The biological mom of Angelina Jolie’s adopted daughter, Zahara, is pleading for a few moments of contact with the 12-year-old girl. The actress was told she was adopting an AIDS orphan, but Mentewab Dawit Lebiso is very much alive and living in poverty in Ethiopia.
Mentewab Dawit Lebiso was brutally raped when she was 19 and became pregnant. She named the baby Yemasrech, which means “good news” in her African language.
“He pulled a dagger, put one hand on my mouth, so that I could not scream. He then raped me and disappeared,” the biological mother of Angelina Jolie’s daughter said when recounting her rape, E! News reports.
She initially kept her baby girl but was too sick following the birth and too poor to properly care for her. She faced great difficulty providing food and medical care for the baby and eventually ran away, leaving the infant with her mother, Almaz Elfneh.
“My baby was on the verge of death. She became malnourished and was even unable to cry,” Mentewab said. “I was desperate and decided to run away, rather than see my child dying.”
Lebiso said she dreams of one day meeting her daughter, but for now, she would settle for Angelina Jolie allowing some type of contact so the little girl would know she did have a biological mother who loved her, the Daily Mail reports.
— borkena (@zborkena) January 17, 2017
“I just want her to know that I am alive and here and long to be able to speak with her. I do not want my daughter back but just to be in contact with her and be able to call her up and talk with her,” the Ethiopian woman said.
Mentewab Dawit Lebiso also maintains she did not abandon her daughter.
Lebiso said her mother and uncle suggested she put the baby up for adoption when it became obvious the family could not properly care for the infant.
“I was so weak I agreed. I agreed that she should be put up for adoption but if I had my chance again I would have kept her,” Zahara’s biological mother said. “By taking her Angelina has saved my baby’s life and she also saved my life. I will always be very grateful to her for that.”
Mentewab Lebiso blames the Wide Horizons for Children agency in Ethiopia’s capital for how the adoption with Angelina Jolie was handled. It was not until Zahara had traveled to America with the actress that public reports first surfaced about the baby’s biological mother dying from AIDS.
Now, 12 years later, Lebiso is still angry the world was led to believe she had died from AIDS. She blames a man referred to as “Mr. Fix-it,” who handled the adoption, for creating the AIDS death story. Mentewab is now attending a local technical college and studying woodworking; she has never had any other children.
Jolie's adopted daughter has a living biological mother? https://t.co/jPrrzoWdcn
— Arlena de Victorious (@ArlenaDellic) January 17, 2017
The birth mother of Angelina Jolie’s adopted daughter admits she is barely surviving and has no desire to try to seek custody of Zahara. According to Lebiso, two years after her baby was adopted, representatives for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came to speak with her to discuss the potential for future contact with the child.
“I told them all I wanted was to be allowed to speak with my daughter but when this message was given to Angelina they said I wanted her back and if she came for a visit I would never let her go back to America. That is not true, but that is what they told her,” Mentewab Lebiso added.
The biological mother has a stack of well-worn magazine and newspaper clippings of her daughter and the girl’s adopted family inside her home. The clippings, sent to her from relatives in the United States, are reportedly the only images she has of her daughter.
“I am so proud when I see her face. She is growing into a beautiful young woman and that makes me so happy,” Lebiso added. “I am very happy looking at her progress and see her grow up, but there is also much sadness as I know I am missing out on this.”
The birth mom also said even though she misses her daughter “all the time” and yearns to hear her voice and see her face, she knows Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are giving her a far better life than she herself ever could have provided.
“Angelina has been more of a mother to her than I have ever been. She has been with her since she was a baby, but that does not mean I do not miss her,” Lebiso also noted.
— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) January 18, 2017
The biological mother said what she really wants most is to have regular contact with her daughter. She said that before she dies, she would like her daughter to learn about her biological mother and her relatives in Ethiopia.
“I would ask Angelina to let me speak with her. I do not think it is too much to ask,” Mentewab continued.
Zahara was adopted in 2005 when she was only 3-months-old. Angelina Jolie is not believed to have realized the birth mother of her adopted daughter was alive until 2007 when the Ethiopian woman gave her first interview. There is reportedly no inclination Jolie and Brad Pitt did anything improper or illegal during the adoption proceedings.
News of the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce has not escaped Zahara’s biological mom. She said she will pray for the couple and believes they are both good parents, adding she would like for her daughter to stay with her adopted mother once the custody battle is over.
“I am not worried about Zahara in this as she will be looked after by them both. I know they love the children and they will not want any hurt to come to them,” Mentewab Lebiso added.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have six children, three adopted and three biological: Maddox, Shiloh, 10, Pax, 12, twins Vivienne and Knox, 8, and 12-year-old Zahara.
[Featured Image by Northfoto/Shutterstock]