As a refugee with no resources, Adeline Tuweah gave her children up so they could live and gain an education. This huge sacrifice inspires a movement that will change a nation.
Video transcript below:
I want to tell you a story about Adeline Teweah. Adeline Teweah is Surprise and Thomas’ birth mom. She came to the orphanage in Liberia when Mitch was there to pick up the boys in January. She sat down and talked to Mitch about her life and her family and about the boys. It was such a privilege for Mitch to be able to talk to her. He didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t know how she would feel about him taking her children out of the country, but she was very gracious to talk to him and let him know about her life and family.
She was the oldest of seven children and when she was young, her dad took the family out of the city where the civil war had broken out and they were refugees, and had to flee to the bush, and went as far away from the city as they possibly could. When Adeline was living out in the bush she met Thomas and Surprise’s father and they got married. Then Thomas and Surprise came along. Soon after Thomas was born, Adeline’s husband went to fight in the civil war with his fellow tribesmen and he never returned. So Adeline was left with the responsibility to care for her two boys on her own and to provide a living so that they could eat and have a place to live and have the things that they need.
Soon the effects of the war reached the outer counties of Liberia and food was scarce, they were suffering and hungry and it was dangerous. The soldiers were finding children to join the armies and raiding the tribe’s camps and the community and so Adeline took Thomas and Surprise and fled the country. They walked to the Ivory Coast to get away from the fighting. Surprise tells us they walked back and forth from Monrovia to the Ivory Coast just wherever they could find that was safe; where there was food and where they weren’t in danger of the fighting from the civil war.
After Adeline had moved back to Monrovia she tried living with her family who were there in the city. They had no means to support her and her two boys. They were suffering, they were hungry, so she was forced to live on her own with the boys and try and make a living and provide for them. She soon realized that she wasn’t going to be able to do it on her own and she was told by a man in her community that there is an orphanage where she could place her children to be adopted by an American family. And she chose to give up her children so that they could have the opportunity for an education and a better life in America.
She placed them for adoption. When Mitch met with her he thought maybe she would be very sorrowful and upset that the boys were leaving. But he found that she was excited for them and happy that they would have this opportunity for a better life; and they would be able to come to America and have the happiness and joy that comes from having enough to eat, and having the opportunity to go to school. Now that I’ve seen the poverty and the lack of opportunity and the suffering that goes on in Liberia, I want for those people what Adeline wanted for her children. She wanted a better life. I see that there is much opportunity, the Liberian people are resilient and strong and brave. I know that an education can enable them to have a better life and that is why Sahbu was born.