Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Ghana?

So the most popular and obvious question people have about our adoption plans is why Ghana? I'm going to skip over all of the why not domestic US and/or foster care questions and just try to explain how we decided to travel to Africa to find our daughter.

Honestly, we've been considering adoption for a long time. It's been at least two years since the idea began tickling our imaginations. I started reading every adoption blog I could find and seemed to hover around families with adopted children, trying to glean the essence of their success. It just so happens that on my former block, three different families included internationally adopted children. None of these were from Ghana though. In fact, I didn't even know Ghana allowed international adoptions until recently.

Once we made the decision to adopt internationally (which basically happened after our brief flirtation with a Haitian adoption), we had to choose a country. Initially we looked at countries where they spoke Spanish and where there was an African presence. You know, we were looking for another Kinky/Gazpacho baby to join our tribe. We investigated the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba (Yeah Right!), and even Brazil, but found too many obstacles in the way. After that, we turned towards Africa and considered Ethiopia and Rwanda and to be perfectly honest, I nixed those two countries for the simple reason that I HATE to fly. I panic on airplanes. It takes me weeks to psych myself up to get on an airplane. Now I love to travel so I do what it takes, but knowing that I would be responsible for taking my daughter back to her home country so she can stay in touch with her culture made me so 'no way.' (I think the flight to Ethiopia is like a billion hours long. From Atlanta Ghana is a mere eight hours) I'd be like, 'mommy bought you a nice book about Ethiopia,' and hope she wouldn't hate me. Knowing I couldn't commit to keeping a connection to her home country made me say no.

So then we found out Ghana was an option and it was like a light bulb went off. Looking around my house, I realized how many beautiful statues and art from Ghana we have on display. We have a close friend from Ghana. And I've been dreaming about going to this writer's festival in Ghana. I started reading everything I could about Ghana and fell in love with the pictures of Ghanaian children (many who looked like me!!). And, while I don't know if my ancestors came from Ghana, there is a strong possibility that they did, which makes me feel connected to the culture and to my new daughter. And hopefully she will feel that connection to me and my family. We still have a lot to learn about Ghanaian culture but that's the exciting part. And that's probably why international adoption also appealed to our family. We love learning about different cultures and traditions. This adoption gives us reason and cause to dive deep into a new, yet familiar place.

And what about el esposo? How does he feel about adopting an African child? Surely his daughter won't look like him. And when he walks down the street with her, people will know she is adopted...or something like that. I asked him about that before we made this momentous decision. "Will you be okay having a Black child?" And he looked at me like I was crazy. "Have you looked at your older son recently?" he said. Oh right. Whenever el esposo is out with just my older son, even though I think they look very much alike, many people just see a White guy holding a little Black child's hand. He's been asked if his son was adopted. He's been stared at and questioned. In a nutshell he's used to it already. "It won't be anything new for me," he said. "She will be another beautiful child to love."

I am happy to report that el esposo is just as excited as I am..although he doesn't get all emotional about it like I do. And the kids? Totally excited about having a little sister, who currently is known as "baby sister." Apparently the little one informed his entire kindergarten class yesterday that the mail man was delivering his baby sister from Africa any day now. I'm happy they know so many kids who are adopted from other countries because it has normalized the experience for them.

So there you have it. I'm sure I've left things out, but since this entire process will probably take several long months, we have time to talk some more.

Thanks for all of your well-wishes and support.



Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

This is so exciting!! I'm very happy for you and your family! My family is from Thailand and my parents adopted two of my cousins to bring them to the US to give them a better life and education. While I'm their only biological child, I view my cousins as my brother and sister and our love flows much deeper than words. I'll be looking forward to hearing how this adventure turns out for you and I wish your family all the best!

Miss Footloose said...

Very exciting, isn't it? I've lived in Ghana for a number of years and it's a nice country with cheerful people. One of my children was born there (the only white one in the clinic).

We also have an adopted son who is black, but adoption is getting more common and we haven't experienced anything negative about it from other people.

glamah16 said...

What you are doing is beautiful.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I can't tell you how many African guys here ask me if I'm from Ghana.

I know what you mean about that connection. I would like to trace my family's roots. Maybe we're from there.

I'm so excited for you and your family. I hope the adoption process goes smoothly and Baby Sister will be home soon.

Eileen Flanagan said...

Wow, am I out of the loop?! How exciting! Good luck.

LT said...

Thank you! And I'll def. keep posting updates on The Meltingpot

Miss Footloose,
Do tell. Share, share, share.

Glamah Girl,
aww. Thank you. I think so too.

Interesting huh? Depending where I am, I've been asked if I'm from Ethiopia, India, and yes, Ghana. I thought the India thing was the weirdest.

No. Just wasn't blabbing about it, as I usually do.

Carleen Brice said...

Congratulations on this next stage of the journey! I'm so curious about this process. I'll be eagerly reading.

SweetKinks said...

do you know how loud I screamed while reading this?

I am from Ghana!!!!
I was born in Vienna, Austria, however my mom and dad are from Ghana and I was raised in Accra, Ghana by mom Grandma and uncle. My mom is half white and half Ghanaian but she has always been familiar and comfortable with her African side. When I was little I thought she was white, and when I got older and found out there where Hispanic people, she looked a lot like them, now she just looks like my mom.[I kind of think that is a big reason why I am so comfortable with the Latin and Spanish communities, now that I think about it.] Plus she is ALWAYS spoken Spanish to, even though she knows of no words in spanish.

You do not know how excited I am.
I have to tell everybody now.
I am serious about that.
[I have already told my English teacher about you.]

Do you know of the half Spaniard half Ghanaian man who is like a humanitarian? I have tried so hard to look for him and now I feel like he was part of an old dream. I will keep looking though.

LT said...

Call me any time.

How cool is that!! I keep finding out how many connections to Ghana I already have. I love it. Feel free to share!

Rose-Anne Clermont said...

So excited for you and your family, LT! You and I have discussed this many times and it seems like this was in the cards for a long time. . .it makes sense for so many reasons.

SweetKinks said...