We get many questions about our own kids and how they feel about living in Ethiopia. There were a few things that we did as a family before moving that made the transition a little easier.
For one, we already homeschooled so that was an easy thing to just keep doing. We love homeschooling and I really would not trade it for anything. I love that we get to be together as a family. I love that my kids are really friends and enjoy being together. I also love being involved in what they are learning and being able to add in extra classes like art and music that each of them loves.
Don’t get me wrong though, it is a lot of work and we don’t always love being together but most of the time it is really great.
Another thing, is that we have always loved to travel together as a family. We were always up for a last minute drive to the beach and just figuring it out along the way. We love to camp and hike and swim and be outdoors together. Moving to Ethiopia has stretched us in the “roughing it department” but it is also something we have learned how to do together. Our kids know how to conserve water, use a pit toilet, kill a chicken for dinner, and take a bucket shower.
A third thing is that we have wanted our project to be something that our kids own for themselves also. We want them to know that they are an important part of the team and that we are all in this together. Having them our kids with us has helped in so many ways. When we have cared for orphaned children in our home, our children have made them feel so much more comfortable. They have played with kids and truly made them feel loved.
There are times when I worry that they are missing out on a “normal” American life and really, they are, but I have come to realize that is not a bad thing. They have had so many adventures, learned how to play with kids that do not speak their language, learned to be sensitive to different cultures and religions. They have friends from all over the world and are not afraid to make new friends where ever we go. They know what it is like to have a friend who is HIV positive, they know what it is like to play with a boy from Sudan who had to flee his country because it is not safe, they know what is like to watch a little girl who is just barely hanging on get so much better from love and attention.
But today was a day to remember for me. We are at the end of a little break from our tour and we have been greatly enjoying the beach. While we were swimming in the warm ocean water and riding the waves I said jokingly, “maybe we should just move here and that way we could stay and not ever have to leave the beach” the kids looked at me like I was crazy and said “ and leave Ethiopia?, No way!
And that right there was all I needed to hear. That they are doing just fine, and not only fine but really love where we are and what we do. And that makes the mom in me so very happy.