Thursday, February 25, 2010

3 Memoirs

While we wait (and wait and wait) I have been occupying myself by reading all that I can get my hands on about Ethiopia and adoption. Recently I have read three different memoirs that all come from very different perspectives, all involve Ethiopia (or Eritrea), and all had something valuable to teach me.

The first, and my favorite, is called My Father's Daugher: A Story of Family and Belonging by Hannah Pool. Hannah was adopted by a British family after her mother died at birth. Her biological father had several other children to care for and chose to leave her at an orphanage when she was an infant. When she was in her late twenties, she decided to seek out her birth family and made her first return trip to her native country of Eritrea.

Hannah describes well the difficult emotions that she experienced when seeking out her biological family - fear of rejection, fear of hurting her adoptive family, fear of not liking what she learns as a result of her search. Her writing helped me to understand the feelings that an adopted child often experiences at different stages of development. I highly recommend this book to adoptive families.

The second memoir, called Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia by Rebecca Haile, is written from a very different perspective. Rebecca's family fled Ethiopia during the political upheaval in the 70's when Rebecca was a preteen. They moved to the United States and settled in the Midwest. As an adult Rebecca returns to Ethiopia for the first time, bringing her husband for his first meeting of her extended family. They travel throughout the country and experience aspects of the culture and geography that she knew nothing about as a child. She learns about Ethiopia from the perspective of both an outsider and an insider. I learned a great deal about Ethiopia's history and rich culture from this book.

The third is called Chameleon Days: An American Boyhood in Ethiopa by Tim Bascom. Tim's parents were American missionaries and moved his family to Ethiopia when he was only three-years-old. Tim's observations about the Ethiopian culture and people from a child's perspective are interesting. Perhaps most interesting, though, is Tim's struggle when he was ripped from one culture and thrown into another very different one at a tender age. There are definitely valuable lessons for an adoptive family to learn from this book as well.

I'd love to know about any books that you have read and recommend about Ethiopia or adoption.

P.S. Please pray for our family over the weekend. Court Date #2 will happen Sunday during the night. Hopefully we will hear something on Monday 3/1.


3 Blessings said...

Thank you for the recommendations. I am going to go to the site and see if they are available.

I am continuing to pray!!!

Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

I love all your suggestions. Once we have some actual "waiting" and not working time, I'm going to dig into more reading and watching. I actually have a copy of Held at a Distance, but I haven't read it yet. My MIL bought several books on Ethiopia because she also had a desire to learn more, and then I borrowed them from her. :)

Julie said...

Thanks for the book reviews...i'm always looking for a good read. Continued prayers for a sucesseful court date!