Monday, March 23, 2015

Where did she go?

If you have been wondering where I have been the past little while... it's down an internet rabbit hole labeled, "Harry Potter Birthday Party" planning.  (Oh, so. much. fun!)

What did mothers do before google?! (My parents turned the sprinkler on in the back yard and then served cake, handed out paper bags with candy and stickers and... Done. Thank you, 80's childhood.)

Now, thanks to the inter webs, creative obsessive party planners like me can spend hours looking up the perfect table decor for their themed events.  Oh, did I have a blog to write? Oh no, recipes for "potions" are so much more fun!

In all seriousness, though. I am planning to throw the kids a Harry Potter themed birthday party for them when they turn 9 and 5 next month. (gulp! wait, what? NINE? He was 5 1/2, like, yesterday.) AS PER THEIR REQUEST.

My original plan was a "Silly Party." Since they are both silly and all I needed was some silly hats and a few balloons for the "theme". After lengthy discussions (Lily wanted Frozen, Daniel absolutely refused), we settled on Harry.

Funny thing is... I'm certain none of Lily's Pre-K friends have delved into the Dark Arts, and I'm pretty sure none of Daniel's friends know the difference between a Muggle and Half-Blood either. (And if you have no idea what this paragraph means, then you have some reading to do! I'll wait here. Book One is only a few hundred pages.)

So, two children will recognize the owl I'm going to sharpie onto a bunch of white balloons, and perhaps not wonder why they are being asked to play "Quidditch" on our ping pong table... and everyone else will just stuff their faces full of chocolate frogs and put their hands out for their goodie bags.

And because I'm a sucker good mom, I'm also making an Elsa cake for Lily's birthday. Kind of like this one, only blue and with an Elsa doll stuck in it. Clearly I do not remember how stressful making a princess cake is. Good thing I have a blog to make a liar out of me remind me of my past joys.

So in case you were wondering where I've been... I've been dissapparated into the Pinterest World of Harry Potter.

Come join me! It's awesome!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Trading Places?

Three brothers. Which one was adopted to America?

Recently I participated in a Facebook conversation with other adoptive parents about whether or not to send or bring presents to Ethiopian birth family. That issue is soooooo complicated (Read about what we gave our Ethiopian family when we visited and why here.)... and it got me thinking...

Would our Ethiopian family trade places with us?


Well, what do think? The answer appears to be obvious at first. Of course they would come live in America! We have running water! Electricity! Medicine! Free (good) Education! Open Democracy! (debatable, sometimes, but still) Social Safety Net! Facebook!

Certainly our rural Ethiopian family would certainly jump at the chance for food security and an indoor water source. They live a hard life, even by "Third World" standards. But.


Would they give up the Ethiopian quiet sunsets, unmarred by billboards, bright lights and the lure of screens, beeping phones and endless email chimes?

Would they exchange the rainy season's annual road wash outs for snow shoveling and freezing temps?

Would they want to give up "13 Months of Sunshine?"  (Seriously, the weather in Ethiopia is gorgeous almost all year.)

Would they want to live in a country with institutionalized racism and police harassment?

Would they want to exchange their worries about safe drinking water for their child's safety from online predators?

Maybe, maybe not.  I often think our family in Ethiopia. I think of how different their life is from ours. And not all of the differences mean that our American life is better...

Daniel has asked several times whether his Ethiopian family can come and live with us. And I've told him, honestly, that although I know for sure they would want us all to be together, our family might not want to give up their little farm in Ethiopia.  They have their struggles, to be sure. But they have their land, and each other, and they are happy.

The longer that I live inside this complicated American-Ethiopian adopted community, the more my preconceptions about poverty and about opportunity have been changed. It's easy to think, "oh those poor Africans, they have it so hard." It is more honest and challenging to ponder: what about their life do I actually envy? And, what parts of my life would make them say, "Oh those poor Americans, they have it so hard."