Monday, July 16, 2012

We are with Our People

When we arrived at Ethiopian Culture Camp, Maddy gave her brothers a gentle reminder.  "Don't be too crazy."

Mikias reassured her, "You don't need to worry about us this weekend.  We are with our people."

Their people.  They work hard all year to fit in.  They know that they stand out.  They may be the only black child in their class.  Sometimes they are pointed out as 'the kid who was adopted from Ethiopia'.  Most of them do not match the people who's last names they share.  When many people hear the name of their country they envision the starving people they once saw on television.  People think they are lucky because they have new families and live in the land of plenty.  It is not always understood that their "luck" came on the heels of incredible loss.

They became Americans.  They will always be Ethiopians.  Ethiopian Culture Camp is about celebrating Ethiopia's rich culture and history.  Ethiopian music is blasted and danced to in the traditional Ethiopian way.  Ethiopian food is devoured.  The flag of Ethiopia flies.  Ethiopian clothing is worn with pride.  Classes are offered, hair braiding, art projects, Amharic 101.

For Mikias and Jemberu Ethiopian Culture Camp is the best weekend of the year.  They don't care about learning Amharic, they don't want to spend time doing art projects and their hair is too short for braids.  They have outgrown their Ethiopian clothes and don't really care about that either. They want one thing and they get it.  Their Ethiopian friends.  They spend every waking moment of the weekend with kids that look like them, with families that look like theirs.    They smile and laugh all weekend as they eat meals together, play tag, play soccer, swim, arm wrestle, dance, hang out with the older Ethiopian kids and dote on the younger ones.  Pig piles are perfected.  Pinkie swears are made with friends to be 'brothers' for life.  They don't talk about adoption issues or anything else really.  They are boys. Talking is for parents.

For one whole weekend, they are with their people.


  1. so wonderful. we are in between trip to Ethiopia this summer (waiting for Embassy now) and the timing/cost wasn't great for us. Can't wait to join you, our people next year with all our little Habeshas.

  2. I can't wait for next year already! I can't wait to see you with all 6 (I am in awe) of your kids! Hope your wait to bring your daughters home is short.


  3. Alison,
    Wonderful post. Great to see how much they enjoy their time together with kids just like them. My first thought was, they will make friends for life and who knows, some of them may get together and help their people/Ethiopians in a very mining full way. God works in mysterious ways.

  4. Once again you amaze me with your words. So well said! You guys are all amazing people and a great family.

  5. Your blog is brand new to me and I have spent many a late night reading all of your back posts. I adore your pragmatic and personal take on adoption and love your humor and candor. Your family is gorgeous, every last one of you. So I just wanted to say hello, and thank you. Thank you for sharing these personal stories and thank you for putting yourself out there. I for one am extremely grateful.

    I'd also love to see a post covering any pointers or tips you might have for financing international adoption. You seem like you, of all people, would be in the know about such things.

    1. Angela, you (and Cassie) always encourage me. Thank you.


  6. Leah Jane, Thank you so much for taking the time to write me a note to say hello. It really encourages me.