There are times as an future adopting parent -when you are in line with the other future adopting parents and making connections with adoptive parents in other agencies and your own- when you see the sheer number of children being "processed" by the orphanages/agencies shocks you. You get this impression of a "revolving door" at the orphanages. It begins to look more and more like a "business" or a "process" than a family event (which a business it is, but it's muttled with a ton of emotion). With this in mind-it amazes me that the people that work in these orphanages can treat each new child so lovingly and attach themselves knowing that most of them will be there for such a short time. I'm not certain I could do this.
The Ethiopian culture loves their children and there is nothing more valuable to them. If there's something I can hope anyone understands about my visit - by reading my blog- I hope it's that you learn how precious it is that they allow "fereng" to come in and take their "gold" to another culture.
It is because they desperately need to. (it's a shame that we cannot/do not do more to allow/encourage the ability for the children to stay in Ethiopia). If we all spent the money we are spending, to adopt these children, to build an infrastructure to keep them there Ethiopia would have an excellent system for dealing with the sheer number of children that need help. Our money goes so very far there that it's difficult for a white person from the west to not be "rich". The thoughts that go on in my head at times sure are difficult to live with at times.
But reality being what it is -international adoption is a possitive option in this bleak and difficult situation deveoping countries face with their orphaned child population. The scary thing is-all families I met there- (wealthy and poor) would ethusiastically be willing to "give their children up" if there was any chance possible for them to come to America.
I saw so much beauty and richness in the lives of Ethiopia's people. Where the people of Ethiopia make you feel embraced (not empowered but embraced), the people of America often feel void of this warm hug like feeling that was overwhelmingly present in the families in Ethiopia. There is so much the culture has to offer it's youth that the apparent willingness of the people to break up their families for a chance at a life in America, would eventually upset me. But I would later learn how difficult it is to get a Visa as an adult to come to America "the beautiful" and began to understand why a parent would happily give their child this amazing opportunity- but it still upset me.
It also helped me understand the legislation going into place with the Hague Convention as well as the biological parent meeting/introduction restrictions. Although I was very upset with the restricted policy added and the treat to remove them from the adoption process earlier this year. So much so, that we told our social worker that if they cancelled them entirely- that we'd have to talk about alternative options. The sentiment of an open international adoption became very important to Denis and I over time. After all we aren't just adding children to our lives we're adding a culture too.
This "threat" was probably the most compelling reason for me to "up and go" to Ethiopia. 6 weeks after dealing with the reality that my children may not have had the opportunity to meet their extended relatives should any be available- I found myself on a plane to Ethiopia. I'd be damned if my children were not going to have any connection with their native country. Even if it ment that I couldn't afford to adopt them when we finally did receive a referal. It's difficult to recover financially from this decision.. I feel very worried today about how we are going to "finance" the cost of the referal if it comes our way "very soon". But, I'm more ready now to adopt than ever before and I'm certain we'll find a way to pay for it all(does anyone have a black mask I can borrow?? Quick before my fingerprints expire-laugh).
Eventually I came to the realization that my perception of family or birth parent meeting- was going to have too much weight/expectation on it anyway. It was really the best thing that could have happened to us in this process of "waiting" for our children. I use to think the birth family meeting would give my children a connection to their culture. In reality- it would only provide pictures of them with people they were related to that I could potentially match up to a story on paper or a location that I saw for a brief moment. I still very much want this meeting for my children to happen and I still want the children to have some "brief" sentiment that their families that surrendered them love them very much-but I not longer hope it will also provide them with a partial connection to their culture.
Now, I'm pleased to think that it is the relationships I made while in the country that are going to provide myself and them with a connection to their culture. And perhaps if later in life they want to look for their "birth family relatives" - there will be an additional avenue and support system in country for them to utilize.
Heck- maybe I'll even find myself retiring there.
The days on the long road of one families Ethiopian Adoption
This blog started out as a way to record the twists, turns, highs and lows in my families journey to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. Now our children are home and we have just finished celebrating our first year as a family.
I'm Kimberly (or Fendesha), an adventurous person who aspires to be a vagabond- but for now- I spend all of my free time travelling and my down time thinking of travelling. I'm a mom of 3 (the oldest being my gorgeous canine companion), a IT project manager, and on occasion I find myself the primary writer of this blog.
Happy Reading and thank you for stopping by.