Yesterday was Adoptee Remembrance Day, and tomorrow is the start of National Adoption Awareness Month in the US. It is a fitting time to learn more about adoption, or better understand the experience of being adopted, or hear a variety of perspectives on what “being adopted” means.
The book includes essays and poems by 32 writers, ranging in age from 8 to over 50, and raised in six different countries (Canada, France, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S.). The perspectives on adoption vary, and that is one of the strengths of the book.
It is the first (and currently only) anthology by Ethiopian adoptees.
It received advance praise from Lemn Sissay, Nicole Chung, and Shannon Gibney, all acclaimed writers who are also adoptees.
The stunning cover art is by the incredibly talented Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie.
We are grateful to the folks who have read the book, and those who have shared a review and stars on the Amazon site.
We hope more folks will read it, talk about it, and share it with others.
It is a groundbreaking book, reflecting the hearts of our writers and the realities of adoption.
Please help us get the book into the hands of Ethiopian adoptees, other adoptees, Ethiopians, adoptive parents, adoption agencies, adoption therapists, and others.
Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees is dedicated to Ethiopian adoptees like Hanna Williams who died at the hands of their adoptive parents, as well as to Ethiopian adoptees who died by suicide: they include Amanuel Kildea, Ashkenafi Jitka Lom, Fisseha Samuel, Gabe Proctor, Kaleab Schmidt, Tadesse Söhl, Mekbul Timmer, Seid Visin, and all those who have left us too soon. The book also has an essay by Mike Davis, a deported Ethiopian adoptee,
May they rest in power and in peace. May their memories be eternal; may their memories be a blessing. May their friends and families find peace and healing as well.
Frew Tibebu, who arrived in the US from Ethiopia as a refugee from the Derg via Djibouti in 1980, is now a successful realtor and social entrepreneur in California. Here’s what Frew had to say about our book:
“As someone who was a frequent attendee of Ethiopian Adoption Camp at Scotts Valley. California, in the mid 2000’s, I thought I knew enough about Ethiopian adoptive families and Ethiopian adoptees.
After reading Lions Roaring Far From Home, I realized how little I knew about the diverse experiences of the Ethiopian adoptees.
I consider this anthology by Ethiopian adoptees to be an enlightening, ambitious undertaking, a missing voice to the Ethiopian transnational adoption and to the Ethiopian diaspora experience in general.”
In addition to getting the book to Ethiopian adoptees and the greater Ethiopian community, we also want to get Lions Roaring to other adoptees. Our writers were raised in six different countries: Ethiopian adoption is global. There are some unique differences for Ethiopian adoptees, and some overlap with the experiences of other adopted people.
We also want adoptive parents to read the book. For those folks who live in isolation from Ethiopian adoptees, the book is an opportunity to hear from 32 Ethiopian adoptee writers, with a variety of perspectives.
We have heard about adoptive parents reading the essays along with their children, then talking about them together. There are some great conversation-starters in the book.
We love to see the book being read by folks with no connection to Ethiopia or adoption: everyone can learn a lot from the amazing writers, who range in age from young children to adults in their 50’s and older.
In less than two weeks, we will be presenting at two Ethiopian heritage camps, one in Oregon and one in the Washington, DC, area. We are working on additional outreach in a variety of places and groups. Thank you for purchasing and reading the book, and for sharing info about the book.
Equally important are the reactions and reviews of the writers themselves as they have read the whole book. We recently heard from Kiya Herron-Sabi Goura; she is Kiya Herron in the book.
It’s comforting to know that there are others out there who understand what it’s like to be adopted and the unique challenges that come with it. Reading these stories has helped me feel less alone and more connected to a community of people who share similar experiences. I appreciate the honesty and vulnerability of the writers and the effort put into creating this book. It’s an important contribution to the adoption conversation and I hope it reaches many others who can benefit from it. Thank you again for giving adoptees a platform to share their stories and be heard.
That is an absolutely beautiful comment, Kiya—thank you so much.
We also want to note that Kiya has started a business: Gelane Hair Oil, specializing in Ethiopian hair oil and butter. You can learn more about it on Etsy, and also on Facebook. We love the fact that Kiya is an entrepreneur, and that she is connecting with the beauty of Ethiopian culture.
We are, of course, proud of all our writers, and there is a special joy in sharing their accomplishments outside of our book.
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 email@example.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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.