No matter how hard we try to bring Africa into our lives our child will not know the Africa he was taken from. I struggle with this. I assume this is one of those arguments that people who want to challenge international adoption bring to light. He won't know what it feels like to be an African. He will be an American, and while we know that we are giving him a life that he never had a chance for, I ache that he won't know his Africa.
We live a simple life, or at least we strive to. It is a daily struggle for me to not get swept up into consumerism. It all around us, everywhere we look, everywhere we go. At the grocery store you're bombarded with Elmo balloons and Dora the Explorer plates(don't get me wrong, those are 2 of Adi's favorite "people") but I want to give it to her on my terms, not while we are buying food. It is so easy for me to buy a little toy for her because it only costs 2$, or want new curtains because I'm kinda sick of the ones we have. But when I start to think that I'd like a bigger house, so the kids can have more toys and I can have more furniture, that's when I need a reality check.
We live in a little 3 bedroom bungalow with no "overflow" space at all. Its a beautiful house albeit small at times. Adi has a big bedroom with lots of room to share with Bay, when he gets here, and we recently added a new master bedroom. We have all we could ever need and more than we could ever want.( I don't always remember this when I'm trying to convince Andy that I really need a second pair of Frye boots) Of course it is all in the eye of the beholder, to some we live in a mansion and have all the heart desires, and to others a shack.
Last night I watched a documentary called "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo" The title gives away the basic premise, but I'll just add to it that it considered the war in the Congo to be a war against women. This war is what has caused these men to rape these women. It was a terrifying film to watch, because it is real. It is unimaginable. And I thought I had a bad day because another nurse decided to take her anger out on me. I forget briefly about my trials and tribulations, and thank God that I don't live in constant fear of the unimaginable. But before I know it my day is ruined because I was treated rudely at a doctors office. I need to be reminded, often, to need and want less. I need Africa, I need Africa to remind me of this, but Africa does not need me.
Watching this may have been what has made me want to write about this now. This is the Africa that I fear my son will never know. While we live in the beautiful mountains and live a life as natural and simple as possible, I fear that it will never be the beauty that he could have had in Africa. I fear that instead he will be surrounded by commercialism and plastic, TV screens and computer monitors, cars and traffic. I know he is being given a second chance at life, a family couldn't have. I know this in my heart. I am eternally grateful to him and his mother, for choosing us. We need him as much as he needs us. Until now, when adoptive parents would say these things, I never understood it. Why would we not want to think that we were saving a child by adopting, there are so many children who need moms and dads, that we are not struggling with fertility issues so we aren't adopting out of our need. But its clear to me now. Our needs are Bay. We need Africa, more than Africa needs us. I can only hope and pray that my baby sees they beauty of his land and knows that he is part of that beauty, that he has brought that beauty to his mom and dad here in the mountains of NC. And of course that we can show him the beauty we have here too, although it may be harder to see through all the "stuff."