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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Angel Goes Home

A little over a year ago, when the road we'd been pleasantly traveling suddenly dead-ended into a hillside named "Guatemalan Adoptions Now Closed mountain" (it really was called that, I swear), we weren't sure what to do. We wondered whether to turn left, or turn right, or turn around and simply go back to where we'd come from -- a place with our four beautiful (albeit unruly) kids and a bit less confusion over a message we thought we'd heard so clearly.

The first book I picked up in an effort to get some clarity was There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene. It is a stunning story documenting Melissa's time in Ethiopia, first as a journalist and later as an adoptive mother of, ultimately, two Ethiopian-born children.

The book centered around a woman named Haregewoin Teferra (shown in the middle of this picture surrounded by many of "her" children). Haregewoin Teferrra was "a middle-class Ethiopian woman who found herself at the heart of a global health crisis...transformed her home into an orphanage and began facilitating adoptions to homes all over the world." It is a fantastic book, and one my mom bought and sent to a number of people prior to Nina's homecoming.


On the day of Nina's re-adoption, I was so blessed to meet the adoptive family of one of the children featured in There Is No Me Without You, to put a face with that part of the story that touched me so deeply. In fact, when I learned that this little boy had made his way all the way from Ethiopia to, of all places, Phoenix, I thought that, surely, that was just another sign that we were heading in the right direction, both literally and figuratively.

It was in reading this book that I knew wholly and completely that while I was initially so unwaveringly sure of our journey to Guatemala, the place we were meant to go was Ethiopia. I don't know how to describe the knowledge more deeply than that, but I know my friends with Ethiopian-born children understand what I'm saying.

I've been thinking lately that I need to re-read it, this time from the perspective of someone who's adopted from Ethiopia and been to Ethiopia as opposed to someone who's merely considering those activities.

Haregewoin died suddenly today in Ethiopia. Not many details are yet known other than that she called a friend and then died in her home.

Ethiopia has lost a true hero in the war against children without home or family. Tonight, Haregewoin is where she belongs, resting among all the other angels in heaven, having most rightfully earned her place there.

And tonight, to honor her for indirectly opening my heart so fully to welcome home an angel of my own, I will begin re-reading her story.

3 comments:

jody said...

oh my, what a loss for the country of ETH. that book was just amazing. but she was more amazing, just a real woman makinga huge difference in the lives of so many. Heaven's gain, for sure!!

Matt and Emily said...

Thank you for sharing this tragic news. I loved that book, but most of that women. What a true hero she was.

haley said...

wow, i am sad to hear this. i was also deeply moved by her story. she was a hero and i pray she has inspired others who will step up and care for these children.