Melissa Fay Greene's biographical novel recounts the years of dedication Ethiopian Mrs. Haregewoin Teferra spent dignifying and fighting for the lives of hundreds of Ethiopian AIDS orphans. Greene spent weeks, months, likely years throughout her many visits in Teferra's compound turned orphanage. This multi-award winning Atlantic author tells of this first AIDS orphanage. She follows the lives of a few remarkable children who moved through the orphanage and were adopted out, to the States mainly. She has even adopted a few Ethiopian children, who have completed her large family!
This book is incredible. It is depressingly real while inspiringly moving.
This one woman's plight for the orphans of her country is truly remarkable. She started out welcoming just one or two young street-living children from her country and quickly found herself surrounded and inundated by hundreds...desparate for unconditional love, warmth, food, education...hope.
There Is No Me Without You has won many awards including being named "Best Book Of 2006" by numerous publishers including the Chicago Tribute, the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, the Anchorage Press...to name but a few.
I love Greene's point of view on several adoption-related topics...the least of which is whether or not our adopted children are either real or biological. The argument for whether or not they are our "real" children is irrefutable. Of course they are. What makes them not real? It's a simple argument, really.
However, Greene goes on to beg the question of whether or not they are also our biological children. I love what she has said about this...
Like many adoptive parents, I chafe at the term “biological” to designate only my birth children. First because all children, of course, are the products of biology. Second because aren’t my children by adoption also mine biologically? We breathe each other’s air, prepare and share each other’s food, borrow each other’s combs and socks and pencils; Helen sometimes falls asleep on my bed twirling her fingers through my hair. Aren’t these somehow biological processes? Aren’t our cells intermixing? Haven’t the years of Berenstain Bears books I’ve inflicted on these children been immortalized as brain cells?
I have a copy of this book and if you are interested in reading it please let me know. I would be happy to share it. I think this is one of those books which, through reading we become better people.