We get asked a lot why we have chosen to adopt from Africa and not from Canada. I think this is a valid question. There isn’t one easy answer to this question. I wish there was. I will often answer with ‘we are too young, or too poor, or too financially unstable.’ This will often satisfy. But the truth is, we might not make the mark for a newborn, but we would for a child from the ministry. So why not? Here’s the truth, in all it’s messiness. It’s a combination of fear and passion.
The fear part. Adopting a child with no known history, malnutrition and possible institutionalization doesn’t scare me. It probably should, but it doesn’t. Call it my strength or stupidity. Adopting a child from Canada that has a history that is going to be mostly emotional damage or FAS scares the shit out of me. I honour all those parents, foster or otherwise who are loving these children. Parenting them, adopting them, helping to heal them. I think it is a remarkable feat. Maybe I just don’t have the right combination of skill and passion to adopt this way. Maybe I do, but the fear is in the way. I do know that I have the skills and passion for African adoption.
I am passionate about Africa. The first time I landed in Ghana, I had a profound feeling of having come home. Being the child of immigrant parents, I have often felt unsettled. Homeless, in an emotional sense. I feel a sense of homecoming when I hit African soil. You could dismiss this is a romantic notion and an idealistic view. I used to. But I love Africa in a deeper way now that I personally know the darkness, the chaos, the sheer, head smacking incongruity. The romance is gone, but there is still a connection. A deep love in the fibers of my being. Because of my experiences in Africa, this is tempered with fear, wariness and frustration. I have tried to walk away from my love of Africa. I can’t. It haunts me in my dreams. I see it all day in my children. I can no more stop loving Africa, than I could stop loving my children.