"Finding My Daughter’s Roots" Article

A little over a year ago I wrote two posts about Melissa Fay Greene and her book, There Is No Me Without You. I bought numerous copies of this book to give to family and friends, and bought three that I kept to lend to people. My bookgroup even graciously agreed to read it in order to get a clearer idea of what prompted us to adopt our children.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Last Sunday Melissa Fay Greene published an article (excerpt below) about taking her Ethiopian daughter, Helen, back to Ethiopia to visit. You can read the entire article on the Parade Magazine website here.

We often talk of our desire to return to Ethiopia. We want to take the children to see extended family, show them their Ethiopian homes, do some sort of service in an orphanage, and explore the country. I’ve wondered how they will feel when faced with the poverty of the country, and more importantly, their relatives. I wonder how I will feel?


With thousands of foreign adoptions taking place in the U.S. each year, many parents want to give their children a connection to their pasts. Writer Melissa Fay Greene recently took her daughter Helen, 10, to visit her native Ethiopia.

It’s been five years since my daughter left an orphanage in Addis Ababa and joined our family in Atlanta. Today Helen is a top soccer player, a flutist and the student president of her school. She has gained much, but much is in danger of being lost: her fluency in Amharic, her Ethiopian manners, her sense of her own history and culture[…]

Arriving at the airport in Ethiopia’s capital a few days later, we descend by creaky rental van into the city, where cars compete for right-of-way with herds of livestock. Unemployed, sick and handicapped people limp or lie on the sidewalks and median strips. Homeless children dash alongside the heavy traffic.

“This scares me,” Helen murmurs. “I don’t feel like I came from here.”

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Bis Sister
    January 15, 2008

    I read the story in the newspaper and meant to mention it to you. What a differnce growing up in our country as opposed to Ethiopia.

  2. Heidi Mehltretter
    January 15, 2008

    This story is really resonating with people. I got a link to it on my local Families with Children from China board. My thought when reading it is that we really serve our kids by taking them to places that are un-like their homes here. It doesn’t have to be a birth country, in fact, maybe the first few experiences away are better NOT in an area that is not as emotionally charged as a child’s home land. Working with humanitarians in inner cities, Mexico or poor Native American reservations here can help our kids grasp the depth of what poverty means to families surviving in it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy