I have pondered lately the sense of identity, the sense of self I feel as a part of the spaces I inhabit. I grew up in Idaho. Although I've traveled, I have always come back to Idaho. Somehow I see myself as a part of the wheatfields, rooted, planted. Not native perhaps as generations ago the "me" part of the population lived in Britain, but flourishing here. Rooted here. The wide rolling hills and seasonal rotation of crops are as much a part of me as my own circulating blood.
We're adopting a little girl from Africa, a child who will shortly be uprooted and transplanted. Our ethics for doing so seem altruistic enough to override the cultural and deep-rooted loss she will experience from losing her sense of place, of belonging. For our part, we will gain a daughter, a missing family member who has been in my heart since I was a small child. She will gain a family a world away. Family. Belonging. Shelter. Yet how will the graft take? How will she flourish in chilly Idaho, away from her African sun, her African rains?
Someday may she go back. My dream for her would be to go back to help her people. To take whatever meager resources we have been able to bestow upon her and to go back to her country. I don't know if this will be so. A child's dreams belong to that child and a parent's dreams do not. But can she in some part of her American soul still belong to Africa? I hope so.