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Although I’ve watched the televisions shows and heard the jokes, I have to say, I am still trying to adjust to the Seattle climate. Whether the rain or the night hours-defying daylight, this is all very new for me. Then again, I could be back at home on the East coast, where the heat is driving everyone crazy. Even then, I have to admit, when the weather is nice (and there is no rain), I don’t really think many places can beat Seattle, it’s just lovely.
I have just started my second week at Amara and think I am just about settling into the office. While it’s nice knowing where exactly the restroom is or what corner to turn around to get to the kitchen, it’s even better knowing what drawer the markers are in or what box has the envelopes. From the third or fourth day I was at Amara, my section of the office underwent some redecoration. It was quite entertaining for us to see everyone trying to figure out where all the supplies had been moved. Yet, even if it was taking a moment or two longer, work went on as usual.
Amidst the reconstruction during my first week, I was introduced to what some of my early assignments would be. Currently, one of the areas of interest for Amara is to communicate the need for adoptive families for African-American children. African-American children are represented at a disproportionate rate in the foster care system and typically, have to wait much longer than Caucasian children to find a permanent family. Amara has created a mobile display which relays more information about African-American children in the foster care family and the need for adoptive families.
I have been working on continuing their engagement with community organizations in presenting these displays. Those involved in the Seattle area may see a display at a hospital, museum, library, etc. Currently, I am working with churches in the area who have agreed to also “host” the display for a few weeks. This “community travelling” will hopefully encourage interest in exploration of the foster-to-adopt process and ultimately, more families.
Those who know me, know of my love for movies and Hollywood. So, I am not always surprised to get a confused look from someone when I tell him or her about this need for homes for African-American children. I read the magazines and see the pictures too. We have seen or heard recently discussions about the adoption of black children by celebrities and may assume this trend is applicable overall. First, I think it’s important not to confuse international adoption, which often applies to the cases of celebrities, and domestic adoption, which is for what Amara provides services. Second, I just encourage everyone, myself included, that instead of generalizing, contact reputable websites or books to learn about how each ethnicity is represented in the foster care system.
I have also done some Seattle cultural engagement outside of work and one of my favorites thus far was going to my first professional baseball game (yes, that’s cultural engagement). Although I love sports, I have never really gotten into baseball, but (thanks to the patience of other DukeEnagagers who graciously answered my questions) I really enjoyed the Boston Red Sox v. Seattle Mariners game. And Seattle won! The game did not start off as relatively noteworthy. I think it may even be safe to say we were all so excited when Seattle won, because we had been there for a bit and it wasn’t the most energetic game. But, it was blast seeing the Mariners pull through.
Thank you for your time in listening to some of my thoughts.