I’ve been reading and interesting book, The World of Girls and Boys in Rural and Urban Ethiopia by Eva Poluha.
When you adopt a child from a different culture than yours specially if she’s an older child, it is important to know how much of her behavior has to do with his personality, how much with the abandonment/adoption trauma, and how much with her life and cultural patterns learned in his native country.
There are many things I came to know about Ethiopia through the eyes of my older daughter. Things that are closely related to the culture of that country.
Children in Ethiopia behave differently because adults expect certain things from them. They are taught to act in ways that differ from what we expect in America or in Europe.
How can we understand their behavior if we don’t have a clear idea of what are their roles in Ethiopian society?
This book is a small window into that culture, and I say small because it’s impossible to carry a completely accurate research without in some way modifying the results by you mere presence.
However, this field investigation provides, through interviews with Ethiopian children of rural and urban areas, an idea of how they live, play, study, and even work.
Are girls treated different than boys? What’s their role at home? Are they allowed to study?, etc.
As you may already know, life can be very hard in Ethiopia and if you belong to certain groups it can be even harder. Women, old and sick people, and children suffer many times what healthy men normally have to endure. Probably girls are the more vulnerable ones to life injustices.
I have learned many things about Ethiopian society through the memories my daughter has of her life there and now I have a deeper understanding of that country. It’s said that children are like hawks, eyes wide open, soaking everything in, not missing a minute of what goes around them. And they retell what they have seen in a candid, unpolluted way.
If children are the future of a society, how does the future looks like for Ethiopia? How are Ethiopian children treated and educated to rule their nation?
I read recently a report about violence against children in Ethiopia, and I think that every adoptive parent of an Ethiopian child should read it. Fortunately children are very resilient.
I’m writing this not to scare anyone of adopting an older child, or any child for that matter, but only to be aware of what your child might have suffered before arriving to your home. Most children rarely acknowledge that they have been abused or mistreated, at least not at first, but we must keep our eyes and mind open when raising an adopted child.
This book is a good start.
There are many reports you can check online too.
And if you haven’t adopted yet and are considering adopting an Ethiopian child, you certainly must do your research beforehand.
Violence Against Children in Ethiopia: In Their Words Save the Children Sweden
The Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic in Addis Ababa
The Bamboo Project Resilience in Children Exposed to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation in Merkato, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Violence against Ethiopian Children with Disabilities The Stories and Perspectives of Children By Marieke Boersma