Born in Eritrea, Hannah Pool was adopted and grew up in Norway and UK before discovering that her father and siblings were very much alive back in Eritrea. Pool, now a journalist with The Guardian in the UK, wrote “My Father’s Daughter,” a book about her journey to rediscover her family, roots and country.
Her story isn’t uncommon when it comes to Eritrean and Ethiopian adoption which is very popular for a wide variety of reasons, one of them being the ease and cost of it in comparison to other African nations and the other being the ‘Good Black’ archetype of us among Europeans. Most adoptive white parents don’t put much thought into the legitimacy of agencies, in fact they take advantage of how poorly regulated the process is. It is no secret that a significant portion of children are moved under the pretense that it is a temporary foster situation and their parents await their return. When their children don’t come back they are forced to believe they have passed away or just don’t want to see them again. If they are somehow reunited years down the line they’re unable to communicate because the children have not learned or maintained their language and have not been introduced to others from their culture, which isn’t always possible to do. I’ve seen that happen many times. Adoptive parents of Habesha kids usually want their children to assimilate into white culture to avoid being the different or odd one out in the family similar to the colorblind theory but avoiding the matter is more harmful to the child’s identity and self esteem. I’m interested to read more about Hannah’s trip back home to my city Keren. It seems like things turned out okay for her which is really nice to hear. Learning Tigrinya as an adult seems scary I admire her a lot.