Aaron Eske, at only 26, is the Communication Director for Angelina Jolie‘s orphans‘ advocacy organisation in Washington. It‘s the perfect job for him: his mother was head of Nebraska‘s Health and Human Services and, when Aaron was a young boy, she started bringing her work home – or rather – the world home, by adopting children from India, Ethiopia and Korea in the 80s; as the author jokes ‘after Mia Farrow started adopting Asian children and before Woody Allen started sleeping with them‘.
Despite growing up in rural Nebraska, Aaron was unconcerned by his unusual home life. Each of his new siblings arrived in the Nebraska prairie with challenging physical and mental problems to overcome: Meredith was born with deformed hands and feet; Michelle had to come to terms with the fact her mother traded her virginity to save her kidnapped younger brother; Jordan, who having spent his first years on the streets, never quite outgrew his unruliness; and lastly, Jamie, who would need years of physical therapy to overcome cerebral palsy. It was only as Aaron grew older that he found it increasingly difficult to cope with and understand his siblings‘ lives.
While principally a celebration of an unorthodox childhood, THE ORPHAN FAMILY ALBUM is the tale of Aaron‘s adaptation to his growing family, and his siblings‘ adjustment to Western life. The story is made more remarkable by the fact that Aaron then bought a plane ticket and visited the orphanages where his siblings began their lives. Weaving stories of personal tragedy with wider issues of international adoption, Aaron Eske interweaves stories of his childhood with his own experiences of visiting orphanages in the developing world, and in the process brilliantly explores and illuminates the complex issues that surround adoption.
It‘s an extraordinary story with a unique viewpoint, which will capture readers‘ hearts and minds.