Happy Birthday, Lemn Sissay! And Thank You.

All of us in the Lions Roaring anthology community want to wish Lemn Sissay OBE a very Happy Birthday today! When he graciously wrote this about “Lions Roaring,” we were almost speechless, absolutely thrilled, and utterly grateful.

“Many thanks for ‘Lions Roaring Far From Home.’ I receive many manuscripts and proof copies.

Ethiopia is over half a day’s travel from Washington DC. It is seven hours from London. The internet means an adopted child can connect with Ethiopians around the world. This book is all about connection, connections to story, connection to homes, to the many homes that one person can have, and connection between writers: Bravo for getting this book together and for getting these authors together. It’s important testimony. Enjoy.”

Lemn is a prize-winning, world-renowned author, poet, broadcaster, and playwright; a PEN Pinter Prize winner; a BAFTA nominee; a former chancellor of the University of Manchester; the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics; and more. He is also an Ethiopian, born in England, raised in abusive foster homes, and a resilient survivor who works steadfastly for children and teens now in England’s foster care system.

Happiest of Birthdays to you! May there be many, many more.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” can be ordered from most countries through Amazon here. Thank you very much! if you have trouble ordering it, use the Contact page here or email us at lionsroaringfarfromhome@gmail.com. If you are an adoptee and the cost is a barrier for you, please let us know and we will get a copy to you. Thank You!

Ethiopian Adoptees in Addis Gather to Discuss “Lions Roaring Far From Home”

There is a remarkable community of international Ethiopian adoptees who have returned to Ethiopia. Some have married and are raising children there. Some have set up businesses. Some are living with or near their original Ethiopian family. They were raised the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere. Many adoptees visit, and that is important. These folks, though, have returned to their homeland and immersed themselves in Ethiopia.

Recently, a group of adoptees gathered in Addis to talk about “Lions Roaring Far from Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees.” One of the writers, Heran Tadesse (who is also a poet, a yoga teacher, a forestry expert, and more), brought the group together at an organic juice and grocery cafe, Abeesinia Herbal, run by Ermias, a French adoptee.

All the photos and captions here are courtesy of Heran. Thank you.

At the gathering, the conversation was around “Lions Roaring,” as well as about each adoptee’s individual stories: how they grew up, where they lived, why they returned to Ethiopia.

One American adoptee, Mike Davis, was adopted at 8 years old by a U.S. Army officer. He grew up with his dad on American Army bases, ran several small businesses, and has a wife, children, and grandchildren in the US. Because of a shameful US immigration policy that deports adoptees who are unable to prove citizenship, Mike was deported to Ethiopia in 2005. He is now 60 years old, and hopes to return to his family in the United States. Mike is one of our writers in “Lions Roaring.” We are grateful to the Ethiopian adoptee community in Addis that has supported him, giving him respect and companionship, and we are working on ways to bring him back to the US.

We also love the fact he is wearing his “Lions Roaring” tee shirt, along with holding the book. That Ethiopian coffee cup is also beautiful.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home” includes essays and poems by adoptees raised in six countries (the US, Canada, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia), and ranging in age from 8 years old to over 50. They also have a range of perspectives on adoption. The writers and the co-editors have been working to promote the book, and especially to get it in the hands of Ethiopian adoptees. If you are an adoptee who cannot order the book from Amazon where you live, or if the cost is prohibitive for you, please email us at lionsroaringfarfromhome@gmail.com, and we will find a way to get the book to you. We invite everyone to follow us on our Facebook page and on the Lions Roaring website.

Thank you to Heran, Mike, and all the adoptees who took the time to talk about our book and to share their stories. Amaseganello.

An Adoptive Parents’ Guide to “Lions Roaring Far From Home”

We have been thrilled and honored by the response to our new book, “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees.” It has been selling well, and is at the top of Amazon Hot New Releases in Adoption.

Our hope is that the primary readers will be Ethiopian and other adoptees, especially international and transracial adoptees. From the book’s Introduction: “We want to draw attention to the particularities of being a Black adoptee from Africa, placed with white families.”

