In the Season 5 premiere of Return to Amish, “Leaving Everything Behind,” America meets three new young Amish and Mennonites who are willing to leave their communities to explore the English world. Dawn shares her story of losing her 18-year-old brother Eric in a car accident the same day her husband told her he’s been cheating on her, “having affairs.” The other two are African-Americans who were adopted at young ages by white Mennonite families. Lowell says he’s known as a Ladies’ Man in his Mennonite community and is in a serious relationship with his Amish girlfriend Lisa. Shelly was adopted when she was 5, when her biological mother was in prison. She’s been told that “there’s really no hope for me because I’m a black girl and that I’m adopted.” She has been called the n-word “pretty often” by her white cousins. “They would always degrade me and exclude me,” says Shelly. She would cry and the only people she would associate with were her mother and grandpas.
When Shelly leaves she’ll be leaving her boyfriend Matt, too. Matt was raised in the Old Order Amish church but left four years ago. The young man with the low booming voice is a singer and aspires to become the “Amish Johnny Cash.” Matt was adopted too and says in the Amish and Mennonite community he’s considered black – although he’s Bulgarian. (Bulgaria is a Baltic nation rich with with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences.) Matt hasn’t even told Shelly that he’s not black.
It’s going to be an eye-opening season. New episodes of Return to Amish airs Sundays at 10 pm on TLC.