Friday, June 14, 2013

Searching for a Lost Grandson

I am briefly resurrecting this blog to help an Ethiopian elder who participates in the program for African seniors at my job. 

For the last few weeks, he has been bringing in a small stack of photographs to show me, and this week, with the help of two separate interpreters, we got to the heart of why he kept showing me these photographs.

I am hoping someone reading this can help him.  His name is Take Zeray, and he has given me permission to share this story publicly.

In 1999, his son Makele died.  Makele had a pregnant wife when he died.  A few months after Makele's death, his son Abel was born.  About two years after this, Abel's mother married again and had another son.  When Abel was three-years-old, Abel's mother, her new husband, and Abel's half-brother died.

This left Abel as a double orphan, so his mother's first cousin took care of him for about a year.  He was relinquished to an orphanage in Mekele.  When Abel was four-years-old, he was adopted by a white Canadian family living in Toronto.  This is where Abel went to live.  Abel is now a teenager.

Mr. Take Zeray, Abel's grandfather, contacted the Canadian embassy in Ethiopia in 2011 to try to find out information about where his grandson went and how to contact him.  His attempts to make contact were unsuccessful.

Take Zeray loved his son Makele very much and wants to simply make sure that his grandson Abel knows that he has biological family alive who love him.  He made it very clear to me during our meeting yesterday that he has no intention of separating Abel from his new family in Canada.  He simply wants to know that Abel is alright.

If anything about this story sounds familiar to you or if you know anyone at all who might know the family in Toronto, Canada who adopted a four-year-old boy named Abel from Mekele, Ethiopia, we would be very grateful if you could make contact with me or Take Zeray.  Take Zeray speaks Amharic and very little English.

I have more details of this story as well as more photographs that I or Take Zeray could share privately if you know this family.  Please feel free to share this post.

My email is:
Take Zeray's phone number is: 503-847-1956


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cheers and Tears.

I woke up last night in a panic as it hit me, the way things do in the middle of the night for naturally anxious people like me, that I have made the decision to say goodbye to this blog.  It's a done deal.  A new blog has been started.  There is no turning back for me now.

I did not want to let this blog simply fizzle out the way it's done in the last few months.  I knew the end was coming, and I wanted to end it right.  It just hit me last night that it might be a more emotional goodbye than I'd expected.

So here it is.

I started this blog in 2007 (!) for two reasons: I needed a creative outlet for myself, and I wanted to help others as we journeyed through adoption.  This was always the purpose for the blog, and I tried pretty hard to stick to that.  I think it's good for a blog to have a 'theme' if you will, and this one seemed like a good one.  The problem came when we started settling in as a family with two kids with no new adoptions on the horizon.  While I have learned so much from families who continue their blogs once their kids get home, I have not figured out for myself how to write about our family and our real-life struggles in a way that protects the privacy of our kids.  Others are so much better at this than I am.  Because I couldn't figure it out, I just stopped writing.  

The adjustment our family has gone through with the addition of our sparkling girl has not been completely smooth and easy for anyone.  There have been plenty of ugly moments from all of us, and I just could never figure out how to write about this.  This always made me feel guilty because I felt like I was being dishonest.  Part of me hoped that my stretches of silence would be enough to convey to faithful followers of this blog that I wasn't being dishonest by just posting the happy stuff.  I always hoped they (you!) would understand that I just couldn't figure out how to write about the hard stuff.

We are now a relatively solid family of four with no concrete plans in the works to adopt another, and so the goal of this blog has pretty much been accomplished.  It certainly came in handy for me as I sought a creative outlet, and I hope it helped others as you graciously followed our family.

...which leads me to the part that I get emotional about.  I've written about this plenty of times, but I'll say it again: the biggest surprise for me with our adoptions is the lifelong friends I made through this blog.  I mean, real-life, honest-to-God, in-the-flesh friends who come visit me and vice versa, who have sent me numerous care packages in the mail during down times, who organized a blessingway for me, who call and text me regularly to check in or recommend a new book or give me celebrity gossip.  It blows my mind.

