Tomorrow morning, my daughter Aselefech, granddaughter Zariyah, and I will leave for Ethiopia. We will spend time with Aselefech’s family, with whom she reunited in 2008 (having been adopted in 1994), and with whom she and I last visited in 2011. It will be my granddaughter’s first trip to Ethiopia, where she will meet her extended Ethiopian family–grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins. Zariyah will see where her mother was born and spent the first five years of her life, and where Aselefech would have grown up, if she hadn’t been adopted.
I know there have been many reunions and ongoing connections between Ethiopian adoptees and their original families. I wonder, though, how many children of adoptees have been able to meet their Ethiopian relatives.
It’s all about family, and how we define it.
Our time with Aselefech’s family is certainly a huge highlight for all of us. Another exciting part of our time there will be Aselefech’s Ethiotrail half marathon via Run In Africa, a business co-founded by renowned Ethiopian long distance runner Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who among other accomplishments won the New York City marathon in 2010.
Aselefech is running the half marathon to raise funds for Bring Love In, a nonprofit in Ethiopia dedicated to family preservation, by creating new families from widows and children and by keeping children out of orphanages and with their families. She set a goal of US$5000, and has exceeded that goal; all the money (except for a small percentage to CrowdRise) goes directly to Bring Love In. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported her and contributed to her campaign. More information is available here.
We will also be spending time in the capital city of Addis Ababa, visiting with friends and family, and doing some sightseeing of beautiful Ethiopia.
I also hope to begin work on my First Mothers project, to preserve and share the stories of Ethiopian original mothers, those who have placed their children for international adoption.
I’ll be posting occasionally during the trip, and no doubt quite a lot when we return.
Many thanks to everyone who has been with us on this journey, offering words of support and encouragement, sharing ideas and possibilities, and being vital, vibrant resources. Thank you (in Amharic): Amaseganallo.