In the two months since we received our application approval, my husband Barry and I have explored the culture of our future baby’s homeland. Before we committed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, we learned many devastating and heartbreaking things. So we changed our focus to the things that we are passionate about. We want to be able to share positive aspects of Africa with our daughter as she grows up. We also want to share the culture with our family and friends.
The most obvious characteristic of Africa that stands out to me is the beauty of the African Sky. Sunrise to sunset! Every photo I’ve viewed of the land touches my heart. Absolutely beautiful! The morning sun lights the sky with oranges, reds, and yellows. By afternoon the baby blue, cloudless sky provides a beautiful cool contrast to the warm trees, animals, and grasses underneath. As the sun sets, the scattered purples and blues embrace the approaching shadows. This variance of colors inspires me.
I am passionate about painting. Last week I painted, using watercolors, a simple landscape which I named “African Sun.” The first of many paintings I hope to create of the African Skies. Art is important to me. I plan to share my artwork of Africa with my daughter. As she gets older, I’ll encourage her to also express her interpretation of Africa through art.
Another part of Africa I adore is the African animals of the wild. Elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, zebras, and more. Beautiful creatures only seen in the United States at the zoo. A friend of mine went to visit Kenya a few months ago. When she heard we are adopting from Africa, she brought me several photos she took on a safari. Amazing! It made me want to travel to Africa to see the animals (and the sky!) first hand. Unfortunately, we are unable to meet our baby in Congo, and we won’t see her homeland just yet.
Another part of Africa I desire to learn and share with our daughter is the food. Every culture offers unique seasonings, herbs, vegetables, recipes, and techniques. My husband loves to cook. He also loves to learn about other cultures and their food. We want to learn about African cuisine and share this with our daughter.
Nature, landscapes, animals, and food. These are the things about Africa that we hope to enrich our lives with. I see why celebrating our child’s cultural heritage is important, but I also believe in balance. Our baby will become an American citizen. Our baby will grow up in the United States of America. I want my daughter to feel at home in the United States and learn the American culture. Balancing my baby’s ancestor’s culture and her new culture will take strength and patience. She will be given the opportunity, as she grows older, to explore her own interests. If she desires to go to Africa for a visit, if she wants to meet others who have lived there, or if she wants to independently research Congo, I will be beside her every step of the way.
In the meantime, I’ll paint her culture, and cook African food. This will strengthen my knowledge and give me something about African culture to share with her.