Why Birth Country Visits are So Compelling

By guest author Doris Jacobs 

In taking my son Andrew on a birth country trip, I had hoped to reinforce his personal identity—that it is great to be who he is and to value who he is becoming, including where he was born and where his personal history began.

• Being able to say and really understand “This is the building I was born in,” or “This is the place my life began before I was even born” is important.
• Being able to say “I have met and talked to people who were there and cared about me and still remember me” is important.
• Knowing “I was loved from the moment of my birth even if tough choices had to be made” is important.
• Realizing that other beliefs, traditions, customs, and practices are part of what makes this world so interesting is important.
“Experiencing these things for oneself is part of assimilating this all into who I am today.”

How could I ever expect Andrew to do all this with a heritage he did not recall and places he was never able to see?

This trip was about learning first hand that the people who gave him life and cared for him those first critical days and months were and are wonderful, kind and genuine in every aspect or meaning of those words. It is about being proud of origins and of the strong resilient people who gave him the chance to become all he can be.

It is about knitting all the yarns of who he is together to make the strong resilient person he is becoming.

I feel if I am to give Andrew the best chance to become all he can be, I must do what I can to help him see himself as a citizen of the United States, and the world.

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