Bethlehem joined our family when she was 7 years old. She came to us from an orphanage in Ethiopia where she lived with her 4 year-old brother, Tomas. Her hair had a reddish tint to it, she was so malnourished. Her face had numerous white patches we were told were “vitiligo,” which we were told was a condition with no “cure.” (Obviously, “they” were wrong.)
I love her name – Bethlehem Magdalena. Isn’t that wonderful? She is a beautiful person, inside and out, who has overcome tremendous obstacles. She has a remarkable eye for fashion and especially creating awesome outfits on a budget. She is outgoing, gregarious and beloved by her friends.
Today I am going to talk about mothers.
I was born in Ethiopia and I lived with my mother. I want to tell you about her. She was hard worker, and she was beautiful woman, and I looked up to her a lot. She tried her best to keep me safe and alive. It was really hard because we didn’t have a place to live or even have enough food. But she tried really hard.
Then my mom got really sick and I was separated from her and had to live in orphanage and that made me angry, sad and scared. I didn’t really know what to do or how react. Then my mother died, and that made me feel worse. I was afraid. I didn’t who was going to take care of me or where I would live or if I would have enough to eat, but I had to be strong for my brother.
Then this family came to my orphanage and I was hoping that they would pick me. Then they did and that made me feel excited.
Then I came to America. It was very different, nothing looked the same. Nothing smelled the same. The food was different and everyone looked different from me. It got cold here. It never got cold in Ethiopia. I had a lot of food to eat. I had a house to live in and a lot brothers and sisters which was kind of scary, but my new mom helped me out. She helped me learn English, and she cooked me food, and took me shopping to get new clothes, but mostly she loved me.
She helped me with my homework and after a while I could talk to her about things that happened before.
I love both my moms and I am grateful for both of them. I am especially grateful for my new mom that I have now.
She chose to take care of me when no one else wanted to. She loves me and she takes care of me, and she is teaching me how to be a mom and take care of my own family. She is teaching me how to cook and clean, how to work hard and to get an education, but most important she is teaching me how to love myself, how to love others, and how to love God.
I am SOO proud of Bethlehem! It’s been a journey of growth for both of us over the last 9 years. I am excited to see what her future will bring.