We also are hopeful that adoptive parents will read the book, especially parents of Ethiopian adoptees, and also of other international, transracial adoptees.

Front cover of the book: Painting by Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie of an Ethiopian woman standing proudly next to a roaring lion.
Image description: The front cover of “Lions Roaring” book, a painting of an Ethiopian woman next to a roaring lion.

Of course, we are hopeful that the Ethiopian community, including the diaspora, will read the book, as well as family members of adoptees, along with therapists, adoption agency staff, adoption-related organizations, social workers, undergrad and graduate students, book clubs, anyone interested in reading a great collection of powerful essays. If you know Oprah, Angelina, or Marcus, feel free to share the book with them, and please connect the editors with them also. You can reach the editors and writers at the book’s website: lionsroaringbook.com.

Here are a few questions that adoptive parents have asked me about the book.

Is it a positive or negative view of adoption?

It is a “real” view of adoption. Each of the 33 writers has a different perspective as they speak their truths. The book shows the range of attitudes and experiences. It also shows a range of views based on ages, since the writers are 8 to over 50 years old. Some essays note the adoptees’ Christian faith, and call adoption a blessing. There is discussion in the book of suicide and abuse. Some essays recall experiences in Ethiopia prior to being adopted. Some writers talk about painful childhood events in Ethiopia and in their adoptive country. Some talk about ways they are giving back to Ethiopia. There is mention of optimism, love of family, and resilience. Some essays are matter of fact; some are deeply emotional.

I urge adoptive parents of children of all ages to read the book. You can then talk with your children about it, in an age-appropriate way, whether they are 6 or 38 years old. It could open up a lot of new conversations.

Is the book child-friendly?

It is not meant for young children. The book reflects a wide range of lived experiences: good, bad, sad, encouraging, hopeful, angry, grief-filled, all of it. Whatever your child’s age, they might have had or will have some of the feelings in the book.

Are there essays by adoptees adopted as infants, or who have very little information about their families of origin?

Yes. The writers were adopted at a variety of ages, some with and some without their siblings. One co-editor was adopted as an infant to Canada, and the other was adopted at 6 years old with her twin sister to the US. A Swedish adoptee, adopted at one year old and now in his 50’s, wrote an essay about his DNA search and some unexpected connections. Most of the writers have little information about their Ethiopian families regardless of age at adoption; some have strong memories. Some have searched, some have reunited. Many have not done either, for a variety of reasons.

Here are some questions I haven’t been asked by adoptive parents.

Will I be uncomfortable or unsettled if I read this book?

At times, probably. If you are not an adopted person, you may well be startled or saddened by some of the insights that the writers offer. Some of the essays may affirm your views on adoption. Some may rattle them. That’s a good thing.

Can I just give the book to my teenage or adult son/daughter/child, without actually reading it myself?

Yes. And don’t do that. We adoptive parents must keep doing our work to understand what our kids are going through, to do so with open hearts and open eyes, and to learn how ideas and attitudes can change over time.

Can I give this book to friends, my non-adopted children, other adoptive parents, my Ethiopian friends, my adoption agency, my therapist, my children’s therapist, my parents, my siblings? What about folks with no close connection to adoption?

Yes! Please share the book and information about it with those who are tightly connected to adoption, those who have the rainbows-and-unicorns view, those who might be able to bring about changes in adoption policy: everyone. Thank you for doing this.

And again, thank you to every one of our writers, and to all those who have supported the book.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” Now Available on Amazon!

I could not be more thrilled to announce that “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” has been published. You can purchase it (Kindle or paperback) on Amazon.

It is the first ever anthology by Ethiopian adoptees. The 33 writers hail from six countries, and they range in age from 8 to over 50. The essays and poems present a range of views on adoption, and each one is insightful.

Book cover with painting of Ethiopian woman standing proudly next to a roaring lion
Cover art Copyright Nahosenay Negussie

All of the writers are Ethiopian adoptees. They were raised in the U.S., Canada, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia. Two currently live in Ethiopia.

