For those of us with children whose roots stretch across the globe or who are strongly identified with more than one area of the country/state find ourselves on an important lifelong quest to find ways to honor and acknowledge their complex histories and geographical origins. I saw these customizable map posters today on Zulily and was so charmed by them because they seem like a lovely way to validate and make visible our childrens' complex identities and their need for a sense of rootedness. They are maps of continents, states, countries or the entire world - And include heart stickers that can be placed in the areas where your child or family's roots lie. On the bottom they read "My Roots Lie Here." I also happen to adore Children Inspire Design, and we already have several of their prints (such as their beautiful Spanish counting cards) up in our toddler's bedroom!
I imagined how these customized posters might take shape for the multiethnic or internationally adopted children in my life. Some examples I was thinking of:
- Friends of mine have an internationally adopted child from Ethiopia and one from Korea. I imagined they might put the heart stickers on an international map, representing their childrens' countries / cities of origin as well as the states in which the parents were born and perhaps also their whole family's current home in New Jersey. As a Jewish family with deep connections to Israel they might also put a heart on the city of Jerusalem.
- I have friends whose foster-adopted daughter made several moves throughout Minnesota before joining their family. This child's state poster of Minnesota might have hearts in all of the counties where they spent a significant amount of time and felt connected and loved. Or perhaps the child would choose to put it only on their adoptive home, where they feel like part of a family and are experiencing unconditional love for the first time.
- My cousin's father is from New York and his mother is from Nicaragua. They live in California. His "roots" map might show his connections to both the U.S. and Nicaragua.
- My older foster son is extremely connected to the city he was raised in and where his mother resides. Even if we adopt him, if we were to put up a state map he might choose to put his "heart" on that city.