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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How do you keep Ethiopian Culture in your kids lives?

The big question for us these days as we juggle preschool, everyday life, mom going back to work-etc.. is:  How to keep Ethiopian Culture alive and active in our lives?  How do you?

So far, our answer is - We have made it a daily part of all of our lives-and are diverse in what we do.  Ethiopia is not something that is just a part of our children's heritage now- but is a genuine part of our day to day lives.

We still Cook Ethiopian food weekly-although not daily-with the fabulous help of our Neighbor making injera for us.  Not sure it would be possible with out her help!!!  In the past month Debritu has decided she does not like to eat with her hands -which is making this more challenging- but we just keep it going.

We just move forward with Ethiopian activities, interests and behaviours regardless of how the children "feel" that day. It is a daily part of our lives and kids change constantly.  At one point Habtamu didn't want to listen to the music-but I would play my favorite songs instead of his that week.  The next week he was back asking for his favorite songs.  When he was saddened- we'd talk about his feelings.. or I'd redirect the discussions to Debritu.

We're still speaking Amharic as best we can-Even Denis has jumped on board. I've found surprisingly that I listen to the Amharic for Adoptive Parents still-to remind us all of some things -Habtamu finds it helpful too- as well as review some of my books.  Sometimes Habtamu tells us great stories of their Ethiopian life as he listens to this cd, sometimes he doesn't want to listen to Amharic and asks me to speak English to him - or to turn on an English song.  I tell him he can answer me in English but I would like it very much if he kept his Amharic.  I ask him to talk on the phone with people from Ethiopia regularly.. Sometimes he doesn't want to- after all he's a kids-mostly he gets excited to do it.  I just work on keeping basic greetings, words of kindness, numbers, colors and names of foods.    

We listening to Ethiopian Music- dance around our living room- and watch videos.  We just watched the latest Teddy concert.  It was awesome to see Teddy up there after the whole Jail thing!  Even though it bores the kids- we sometimes listen to the news (yes in Amharic) and I read Fortune and other news published in Enlish weekly. We talk about what's going on in the country-as well as what is going on in ours.   Movies and videos online help keep the images of Ethiopia alive for the kiddos. It more or less keeps it alive for Habtamu and teaches Debritu.   We celebrate the holiday's here at home and away sometimes.  We make many recipes and have Habtamu help us cook.

The harder part of this- is  we also keep in mind how the culture would have raised the children- although our kids are definately "spoiled" by Ethiopian standards and VERY Americanized-keeping the children in touch with the partenting nature of Ethiopia is more difficult.  When I don't know something- I call our Ethiopian friends and ask... it's fun to have both perspectives-then we chose what works for us.

We've found the Ethiopian Adoptive and Ethiopian X-pat community to be great resources for continuing our work as a multi-cultural family. They both inspire us, encourage us and help us move forward with our desire to keep alive- the multicultural aspect of our "multicultural" family.

We'll be adding in some religious activities-probably mostly on holidays- and travelling to the city more when the kids stop napping at seperate times and we are a bit older.. but for now- we "keep moving forward" growing ourselves in our cultural awareness and as we learn - we're guiding the kids "as best we can".

What are you doing?
How does your family Celebrate either your adoption or the kids culture?


1 comment:

kristine said...

you are the first person i've read that is really trying to keep up with the language thing - i would love to talk with you about this.

language is so important but i'm trying to figure out how we will do this.

we have probably 12 - 16 mos before we bring home a 3-6 year old so now is the time to get real. we have a seven year old and he'll be taking amharic lessons with us (for what that will be worth i don't know.)

anyway - i got an nice e-mail from you several months ago and i was swamped but would love to arrange an evening to talk over the phone especially about all that you're doing!


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