The co-editors are Aselefech Evans, an American Ethiopian adoptee, Kassaye Berhanu-MacDonald, a Canadian Ethiopian adoptee; I am also a co-editor, and am the adoptive mother of Ethiopian twin daughters as well as two sons born in the U.S.

Deep gratitude to each of the amazing writers for this groundbreaking book.

Update on “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees”

We are getting closer to announcing pre-order and publication dates of our book Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees.

Today I did a big final editing run-through with our formatter, checking our commas, and em dashes, and ellipses, and more.

Here’s pic from the first page of the Table of Contents:

The book is in rough chronological order by author age, so these selections are from our younger writers (or were written when the author was a child).

Here’s the last page in the Table of Contents:

These essays and poems listed on the last Table of Contents page are from our “older” writers, those in their 30’s through 50’s. One of the best parts of the anthology is how the writers’ own voices and lived experiences reveal the range of insights from childhood through adulthood.

I am in awe of every single writer, for their willingness to share their stories. Each one is an amazing person. Deep gratitude to you.

More details coming soon!

Please visit and “like” our Facebook page, Lions Roaring Far from Home Anthology. Thanks!

Facebook Page of Our “Lions Roaring” Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees

I am happy to invite you to “Like” and follow the new Facebook page for our soon-to-be published anthology, “Lions Roaring Far From Home.” The link is here. Thank you!

The anthology, the first of its kind, has essays and poems from 32 Ethiopian adoptees who are of different ages and who were raised in different countries. The cover art (shared below; reveal here) is by Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie.

On the Facebook page, we will provide info about pre-order and publication as soon as it is available. We will also be posting excerpts from the book, pre-publication reviews by some amazing folks, and info about upcoming “Meet the Writers” Zooms and other events.

Thanks so much for visiting and Liking the Facebook page! Please share with others. We really appreciate the support.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home” Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees: Cover Reveal

We are delighted to share the cover of our upcoming anthology, “Lions Roaring Far From Home.” The artist is Nahosenay Negussie.

© Lions Roaring Artwork by Nahosenay Negussie

Nahosenay Negussie is an astonishingly talented artist based in Addis Ababa. Nahosenay has had many well-received international shows, and his work has been commissioned globally. His paintings are full of rich colors and textual details; the style has been compared to Gustav Klimt in its energy.

I met Nahosenay in 2016 when a group of artists and writers traveled together with authors Jane Kurtz and Caroline Kurtz, American sisters who grew up in Maji, Ethiopia. Jane has written several books with Ethiopia themes, and she developed the Ready Set Go books for Ethiopian children via Ethiopia Reads and Open Hearts Big Dreams. During that 2016 trip, Nahosenay was a stellar role model for children, teaching them art and encouraging their skills. One example is the illustrations for Talk Talk Turtle, the first Ready Set Go book, which has been published in English as well as Afaan Oromo, Tigrinya, and Amharic.

We feel incredibly honored to have Nahosenay’s talent and incredible imagery on the cover of our book.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home” is not yet available, and we will soon be announcing the publication date. It is a collection of essays and poems by 33 Ethiopian adoptees who live in seven countries: the US, Canada, Belgium, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Australia. The writers range in age from 8 years old to over 50. Each one shared their truth with insight and candor. They bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to their writing. There are themes of identity, grief, loss, joy, faith, and resilience; there are also themes of racism, suicide, anger, and hope.

We hope you enjoy this beautiful cover. Thank you, Nahosenay!

Stay tuned for more book details soon. Thank you to my wonderful co-editors, Aselefech Evans and Kassaye Berhanu-MacDonald, who also contributed powerful essays. I am so grateful to each of the writers in the anthology. Your voices—the voices of adoptees—are valuable and deeply appreciated.

Lions Roaring, Far From Home: An Anthology By Ethiopian Adoptees

It has been a labor of love, and it has taken far longer than anyone would have liked. Nonetheless, “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology By Ethiopian Adoptees,” is finally nearing publication.

