Within minutes of our arrival, we were invited to share some wedding cake by a lovely Peruvian-American bride and her new husband. An adoptee, she had come from the states to return to her native country for one of the most important events of her life. Surrounded by her adoptive family, embraced by the lush peaks of the Andean cloud forest, her life was completing a circle.
I was struck by the serendipity of this intersection between my own family life—we were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary— and this beautiful bride’s. It presented in a very powerful way, how important it is for adoptive families to honor the ethnic origins of our internationally adopted children. Clearly, she treasured her cultural origins—she’d come nearly 4,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Peru. Equally obvious, was the commitment her family made to honor this heritage and blend the pieces of her life history. Like the exquisitely-woven tapestries for which Peru is famous, the threads of her two worlds were braided into a design uniquely hers.
Many families might not be able to travel physically to the far flung places from which a child may have been adopted. But, all of us can connect and honor those cultural roots in a way that demonstrates emphatically that they have value and meaning for every member of the family.
The wedding cake was beautiful and tasty, but even sweeter was the commitment to a child that celebrated her heritage, and integrated it with respect.