Canadian, American, Ethiopian, Adopted: A Conversation

I’m happy to announce I’ll be hosting a conversation (which will be available on YouTube) among 2 Canadians and 2 Americans, Ethiopian adoptees and white adoptive parents. In some ways, the US and Canada are similar, but there are significant political, cultural, and historical differences. Is there common ground between Ethiopian adoptees raised in different countries? What does it feel like to be an Ethiopian raised in a French-speaking part of Canada? Does growing up in a majority-black US county help form racial identity? Where and how do Ethiopian adoptees “fit in” with immigrants, Africans, and their adoptive families? Let’s start the conversation.

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One conversationalist will be Annette Kassaye MacDonald, a 28-year-old Ethiopian adoptee born outside of Gondar, adopted at one year old, raised by white parents in the Eastern Townships, Quebec, and now living in Montreal. She has 4 older siblings born to her adoptive parents and one younger adopted sibling. Annette graduated from Concordia University (Montreal) in 2013 with a B.A. in political science and human rights studies. She speaks English, French, and Spanish.

Annette Kassaye MacDonald

Annette Kassaye MacDonald

Annette will be joined by Aselefech Evans,  a 25-year-old Ethiopian adoptee born in Shashemene, adopted at 6 years old with her twin sister, raised by white parents just outside Washington, DC, and now living in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is finishing up her degree in sociology from Bowie State University, and plans to go on for her MSW. Aselefech is a columnist for the online adoptee-centric magazine Gazillion Voices, and also is a contributing writer on family preservation issues for Lost Daughters, an independent collaborative writing project edited and authored by adult women who were adopted as children.

Aselefech Evans

Aselefech Evans

Hosting the conversation with me will be Chris Ardern, a Canadian adoptive mom of two young Ethiopian children, now living in Toronto, Ontario. Chris’s son is 3 years old, and her daughter is 6. Chris, her husband, and their children travel to Ethiopia annually to visit with friends and family. She and her family are very involved with the Ethiopian community in Toronto, from playgroups to Amharic classes.

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I’m the writer of this blog, an American adoptive mom of four now-young adults (including Aselefech), and the grandmother of a wonderful 7-year-old. I’m looking forward to my third trip to Ethiopia this July. I live in Seattle, where I am a freelance writer and artist.

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Our topics:

  • Race (What does it mean to be black in America? In Canada? In Quebec? In Washington, DC? What do the terms Ethiopian-American or Canadian-Ethiopian mean?)
  • Openness in adoption (Connections with birth families and Ethiopians: what’s possible, and what is useful?),

and, if we have time,

  • The impact of the Internet (sharing adopted children’s information and stories, accessing birth families, and more).

Please feel free to leave a message below with any questions you’d like to suggest. You can also email me at Maureen (at) Lightofdaystories.com.

We will be taping the conversation Sunday, February 23, and I will post a link to it as soon as possible. My thanks to Chris, Annette, and Aselefech.

And please stay tuned for more upcoming conversations!

One thought on “Canadian, American, Ethiopian, Adopted: A Conversation

  1. Really looking forward to this. Given the all-women panel, I would be interested to know if any of them (you) perceive gender differences in grappling with racial identity questions for Ethiopian adoptees.

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