We have 15 writers from the U.S., 5 from France, 4 from Sweden, 2 from Australia, and one each from adoptees living in Canada,The Netherlands, and Ethiopia.

Most of our writers are women/girls; there are 5 men/boys. The age range is from 8 years old to over 50 years old.

The essays and poems range in length from 85 words to almost 2400 words. The book will be available in electronic and hard copy versions. The cover art is by the extraordinarily talented Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie. Here’s a sneak peek of a portion of the art:

A few of the essays are about a writer’s memories in Ethiopia before being placed in an orphanage. Some are about the time spent in an orphanage, some are about dealing with racism, some are reflections on adoption itself. Some are upbeat; some are introspective and mournful. Some are about giving back to Ethiopia. Some are matter-of-fact; some are deeply emotional. 

They have a powerful range in terms of their subject matter, Each one reflects the writer’s truth. They show the spectrum of Ethiopian adoptees’ experiences, through the adoptees’ voices.

We are dedicating the book to the memory of Ethiopian adoptees who have died by suicide, or have died at the hands of their adoptive parents.

Profits from the book are going to the creation of an Ethiopian adoptee guest house in Addis. We may do a fundraiser at some point to get the book translated into Amharic, and perhaps into other languages. Translations are expensive, and we would love to get the book into as many readers’ hands as possible.

We are in the process of contacting folks to be advance readers of the anthology, reaching out to Ethiopians and to transracial international adoptees. Our Facebook page and other social media will soon go live.

The journey to publication has been complicated. I am deeply honored by the trust and courage of each one of the writers to write these essays and poems. We can’t wait to share their stories with the world.

“Lions Roaring” Anthology

After much too long a time, the anthology “Lions Roaring, Far From Home” is edging toward publication. 

It will contain about 30 essays by Ethiopian adoptees, ages 9 to late 50’s, who were raised in the US, Canada, Sweden, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Australia. 

Funds from sales will go toward a guest house in Addis for returning adoptees. The book will be dedicated to Ethiopian adoptees who have died by suicide and other means.

Front and back cover art is by Art of Nahosenay Negusssie and by Ethiopian adoptee Adanech Evans. 

More details coming soon!

Original Art © Adanech Evans.

List of Contributors to Ethiopian Adoptee Anthology: “Lions Roaring, Far From Home”

We are thrilled to announce our list of international contributors to “Lions Roaring, Far From Home,” the first of its kind anthology by Ethiopian adoptees.

Australia

Tamieka Small

 

Canada

Hana

Kassaye MacDonald

 

Ethiopia

Heran Tadesse

 

France

Mekdes

Mumasiquery

Vincent Proffit

Rasselas

Damien Vanier

 

The Netherlands

Abenet Bakker

 

Spain

Eleni Merelo de las Peñas

Kasech Navarro Wauters

 

Sweden

Genet

Sara Grönroos

Daniel Rosenlind

Hanna Wallensteen

 

United States

Edelawit A.

Zufan Bazzano

Bektu

Aselefech Evans

Harmony Fisher

Kiya Herron

Helen Samuel

Sarah Solomon

Hirut Tilleskjor

Tizita

IMG_7920

Original artwork by Adanech Evans, 2007.

The writers are listed by the countries in which they currently live. Some chose to use only first names or pseudonyms, for a variety of reasons. We respect the sacredness of each of their stories, which include reflections on being dropped off at an orphanage in the middle of the night, on the impact of racism, on the love for adoptive family and the need to know one’s origins, and on the hopes and dreams a father has for his child. Some have wonderful adoptive families; some had horrible ones. Some have chosen to search for their Ethiopian family; some have been successful and some have not. The writers range from young children to adults in their 40’s. They are amazing people.

And they are patient people. For a variety of reasons, the publication has taken longer than we hoped, and that is life. We plan to announce the publication date soon. The book will feature stunning cover art by the Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie. On behalf of my co-editors, Aselefech Evans and Kassaye MacDonald, we appreciate all the energy and power that has gone into the essays. Amaseganllo.