Anane Loveday, 16, who was adopted from Ethiopia at age 8, had hoped her first pageant competition would lead to college scholarship money, never expecting to win a state title.
The Grosse Ile student was crowned Miss Michigan Teen USA Sept. on 30 at the pageant, which was held in Port Huron, the first pageant she ever entered.
She said she entered hoping the pageant would help her win scholarship money for her college education, which she hopes leads to medical school.
She said she has also looked into modeling as a way to earn money for college.
Anane (pronounced “uh-NO-naye”) and her younger sister Zoe, 11, were adopted eight years ago by Jack Loveday, 63, and his wife Deborah, 61, when the empty-nesters were moved by a missionary’s images of African children awaiting adoption.
The couple have three biological offspring: Lisa, 44, John, 35, and Kelly, 39, plus six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Deborah Loveday said their priest had started an orphanage in Tanzania, for which the youth of their parish collected supplies. People who went to the orphanage on a mission trip returned with video that they turned into a documentary, and the images of the children impacted her emotionally, which sparked in them a desire to adopt an overseas child in need. They adopted Anane and Zoe in December 2009 from Ethiopia.
“We really wanted our kids to know that they are the ones we chose,” she said. “It wasn’t just an accident – we wanted them.”
Anane Loveday said she has despised snow since she arrived in the U.S. and exited an airplane in Washington D.C. amid a blizzard.
“I do remember all I wanted to do was go back into the plane,” she said. “It was so cold!”
Jack Loveday said they took a small commuter plane from New York City to D.C. prior to the last leg of their return to Detroit.
“One of the worst blizzards they had in decades,” he said. “You had to get off the plane onto the tarmac. The snow was so bad it was flying sideways.”
As an 8-year-old, Anane Loveday learned to speak English very quickly, and is now in her junior year in high school with her same age peers.
“I am a little more mature than most of the kids in my school, because I experienced a lot of things back in Ethiopia,” she said.
She said therapy and a strong relationship with her adoptive parents have helped her work through the trauma she experienced as a child.
Anane Loveday said she wants to become a medical doctor because she likes helping others.
“If I can make good money and help others at the same time, I think that would be a good thing,” she said.
Deborah Loveday said Anane would like to go back to Ethiopia as a visiting physician – not permanently, but to visit and help out where she was most needed.
Anane Loveday enjoys traditional Ethiopian dance and music, and has taught her parents how to prepare some of the foods, warning them which spices not to get on their hands, which in turn could get into their eyes, a painful consequence to avoid.
“The Ethiopian food I could eat every day,” she said. “Being here, though, I have gotten into shopping, which has made me Americanized. I do love to shop – but I am a good shopper – I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes.”
She likes to run, and her favorite class in school is English, because she likes to write.
Her sister Zoe, 11, was 3 ½ when she was adopted, and she said she doesn’t have memories like Anane has.
“I think my knowing about the Ethiopian culture is important, because it is where I started to grow up, and it is where I was born, but where my real home is, is in America,” Zoe said.
Deborah Loveday said both girls have been exposed to Ethiopian culture through groups with immigrants from Ethiopia and through knowing other Ethiopian adoptees.
“Anane knows enough about cooking that we were able to learn how to make the Ethiopian dishes,” Deborah Loveday said.
Deborah Loveday said the food is very spicy, with berbere in it, an Ethiopian spice mixture that includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella and fenugreek, and is a key ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine.
Anane said someday she hopes to go back to Ethiopia for a visit, perhaps as a doctor, to help others in her native country. She said she would not want to live in Ethiopia, though.
“I am here, and this is where I belong,” she said. “It is my home and I was born there, but here is my official home.”