Let me share with you a beautiful story of restoration.
Berhane is a mother in our Family Empowerment Program with a story like so many others. It is one that includes loss, disappointment, struggle, and resilience. When Berhane entered our program with her three boys, we were unaware that someone was missing: there was a daughter as well.
Back in 1977, a drought ravaged Northern Ethiopia. Berhane’s husband left with their 5-year-old daughter Meseret, in hopes of finding better opportunities in the capital of Addis Ababa. Berhane was left to care for their three boys in the countryside. Sadly, Berhane’s husband remarried in Addis and Meseret grew up with a caregiver. Once she became a teenager, Meseret left for the town of Nazareth and had a little boy and girl of her own.
Many years later, Berhane was determined to be reunited with her daughter.
Berhane recruited the help of known relatives in the search, and eight years ago managed to obtain the address of where Meseret was living. Sadly, Meseret became very sick a year after they met and passed away after only a few months. Berhane’s granddaughter was adopted by a Western family, and the grandson was given to the care of another.
Berhane has been longing to be reunited with her grandchildren ever since, looking everywhere she could think of to find them. Berhane treasured photo albums her daughter gave her, which included pictures of a life she never knew. There were photos of Berhane’s husband, his extended family, and her grandchildren.
This past January, Berhane shared her story to our HFK staff. Two hearts were deeply touched. One staff member was from Canada and the other from Ethiopia, and they both came together, determined to help in any way they could.
Our Ethiopian Youth Social worker, Tsion, went the extra mile to help Berhane be reunited with her family. She wrote the full name of Berhane’s granddaughter on the back of a family photo and searched for relatives herself. Tsion went to different neighbourhoods where Berhane’s relatives lived, checking for leads and asking for the whereabouts of her grandchildren. It was a fruitless excursion. Tsion finally conducted an internet search and connected with Berhane’s granddaughter over Facebook. She was all the way in Holland, across the world, living with her adopted family. It was amazing: after Tsion’s efforts and determination, Berhane’s granddaughter was found! It was a miracle, and an answer to prayer. Berhane’s granddaughter was very intrigued about her family history and gave Tsion the name and location of her brother as well, who happened to live in another part of Addis.
It was a tearful, touching reunion.
“On the day they met each other, we were able to see their happiness” Tsion reminisced. “It was a very special moment.”
Written by Karissa Schat, HFK Programs & Office Manager
Above: Finally reunited! Berhane's grandson (left), two son's (middle), Berhane (right)
Below: Reunited Cousins - Berhane's son (left), Berhane's grandson (right)