Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Adoption Awareness Day 10: Cultivating birth culture
Ethiopia is a beautiful place. I will admit that I was a bit surprised when I started researching the country before deciding to adopt from there because the images I had in my mind were the ones media had put there in the 80s and 90s of starving children sitting in dusty, desert like areas. While I am sure that was effective marketing to get people to help donate and is a reality in part of Ethiopia, there is so much more to Ethiopia than that small glimpse. The culture is rich in tradition and the countryside is beautiful.
When you are being interviewed by the social worker for your home study you are asked many questions, but added on in an international transracial adoption is the questions of how you will help him identify with his/her race and heritage. I am blessed to have many families that have adopted from Ethiopian living in the same basic community I do and so we do get our kids together. While culture is much more than food it is a way for me to expose him to pieces of his home land and such traditions as the coffee ceremony.
While in Ethiopia I purchased traditional clothing and small gifts to give to him each year on his adoption day for the first 5 years he was home. We also have things like the Ethiopian alphabet, toys and art work in the home for him to see. We always discuss and recognize Ethiopian New Year and other holidays.
This last year Little Man has started asking about visiting Ethiopia. It is in the works, probably not for a few years, but we will go. ( He is hoping I will bring a baby brother home for him when we go, not likely to happen but he is hoping) We will go and visit, tour the country he came from, eat the food and hear the language, smell the spices and see the beauty. I will attempt to give him memories of his birth place. I will attempt to balance the America he lives and breathes everyday with a pride for his birthplace as well.