ethiopië 039This time next week, I’ll be in Ethiopia with my daughter. My Ethiopian daughter. She is six years old, and four of those have been with us. Four years which have been wonderful and rough all at the same time.

Before she was with us, we already spoke about returning to her birth country. Later. When she would be a teenager, in search of her identity. It would be a roots trip for her.

It turns out that six-year-old adoptees have glaring roots questions too. One day, she came up to us, plumped down on the couch and sighed dramatically.

I don’t know who I am!

I explained to her that she is the daughter of two mommies. One in Belgium, one in Ethiopia. She loves to hear that.

But not this time.

No, I mean…how do I know where I fit in the whole wide world?

I honestly told her that’s a difficult question. I don’t even know how to answer that one for myself.

She was devastated and sighed with even more drama. She’s good at that.

If it’s difficult for you, how am I supposed to find the answer then? You know where you come from. How am I supposed to know where I’m going if I don’t know where I come from?!

These kind of conversations led us to decide to take a roots trip with her now, instead of waiting for her to reach puberty. Moreover, we’ll keep on returning every few years, to keep her in touch with her roots. We know from fellow travelers that Ethiopia is addictive anyway.

Ever since we booked the trip, she has found a kind of peace. Returning to her country really means a lot to this little girl.

Of course, returning won’t all be magical, as she imagines it. No doubt, she will experience a culture shock, just like we did the first time we visited.

We try to prepare her for the poverty she will witness. The poverty she and her family were in, as she knows. It will be hard for her.

But Ethiopia is far more than poverty. To me, it’s the most beautiful and safe African country, with the kindest of people and of course, the best coffee. We’ll visit wild life centres, hike in the mountains and have injerra, the traditional dish, as our Christmas dinner.

I can’t wait to discover Ethiopia again through my daughter’s eyes.

How do you deal with identity questions from your little and big ones? Do they know struggles as well?


This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K @ The Penguin and The Panther.

The picture in this post is credited to the author.


If you ask her about her daytime job, Katinka will tell you all about the challenge of studying the fate of radioactive substances in the deep subsurface. Her most demanding and rewarding job however is raising four kids together with five other parents, each with their own quirks, wishes and (dis)abilities. As parenting and especially co-parenting involves a lot of letting go, she finds herself singing the theme song to Frozen over and over again, even when the kids are not even there...

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