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August 23, 2007

Ethiopian-American Adoption

Ethiopian-American Adoption

Even before Angelina Jolie put Ethiopian orphans on the front covers of magazines, the African country had become the latest hot spot for international adoptions. But there are voices rarely  heard on the subject...those of the children who are brought to the U.S.

Four years ago, Keith McNichols read an article about orphans in Sudan that made he and his wife decide to look into adopting a child from Africa. The McNichols already had three children, but they thought they could help one or perhaps two of the many older children orphaned by AIDS. 

They wound up adopting two girls from Ethiopia - one 8 years old, the other 14. The girls, Fevan and Tsion, tell Dick Gordon about their lives in Ethiopia, and what it was like when the McNichols showed up to take them to a new home in the U.S.

Keith says the transition was not always easy, especially when tensions ran high between Tsion and Cayley, the McNichols' biological daughter of the same age. Eventually though, the two became inseparable. In 2005, Keith took the entire family back to Ethiopia to visit, and subsequently the McNichols adopted a 6-year-old boy named Miki...and, just this summer, a brother and sister (that's it, Keith says).

After watching the McNichols family grow, Keith says his neighbors got inspired. There are now 16 Ethiopian kids within a few miles of Keith's home outside of Los Angeles.

Living The Dream

Frank Brown was supposed to be a minister, but in his early twenties he dropped out of divinity school and started hopping around from job to job.

He realized his dream was to be in a band, traveling from city to city and playing in front of large crowds. When an up-and-coming band came to town and needed a bass musician to play at the last minute, Frank was happy to step in and play one glorious night in front of thousands of people. He never imagined it would lead to a permanent road gig - but years later, he got the call he had been waiting for. Frank spent more than a year on the road living his dream…before the band ran out of money.

Frank has since found his true professional calling, but music continues to be a part of his life. In fact, he played the bass he bought as a teenager at his recent 41st high school reunion.

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