Last weekend we attended and participated in an exhibit of artwork created by the children of adoptive parents from Ethiopia. About 15 families from southern ME and NH participated, and all the kids had a total blast.
On the ride home, it got me thinking.
What is it about these 15 families that motivates us to seek each other out, gravitate toward each other, and in some cases, cling to each other? The surface answer is we have a common bond, children from Ethiopia, and that is obviously a part of the answer because we probably would not even know each other if not for that.
But this phenomenon runs deeper. We seem to be building, or striving to build, something deeper and enduring. A permanent community of sorts. A legacy for our children so they will have roots after we are gone.
We sense, on some level, that our children do not, and perhaps will not, have the deepness of roots we thought they would have in America. That even in our biological families, there is transracial undercurrent that anyone other than the parent(s) cannot fully appreciate. But other adoptive parents do understand and can shed light on solutions. Our kids feel comfortable being with the other kids that have experienced substantially similar life trajectories. The kids are approaching an age now where they can compare notes and begin to explore unanswered questions for themselves. Having good relationships with their fellow Eth orphans helps get them through this.
I'll close with one cute example. This weekend we saw a little girl that shared a dorm room with our girls at the orphanage in Addis. They have had no contact at all in almost 3 years. They looked across the beach, recognized each other, ran to each other, gave each other a long embrace, and played together the entire day as though they had never been apart.
Only these kids know what they left behind. Only these kids know what it took to survive that. Luckily, the parents get it, and the parents know it is these kids that are the support network our kids are going to need feel connected, supported, and affirmed into adulthood.