The day we got word that our adoption of our son was finalized in Ethiopia in 2008, I spent that afternoon sitting in a coffee shop in L.A. with the laptop reading the dozens of supportive comments that came in via this blog.  Each comment that came (over a hundred in all by the end of the day!) made my stomach do a little flip of gratitude and joy.  How amazing that people cared enough about us to reach out!  Again, it blew my mind.  

Thank you.

A lot has been brewing in me for the last several months, and loquacious Lori will always need an outlet for her many words, so this weekend I created a new space in the same spirit I started this blog in five years ago.  I hope the new space will be an outlet for me and a help for anyone who feels like following along.  

It is called Moments I Got Back.  You can read the concept behind it by clicking here, but the short version is that it is the attempt of a middle-aged woman to slow time down a little bit by being more present each day.  It will take discipline for me to write it, and I truly hope it won't take discipline for you to read it.   It was birthed out of the experience I had in 2009 of writing the series of posts from the month our family spent in New York City (in this blog's archives).  These posts were a joy to write, and I hope my new blog will be a similar joy, even though I'm currently in a much less interesting city.

This is where I say goodbye.  I will be honored if any of you follow me to the new space and become a part of a potential community over there.  In eternity, please save me a seat beside you so we can meet in person and reminisce about this funny little life here.  For now,  I raise my hard apple cider to you in gratitude, in humility, in sincere thanks for being such a huge part of my becoming a mother.  This is where I begin to cry.

(If, on the off chance, we ever do adopt again, this blog will be back up and running.)

Many tears right now, silly old middle-aged me.

Love, love, love, all is love.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Living Well the Days We're Given

I first "met" Ryan's sister via blogging.  A few months later while we were in Ethiopia meeting our own son, she she got the news about theirs, so I was able to hold him for a few minutes on our last full day in country.  I met her in person the next year in California and again a couple years ago here in Oregon.  She is the real deal, as is her family including her amazing brother.

 Whether it's a lot or a few, live your days well.

If you want to contribute something to help this family, you can do it by going here

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fifteen Years and a Day...Meet Greg.

After writing yesterday's post, I realized I should probably ask the guy I wrote so much about if he minded that I used his real name and if I could post a picture.  I sent him a link to the post and here is some of what Greg had to say:

"That was a horrible day fifteen years ago. For years I had flashbacks to the moment the shooter in his black trench coat, holding a shotgun, looked me squarely in the face. I still cringe every time I see a trench coat. I remember banging on the locked door at the band hall, seeking a place of refuge. Then in a terrorizing moment of panic, as the door opened, I thought there might be someone else on the other side with a gun. Thankfully, it was a fellow band member and good friend. The band hall was crowded with other students and some of the wounded as well. Memories from that day are very patchy. I think we had a memorial in the gym a few days after the shooting. I do remember feeling relief when I saw you later that week; I was happy to see that you were physically ok. I was also scared to return to school after the shooting. I don’t remember what you told me, but you helped me feel like it was safe to return to school.

I probably never said it, but thank you. Thank you for your teaching, thank you for your encouragement, and thank you for being a friend."

(You should be humming the Golden Girls theme song to yourself right now after reading those last six words).
That day was so awful that I don't often allow myself to 'go there' like I did as I wrote yesterday's post.  All day today, more memories have been coming up about not just that day but the back story about the shooter, his family, his friends, the community.  I don't feel much like writing about it.  If you're interested, it can all be googled.  

It's in the past.  I'm content to leave it there and know that those of us who walked away from that day can let it be a reminder to be present as often as we can. 

The caption to this photo on fb was something about his job being done: he had just made his best friend cry right before her wedding.  I admit that the photo of him sitting on a bathtub next to the crying bride had me tearing up a little.  What a guy.