Student Work

The Day My Parents Adopted Me From Ethiopia

The Day My Parents Adopted Me From Ethiopia

by Meri P. / Apr 9, 2015

BFI student Meri P. was the 3rd place winner of the Celebrate America Essay Contest for Washington State. Her entry beat out 95 other entries and we are incredibly proud of our young agent. She recieved a movie packet and a gift card to Elliott Bay Book Company as her prize. Her story has also been posted on KUOW as part of The Seattle Story Project.

BFI student Meri P., age 11, who was adopted from Ethiopia at age 5.

It was a long trip and many things were different. But I enjoyed it. I was young so I wasn’t that close to many people. But it was hard to let go of my grandma, who took care of me when my mom wasn’t there.   

Then I met my adoptive parents.  

I knew they were going to be my parents the second I saw them, the way they smiled at me. They were crying but trying to act calm.

I was 5 years old and I was excited for the journey. I was so outgoing, but I didn’t even speak English. I talked to everyone. It was weird for me to get used to the crazy things American people did. They ate with silverware! Later I found they had traffic lights! I got used to it very quickly.

Meri Putnam, her Ethiopian grandmother, and her parents, Kelly Ryan and Mark Putnam, in Ethiopia when the Putnams adopted Meri.

I was on a plane for 27 hours. I was really impatient. I didn’t want to put my seat belt on. I cried, I laughed, and I made fun of the guy behind me, snoring. My parents tried to calm me down, but they were just laughing hysterically.

We got to the airport. My aunt picked us up. She started driving me to this huge mansion. Now it seems like a tiny house to me, but at that moment my room was the size of my whole house in Ethiopia.

When I was younger, I loved doing activities like sports and games. I grew out of Amharic very quickly and learned English.

One of the things I miss most about Ethiopia is the delicious food with all the sauce and spices, and being welcomed with open arms.

But what I like about America is my parents, my friends and my amazing schools, Adams Elementary and Morningside Academy, and coming to The Bureau of Fearless Ideas.