Monday, August 23, 2010

Ethiopian Music

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier....George loves music. In fact, in Ethiopia, the only noise he made (besides screaming and crying) was to sing a cute song over and over again. I remembered that in his medical records, the doctor noted that he was singing during his exam.

These days, George can often be found in the garage with his bike and the radio on, tuned into Christian music. He loves it. He sings along to all the songs, even though he still doesn't quite get the words all the time. I like to think that God hears these praise songs and doesn't care that the words are not quite right. I tell George that and he smiles.

The other day I was reading a post on a web-board about older Ethiopian children who have been adopted. One thing a mom wrote was how her girls love to watch videos of Ethiopian artists. Really? Youtube has everything!

Saturday night, the kids were all settling down and George asked if he could see some pictures of a good friend - who is being picked up in Addis today, I might add!! - and that sparked the memory of trying to find some videos. We searched "traditional Ethiopian music" and presto - thousands of videos!

We spent quite a bit of time going over the videos. We eventually honed in on gospel music and George would cry out, "I know this one!"

He would smile and clap along. Joe and I loved watching the Ethiopian men and women praise God.

Then, a single tear fell down George's face.

We hugged him and asked him if he was OK. He replied, "I miss Ethiopia."

We have come full circle. When we first brought George home and I encouraged him to look at books, puzzles and other things from Ethiopia, he would throw them across the room and scream, "NO!" If we would talk about Ethiopia, he would cover his ears and walk away. After a few months, he began to talk about his home land, and it was always bad stuff - there is no food in Ethiopia, there are no shoes in Ethiopia, people die in Ethiopia.

As adoptive parents, we were not sure how to handle this. We didn't want George to lose his heritage, after all, we fell in love with Ethiopia while we were there. But, we just didn't feel it was right to push it on him. With great relief, I can see George turning back around and seeing the beauty of his home land and his people.

This brings up a larger issue that I naively didn't spend much time thinking about before the adoption; how do we encourage a love for Ethiopia while also making George feel he belongs here? It is a tight-rope walk, I am starting to believe. He remembers so much about Ethiopia - when he sees these videos he shouts out that he recognizes the land, or that person looks like his mom. This is not a child who will have to be taught what Ethiopia is like; he lived it for many years. Naturally, those memories will fade and it is our job to keep him in touch with those.

While we were watching the video George asked us, "Can we bring a baby girl home? There are baby girls who need a momma and a family."

Oh, how our hearts long to do this...I just don't see how.


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