Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adinkra Symbols for My Family

I actually had a dream about this last night. I looked at Adinkra symbols before bed and I guess they got "stuck" in the 'ol brain for sleeping. In my dream it was very important that I choose the right Adinkra symbol to represent each member of our family. The symbol given was a great honor to the person. The symbol was to be a reminder to them of their true nature--what they have been through and where they are going. When I woke up I couldn't remember the specific symbols that I had chosen in my dream, but there are the symbols I choose for my family in my waking hours:

ERIC: "Wawa Aba." This symbol represents "hardiness, toughness, and perserverence." It is a representation of the seed of a Wawa tree, and is supposed to inspire the individual to perservere through hardship.

My husband is the most perservering person I've ever met. His issues with diabetes have never stopped him from living his life to the fullest. He asked me on our first date the week after he lost vision due to retinal attachment. He was totally blind 3 of the first 6 months we were together. Her perservered, and through surgery a bit of vision was given back to him. When we found that we were infertile there was no thought in his mind (or mind) of going through extraordinary measures. The goal was to become parents, and we could do that through adoption. Nuff said. When his kidneys began to fail over 7 years ago he didn't let that scare him from living his life. We adopted Samren instead. When, during Bright's adoption he had to go on dialysis, it wasn't a thought in his mind to give up on Bright because it would be easier on him. It is the same with Kendi. Eric never lets his challenges get him down. He has bad moments, but very rarely bad days. God gave him these challenges for a reason, and he's not going to feel sorry for himself--end of story. He works very hard to teach these same lessons to our children. "Hardiness, toughness, perserverence..." Yes, these describe my husband.

MYSELF: It's hard to choose for yourself, but I chose "Boa Me Na Me Mmoa Wo." "Help me and let me help you." It is the symbol of cooperation and interdependance. So much of my life is described by "Help me and let me help you." With my marriage, I must help by doing things that aren't typical of the wife, but my husband assists in different ways that cause me to depend on him as much as he depends on me! In my life as mom, my goal is to help my children become good Christians and good citizens of our world. But they must allow my assistence in order to learn. In my work, there is a constant forwards and backwards pulling motion because of all the factors that go into completing an internatiion adoptions. I help parents. They help me. I help our staff in Ghana, and they help our families in America. The balance of relationship is neverending with my work. "Help me, and let me help you."

TAEVY: For Taevy my choice would be "Odo Nnyew Fie Kwan." "Love never loses its way home." It represents the power of love. For Taevy, learning to love has not come naturally. She has to work for every inch she makes towards secure attachment. She fights to love us, pushing back the inward voice that's telling her it's not safe to love. Love is finding it's way home--in her heart. She will continue to fight until love is securely in her heart and her mind and her soul. She will fight until it no longer has to be a conscious battle to allow herself to be loved. For Taevy, "Love is a Battlefield" and she's going to win the war! We will never allow love to lose it's way home, to Taevy's heart.


SAMREN: "Nyame Dua." This "Tree of God" is a symbol of God's presence and protection. It's obvious with all of our children that God's hand was on their lives, but with Samren's story it seems even more present. We were not "supposed" to be adopting a child when we adopted Samren. Samren was "supposed" to be referred to a different man. Samren's adoption from the day we said we would adopt him until the day he was in our arms was 2 days shy of 2 months. TWO MONTHS. God's hand was all over Samren. He knew that Samren needed to be home sooner rather than later. He knew that Samren had a very serious gastrointestinal disease (autoimmune enteropathy). He knew that Samren wouldn't have been able to get the care he needed in Vietnam. God's protection and presence were all over Samren. We found the "right" doctor at the "right" time to help him feel better. But at the MOST right time the Lord intervened and completely healed Samren. Completely and thoroughly and everlastinng! Samren went from a little boy on a G-tube that could only eat pre-digested formula, who was taking the same sorts of drugs that HIV/AIDS patients take and wearing a mask outside of the house...to a little boy completely free of all drugs and interventions--in one day. God's protection and presence.

BRIGHT: "Nyame Nti. By God's Grace. This stalk is depicted as the staff of life in many cultures. It symbolizes to the Akan that food is a basis of life and that they could not survive if not for the food that God has placed here on Earth for their nourishment. " At the time when Bright needed it most, the Lord provided him with nourishment. By God's grace, Bright survived severe Marasmus and Kwashiorkor malnourishment. By God's grace, he came into the orphanage "in time." And by God's grace he receoved without intervention beyond food and drink. Because the Lord provided food for him, he has survived. By God's grace, Bright will learn to always trust in the Lord's provision of food.

KENDI: For Kendi I chose "Sesa Wo Suban" or "Transformation." Kendi's life has alread gone through a great transformation. Once she comes to join our family, the transformation will be even greater. She has gone from a child fighting to stay alive in the womb, to an infant that was unwanted by her biological mother, to a toddler who could not be cared for by her biological father, to an "orphan" in a Children's home, and finally to a beloved member of our family. She has gone from weak and developmentally delayed, to strong, and developmentally on target. Instead of becoming a child who is sick and dies of AIDS, she will be a child who is on medication that will allow her to have a long and productive life. Kendi's life has been transformed, and will continue to go through transformation in the months, years, and decades to come.

GILLISPIE FAMILY: "Eban" A symbol of love, safety and security. The home to the Akan is a special place. A home which has a fence around it is considered to be an ideal residence.The fence symbolically separates and secures the family from the outside. Because of the security and the protection that a fence affords, the symbol is also associated with the security and safety one finds in love.

7 comments:

Amy 10:16 AM  

Beautiful!

Bingaling 12:45 PM  

I love it!
You already know which Adinkra symbol is my favorite!
Chanda

Mark and Charmaine 1:22 PM  

That is so inspiring! I might have to choose some for my family too!

We are Grateful!!! 10:51 PM  

Wow, that took a lot of time. Well worth it!!! Very nice!!!
:) Tami

C and G 6:48 PM  

Oh my word I think that you have just given me the idea that I have been looking for for my first tattoo!!! LOL! I'm not kidding :)

A. Gillispie 7:43 PM  

C&G, do tell!!!!!

C and G 9:46 PM  

well, i was thinking that i would do a similar thing in that i would pick a symbol that i felt represented each of my children and have that tattooed on me - not sure where yet :)

i love the symbols though - and love the ones that you picked for your family - very special!