The other day someone very respectfully asked (I'm paraphrasing) "What about Cambodia and Vietnam?" It's a really good question. My blog is titled Banku (Ghanaian), Pho (Vietnamese) and Fried Spiders (Cambodian)!
The simple answer is, the blog is about my daily life, and Ghana plays a huge role in my daily life at this season in my life. The fact that I talk about Ghana so much doesn't at all indicate a lesser love for Cambodia or Vietnam (although I think if I was an outsider reading this blog I would probably assume that to be the case). Twelve years ago ALL I talked about was Cambodia, because we were adopting from Cambodia and I was hoping to help other families adopting from Cambodia. 9-11 years ago ALL I talked about was Vietnam, because we were adopting from Vietnam, and then I assisted others to adopt from Vietnam. In 2003 the Lord shut the door to my adoption work in SE Asia and He hasn't yet decided to open that door again. Believe me, I PRAY that door will be opened again!
Cambodia closed 12 years ago and not a month goes by that I don't wonder when Cambodia's adoption procedures will finally be good enough for America to re-open the country. The Khmer people are so very incredible. I wish I wasn't such a new international traveler at the time we adopted Taevy. I wish we weren't having to be so "quiet" about our adoption travel--basically staying in the hotel most of the time. I wish we would have been brave enough to stay 3 weeks and get off the beaten path. As it was, we were in Cambodia for a week, and we thought that going to the big tourist market in the middle of town was BIG STUFF! The memories I have are so good. Cambodia is like a rainbow shining through a thunder cloud (to me). If ever given a chance at some point in my future I would love to in some way work for Cambodia's orphaned and vulnerable children in some formal way.
Vietnam closed to international adoption several years ago. Last I heard, it could open up again in the next few years. Of "our" 3 countries, we didn't choose Vietnam--Vietnam sort of chose us. We saw our son there, so we went there. Our travel time was a bit traumatic for me, so for different reasons that Cambodia, I wish I could go back and experience the country again. We were in Vietnam for over 3 weeks, but the 3 weeks were full of corruption and worry and a sick baby and missing my other baby that was in America waiting for me. I was a new adoption coordinator that was traveling for my own baby at the same time I was hosting other families. I was a total stress ball--not able to enjoy my own adoption trip because I was worried about their experiences. And the worst of it was that there WAS corruption going on (with the U.S. Embassy). It was sickening. I didn't know if I was going to come home with my baby, or live with him there, or....or....I didn't now. Because of all of these things I have a sour taste in my mouth for a country that I know is beautiful and amazing.
I'm droning on. Ghana is a huge part of my life. I have had the privilege to spend more than 8 months of my life in Ghana (I added it up!). I KNOW this country unlike any other (except my own). For this reason I think it's natural that I am going to write about it more. My work is with Ghana every day. And (excluding this most recent trip) my work pays for my ticket for me to go to Ghana. As much as I would like to go back and really get to know Cambodia and Vietnam, my work isn't providing me a way to get there! Maybe someday! =-)
Even though the blog is a representation of my life, it's a bit of a shadow puppet. My children know I value each of their countries. My children's countries are all represented in our home decor and in our books and resources. I speak to each of them about the beauty of where they come from, and my hope to return with them to their first home. I sometimes feel sad that Cambodia and Vietnam aren't more a part of my daily life. I wish it were different. And in a perfect world I would make a change and I would MAKE them more a part of my life. But I'm not perfect. I'm just a mom with too much to do and not enough time to do it. For now, there is imbalance and Ghana gets more attention. Ten years from now, who knows? My life might be filled daily with stories of Cambodia, or Suriname!
P.S. Thanks Carrie T. for asking!