We are at this point of our story, where an introduction has been made by both parties and we are all trying to fit in our minds this very bizarre change in our family format. It isn’t easy (especially for the younger ones) to adapt to something like this that quickly. So during all the time we were getting things set within our home (making sure bedrooms were all set, buying appropriate clothing and basic needs) we also had to take care of things outside of or home:
- Medical checkup or treatment
- Government papers taken care of
- Buying everything they would possibly need (from clothes, to books, to a bicycle)
I have to admit (and I was told this a bit older) that we weren’t in the greatest financial situation at the time. We never had money issues but we weren’t wealthy either. Middle class would be the best description of our livelihoods. Even so, we never let anyone know about this as we always trusted God in our lives and knew he would take care of us.
What is worth mentioning though is the tremendous help and support by family, friends and even people that didn’t know us but learned our story. People would offer to give us clothes they had in excellent shape that they didn’t want, note books that included notes from classes the girls would absolutely need for their school (they didn’t speak very well English), even food! I feel an obligation to mention the name of a very close family friend that was extremely helpful throughout this whole transition process. Our friend Daniel who owns a limousine company in Columbia, SC ( limorentalcolumbia.com ) would visit us very often to help us take care of things around the house (manual work and building in the new bedrooms or moving in the new beds), he had many clothes that weren’t being used by his now grown up daughters that were in excellent shape, he even offered to help us out financially. Something we denied. Daniel has a very special place in our hearts to this day, and we always remember the kind offering of help back in the day.
The following events and stories to be talked about, are continuing the logic of the previous posts and are following the time frames in which these events took place.
Throughout the first few weeks and especially after some major strange behaviors faded away, everyone was able (including my sisters) to start meeting each other in depth – exchanging stories and life experiences. As you can probably understand, we were more interested in what they had to say, rather what we had to tell them. Their challenge was to try and understand the way of living in a western/civilized country, and our challenge was to try and train our brains and souls to not burst in flames of anger and cry, for the kind of wrong doings conducted on my sisters while in the orphanage and throughout their recent life.
I guess me and my younger brothers who were more involved with my sisters and wanted them in our daily family lives, were curious at the time of the different songs and traditions they had from Liberia. Keep in mind that I was eight at the time, and my younger brothers were six and four. So this was fun for us, and learning the negro traditional melodies really made us happy – especially when those melodies came from my sister’s voices. Below I have an example of the kind of music that was brought to our family because of the Liberian girls.
In my latest post, I mentioned basically very briefly the events that took place from the day an adoption was decided, until my father and 3 black sisters arrived at our home.
I still remember waking up from a very short after-lunch nap (honestly don’t know if I even slept by the anxiety.) I was eager to meet my new sisters and had been waiting for this time, for months. As I mentioned in my latest post, I couldn’t imagine at the time, that I would have 3 brand new black sisters being related to, for the rest of my life. I was 8 years old at the time, and my brain just couldn’t adapt to that idea. I was excited to have them, and promised myself I would love them no matter what. I just couldn’t understand the transition process of suddenly adding 3 new family members. When a new family member arrives from natural birth, you aren’t as shocked because you’ve been waiting it for 9 months, and also you see the development of the child through its mother. But when you suddenly sign up for an instant add of 3 African sisters, that can be quite scary for an 8 year old boy.
When they first stepped in the front door and into our house, someone had to break the ice. Me and my brothers (even the older ones that were playing tough) were kind of just “waiting to see what happens.” My mother, being the one to always remove awkward situations and being the problem solver that she is, cheered up instantly welcoming my 3 new sisters (and my dad.) We had prepared our dinning room table to have a nice first dinner, to get a first introduction of our selves.
Now, before I move any further with the events, I just need you to understand the kind of environment 3 orphan girls (the oldest one was abandoned by her mother) were living in an orphanage in Liberia that even got hit by rebels as a result of the civil war. I need you to imagine what hell they were living in since – as you probably have heard – Liberia and other African countries aren’t the richest. This specific orphanage was being sponsored and supported by money and volunteers from US Christian churches. Reading about these specific small philanthropic organizations later when I grew up, I instantly realized how many phony organizations exist to supposedly support children in Africa. I don’t have great respect for Unicef and similar groups because of the stories we have heard. But these small – not for profit – groups that were supporting children in orphanages by actually volunteering, well you just stair in “aw.” Even so, when you have hundreds if not a thousand or two of orphanage children, you need to distribute all the money and volunteers that are helping out, which means that every child gets a smaller piece of the pie. My sisters were dangerously skinny when we saw them.
In this article, I want to get started with the basics of the experience to be unfold for all of you wonderful people reading my blogs.
As you probably are aware of, Ansa Nest is really my personal nest in which I am able as an “artist NOT in small Africa” to share my thoughts and real life experiences of 3 adopted sisters born in Liberia. If you go over to my about page, you’ll get an idea of why I’m calling Liberia “small Africa” and my whole relation to it.