This August past marked our six year anniversary in our adopted country. Six years since we got on that plane and flew into the unknown. We had three thousand dollars in our pocket, two young children in tow and four suitcases. Zipped within its bulging frame was everything we could bring – what didn’t fit was left behind. With no job to go to in our new country and very little to go back to in our old one, we marched forward with fear and anticipation gripping our hearts.
Even though we continue to celebrate our new found happiness in this beautiful place, each anniversary also screams of what we have lost.
It has been six years since our children have seen most of their grannies and aunties and uncles. The distance and cost involved in travelling back to our homeland, or for many of our family members travelling to visit us, is beyond what most can afford.
So why, you may ask, did we make this decision. What could possibly be worth your children sitting alone each grand parent’s day at school, or missing their favourite cousin’s sixteenth birthday. What could justify a life of solitude removed from those you hold so near and dear. And, I suppose the final question – in hind sight, was it worth it.
The reasons we decided to move to our new country are many and varied. By far the most important reason pertains to freedom. Freedom for a child with a disorder to have choices and quality of life. Freedom to walk to the park without fear. Freedom to have an education that would open doors all over the world. Freedom to live without barbed wire and sleeping with a gun under the pillow.
Is it worth the longing for family? Is it worth the small Christmas lunches and long crackling Skype calls? The simple answer is yes. Every time I watch my daughter play on the swings in a public park I marvel at the privilege. When my son comes home from his mainstream school in his mainstream uniform, being treated like a normal human being I burst with excitement for what the future holds for him.
Many won’t understand. Some will judge. Others will know where we come from and why we made the choices we made. As for me, I am content to enjoy the gift of freedom we have been blessed with for as long as I can.