When I was growing up, we would talk about relatives who came from “the old country.” I have often tried to picture what it may have been like for them to leave behind the country of their birth and come to the U.S. to start a new life.
Once familiar sounds, smells and sites become memories. Saying goodbye to friends and family, you might never see again. Having very little, if anything, that once was yours–clothing, furniture, mementos, treasured belongings. For adults, abandoning a job, your livelihood.
We talk about the U.S. as being the land of opportunity, and for many who left their homeland to start anew, this may have been true. But when I try to imagine undertaking a life-changing journey such as this, the feelings that come up for me are sadness, fear, loss.
Our daughter was 11-months-old when she left everything and everyone she ever knew. Her blue tights, festooned with pictures of buttons, were the only thing she took from the orphanage, her home for the first year of her life. But even though she was just a baby, I am certain her tiny brain held memories of nannies who answered her cries, the lilt of the first language she ever heard, the feel of the crib where she spent most of her days.
Then, on April 8, she left it all. Sixteen hours, two planes and 36 hours of travel later, there she was, the newest citizen in her new world. It was Easter Sunday when we landed and drove to our home. For one little girl, it was the journey of a lifetime.
From an orphanage bed to a tiny cot on an airplane….
…to her own crib in her own room.
It’s all about the journey,