Mentewab Dawit Lebiso, 31, who lives in Ethiopia, talked to the Daily Mail Online through an interpreter about her hopes of reconnecting with Zahara after more than a decade. “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,” Lebiso said.
The Maleficent actress, 41, adopted Zahara at six months old as a single mother in 2005, and her then-partner Pitt, 53, requested to legally adopt the girl a year later. Lebiso never stopped thinking about her daughter, though. “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 said. “I miss her all the time. I think about her every day and long to hear her voice or see her face. I know when she has a birthday but I am sad because I can’t celebrate it with her. I would so much want to celebrate with her on her birthday and other special days. … I long to be able to have regular contact with her.”
The Ethiopian native hasn’t had any contact with Zahara since she gave her up for adoption. "I would like Zahara to know she has a mother who loves her as much as Angelina,” she said. “Before I die I would like her to know about me and that she has family here in Ethiopia.”
Lebiso made a plea to the By the Sea actress, saying, “I would ask Angelina to let me speak with [Zahara]. I do not think it is too much to ask.”
It seems that the A-list couple were unaware at first that Lebiso was alive because they were told Zahara was orphaned when they adopted her. In a 2006 interview, Jolie told CNN of Zahara, “She’s from Ethiopia, she’s an AIDS orphan.” It’s likely they discovered Zahara’s birth mother was alive when she gave her first interview in 2007.
Lebiso explained to the Daily Mail Online that she was 19 when she gave birth to a baby girl, whom she named Yemasrech. Zahara’s father is unknown as she was conceived by a brutal rape, she said. "My baby was sick, and I was very weak and sick after birth,” Lebiso said. “I agreed that she should be put up for adoption but if I had my chance again I would have kept her.”
However, in a 2007 interview with The Mail on Sunday, Lebiso claimed she had been unable to deal with the pressures of raising a child and ran away, leaving Zahara with her grandmother. Lebiso’s mother searched for her for months, but was unable to find her and then gave up the baby for adoption.
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