Keeping Culture Alive
Like all adoptive families, we feel compelled to keep Ethiopia a big part of all of our lives. Before bringing Sasha home, we were concerned that, given where we live, we would not have as many resources as we would like in order to do this. Fortunately, we've found that actually having Sasha with us has opened more opportunities:
There is an Ethiopian restaurant about a half hour from us, which we go to every once in a while, and there is another in that area that we haven't had the chance to try yet.
We also discovered an Ethiopian restaurant a literal two-minute walk from my grandma's house in Michigan, so we go there whenever we visit (which has been already three times since Sasha came home.)
My mom spoke with a woman who works at our local supermarket the other day, and she is a native of an African country (I'm embarassed to say I can't recall which one it is now.) She said she takes English classes at our local community college, and that there is an Ethiopian woman in her class. She then promised to let this woman know about us, so when my mom goes back to the store she'll see if there is a way to contact the Ethiopian woman.
Best of all, Sasha and my mom now belong to a playgroup for Ethiopian-adopted children. There are currently four or five families that belong, and they meet around twice a month. Sasha's best friend so far is a little girl I'll call T, who is roughly 9 months older than Sasha and came home from Ethiopia this past Christmas. I actually met T's mother before T came home at Melissa Fay Greene's talk, and I met the two of them again this past Thursday. (10th graders had standardized testing in the mornings last week, so freshmen, juniors, and seniors got to come in late :)). We met at Border's, and Sasha immediately innitiated play with T. Although T was a bit shy at first, they soon started interacting very sweetly, and were best friends a half hour later. At one point, the two grabbed hands and ran away together; the mothers and I started looking everywhere for them, but they had just gone off to innocently play Ring Around The Rosy. Oh my gosh, it was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen.
Kind of stemming from this, my mom met a woman in a neighboring town the other day who happened to have a dark-skinned little girl with her, too (around us, that's not something you see every day.) Naturally, my mom and this woman talked, and it turns out her little girl- who is now 15 months- was adopted from the Caribbean. My mom invited her to join her Ethiopia playgroup and she obliged, so hopefully we'll be able to expand the circle this way.
For now, it seems like we have a nice set of resources to maintain Ethiopian culture and identity, but of course, we'd like to strengthen our ties to Sasha's birth country. My question now is: for any readers who have adopted from Ethiopia- or for any other country, for that matter- do you have any suggestions/recommendations on how to keep your child's roots prevalent in your everyday life? This is very important to us, so we're happy to hear anything!