Facebook, as of today (Dec. 16). More than 3000 views.

Many thanks to those of you who posted a link to my blog, and to those of you who commented and emailed me. I heard from many adoptive parents, some adult adoptees, and a few adoption agency workers. Several people have offered to help, in both big and small ways, and I am very grateful for those offers.

Please feel free to comment and/or send an email: Maureen AT

Over the next few weeks, I will be connecting with several folks who have varied and helpful perspectives on the possibilities of this project. I have no intention to reinvent wheels that already exist and spin well. I believe in partnerships that can move projects ahead in a respectful, transparent way.

One clarification about adding fathers/grandparents/siblings in the project: In proposals I have been writing, I acknowledge first families, not only first mothers. I have no interest in being exclusionary. I do want to be realistic and well-focused. The needs are huge, and there must be parameters in order to achieve success.  I have enough experience with nonprofits to be very aware of the dangers of over-extending resources, especially in the early stages of projects. Small steps can be vital to long-term success.

A recap of the two goals:

(1) To create an infrastructure to deliver information from adoptive families to Ethiopian first families. This one is very complicated and potentially fraught with all sorts of problems, involving laws, money, emotions, unintended consequences, and more. Lots of gray areas. I’m looking forward to seeing what the possibilities are, and then bringing about positive changes.

(2) To record, honor, and preserve the stories of Ethiopian first mothers. This one has its own complexities, and will be easier to implement.

Many thanks to all those who are joining me on this journey.

Watercolor by Katie Griffing Bradley

Watercolor by Katie Griffing Bradley

I love this beautiful painting of an Ethiopian woman smiling as she serves coffee, an essential and intrinsic part of Ethiopian culture. More information on the artist, Katie Griffing Bradley, is available here.

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