Today we had our second homestudy. It lasted about two hours and was an interview of Drew and I...we basically had to tell about our family growing up and how our childhood was. I was surprised about how much they wanted to know about our extended families. We also had to give our social worker a tour around the house. We have one more homestudy until they start to process our family. I'm guessing it will be about three more weeks until we have a completed homestudy. From there we will process our dossier and THAT'S when this gets really exciting! That is also where I think the hard work comes in.
This is Drew telling about his childhood and his family. :) Our social worker asked a lot about how our family would receive this new child...would they accept him/her. Our prayer is-YES...but only time will tell. I hope everyone can see how precious this child is!
Identity is a complex and always evolving personal conception and expression of oneself. I've thought more than once or twice about my children's identity. I want them to know who they are despite the labels that others may put on them as they grow up. I want them to know where they come from and take pride in it, but not let that take over their identity. I know I am Swedish. I've been to the town my family comes from in Sweden and take pride in and love the cultural art, food, holidays and dress...but ultimately I'm just Asher...heaven is my home and I don't want to get too caught up in my racial identity.
I've thought about this topic especially a lot since I will have a child from Africa. There is a certain culture here in America that a lot (I know, not all) African-Americans embrace. I'm not referring to lower, middle or upper class...but to things like rhythm, friend chicken and whatnot. (Of course there is MUCH more African-American culture than just fried chicken...my friend Jazz just popped into my head and chicken is where I went) :) Our child will be first African, then African-American but will live in a white American family who descended from Europe. What does this look like on a day to day basis? Despite the fact that we are white-we happen to love us some rhythm...oh, and fried chicken. :) I want to make sure we immerse our child in the African-American culture here in the U.S. I want him/her to LOVE that they came from Africa and be proud of it. The African culture WILL be part of our family identity. I am SO ready...
All this to say-we are already trying to incorporate the African-American culture into our family. Today I took the kids downtown to the Goombay Festival. Goombayemerged during slavery days in Bermuda. (Granted its not Africa but...) Both music and rhythm were brought form Africa and West Indies. Quinn and Asa thoroughly enjoyed the music and dancers and were asking for "MORE!" when it was all over. Hopefully next year we can take our new babe to this cultural experience. I'm sure we will get many stares down the road...our family will look different. Bring it on! I don't even care-in fact, I LOVE it. But, I want to teach my children to be proud of the fact that we are different. Who wants to be like everyone else anyway? Not me! I want them to find their identity in Christ and know that their self worth and value comes from Him...not the color of their skin or the country they descended from.
This is Ethiopia. People with struggles, hopes, dreams, desires and needs live here-in this dump. This is real. Be aware. It bothers me when I here people who disapprove of our adopting from Ethiopia when their reason is this, "...but there are poor here. There are children here who need adopted. There are orphans in America." Yes! That is true. And I know that there are people who are called to adopt from America. There are more parents that want to adopt infants from America than there are infants that need adopted. After speaking to a family therapist and reading multiple books on birth order we feel it is important to adopt a child that is younger than Asa. One day we would LOVE to adopt older children but this is where we are right now. We tried for two years to adopt from the foster care system and it didn't work out. (I'll spare you the details of why) BUT-the poor here are rich compared to those is Ethiopia. We are blessed as Americans to have women's shelters, food banks, churches that help the homeless, Medicare, Medicaid, foster care, food stamps...I could go on. I will never stop fighting for those in my home country. Those here in America that need help. Our family wants to be there to help and to lend a hand, to lend a room in our house...to buy those that are hungry groceries. Our family does help in this way and will never stop. I love that there are so many people in America that care and have that hand extended out to those in need right here in our home town!
My heart also beats for those half a world away who experience poverty like we will never know. I am burdened by knowing there are mothers in some third world countries who can't keep their child that they love and have carried for nine months in their womb because they don't have enough food.
(This is where I want to be with my kids right now...downtown Asheville)
Today I was on the news for Sole Hope...and had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by a news anchor that just adopted from Ethiopia 18 months ago! Coincidence? I think not. I have not met anyone else here in Asheville that has adopted from ET...
Tonight we have our first of three homestudys! This is a big deal. We have to PASS the homestudy in order to move on with our adoption. Ill let you know how it goes. :)
It is our routines and our comforts that allow us to ignore social issues. For some of us, it is our privilege to be ignorant. Social injustices cannot be ignored when you are forced to deal with them. What would happen if you were forced to deal with something that you may think has nothing to do with you...if the world's problems came into your own home?
Meet Queen...she is 10 years old and lives in Ndola, Zamia
This touches my heart so deeply. The video below is from Ethiopia. I know it is best for children to stay and grow up in the culture and country they were born into-in fact its ideal. But, there are SO many orphans in Ethiopia (4,800,000 orphans JUST in Ethiopia). This is one reason we are adopting from Ethiopia. We sponsor a beautiful little girl in Ndola, Zambia named Queen.
My friend Andrea put it like this, "So while the world says God can't be good to make these people suffer so-really...He did provide. What if he provided US with plenty in hopes that we would be the vessel to meet their needs?" Please don't follow this thought with, but I don't have plenty. Because if you have Internet and are reading this blog...you have plenty. I'll get off my soap box now...
I would like to pray with Drew about sponsoring a child from this area (see video). $700 is a big chunk of money for a lot of people...for some it is a drop in the bucket in comparison to what they spend on other "needs" we Americans have. You know, needs like cable, vacations, clothes and shoes for back to school, monthly car payments...oh wait, those aren't NEEDS you say? Exactly my point. If you think those are NEEDS...I will be outspoken enough to tell you you need to get out and see the world a little.
Oh, where to start...I am not typically this MIA on my blogging. Honestly, I don't really know where to start in this adoption blogging word. There are a lot of people who can say what I am thinking better, and I guess because I have been an adoption blog stalker for several years now, I feel like I have nothing new to say. Then, I have to remember that most of my friends and family that will be following this journey with our family have no clue how international adoption works, no clue how interracial families work and franky are a littl scared of the idea.
Let me let you in on a little secret of my heart. If it is something I hold really dear to me, I tend to not share until I know the surroundings are safe. Is this public blog safe? Nope! Far from it. But I feel the need to share about this experience because it is something I don't ever want to forget. This journey of walking through an international adoption is something that people need to know about...it is not a scary thing. It is not something to hide or keep to ourselves. I don't believe every family is called to adopt, but Drew and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ours IS.
So, where do I start? First, I am going to try not to blog about adoption every day for my sanity. And if you see I am doing that you can be sure I am going crazy and using this blog as my outlet. Because the wait is long, and I am a terrible waiter...I have to keep busy and try not to think about the impending excitement, changes, unknowns and THE WAIT.