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Ancestry: Where are you from? Should you care?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Go back home! A man shouted at another because he was a minority. Where is home? What if Native Americans had said to Christopher Columbus, go back home. Where would home be? He would have had to go back to Europe and to be more precise, he would have had to go back to Italy. After so many years, if you were to say to the offspring of the earlier settlers, go back home. It would be meaningless because they are home. The African Americans who were brought over during the slave trade wanted to go back home. Most couldn't because they did know where home was. Subsequent generations felt they were home in America. How many years would it take for the Latinos to feel they are home? Most Latinos feel at home already. Time seems to determine when you might feel at home.

When adopted children grow up they tend to have the natural desire to find their birth parents. This seems to always be the case no matter how loving the adoptive parents might have been. This is really strange for an outside but for those involved, it is very important. The adoptive parents sometimes might feel betrayed. That is also normal, when you take into consideration all the effort in raising your child. The fact that your love and care has not been enough to prevent the child from wanting to find his "natural birth" parents can be disappointing. You might wonder if the need to search for one's natural parents is genetically coded and cannot be avoided. No matter how you might feel about it, it is a fact of life. We all want to know where we come from. Depending on your situation, the need might be strong or might be just out of curiosity.

If you look at the situation from a larger perspective, where do we all come from? In recent times, a lot of Americans have tried to trace back their ancestry. Some have been able to trace it back to Europe, Africa or Asia. How accurate can these genealogical tables be? What type of satisfaction do you get from knowing who your ancestors were? For example, those of African American heritage have tried to have a link to Africa but it is quite difficult. Africa is a huge continent with millions of people and hundreds of tribes and languages. Most black people know they have African origins. A lot are just satisfied with that knowledge. Others have tried to search further to identify the country or tribe. Oprah Winfrey did a search and it apparently came back that she had Zulu ancestry. For Irish Americans, some have travelled to Ireland to visit the country of their ancestry and just to get a general feel of their heritage. Those who emigrated hundreds of years ago practically have no link to their original country or continent. The only link left is mainly based on the color of their skin, religion, language or through other tradition that have endured to modern times.

If you remember watching the film E.T. The ending was just too sad and you can't help but cry. How cute was Drew Barrymore in that film. The point is that E.T had to go home. You would think life on earth is cool and he should have stayed. He would have stayed if he couldn't contact his people. This just brings to mind that most people who emigrated to other lands tend to have a strong desire to go back to what they would call home. Some would like to go back to visit and compare the memories with the realities and the passing of time. It is a strange feeling that humans feel a need to belong, a need to be home. Home can mean a lot to many people. The saying that a house is not a home is quite true in the case. A house is a physical structure whereas a home is emotional and mental. The need to go back home or know about one's ancestry is mostly based on nostalgia. You sometimes long for something you know very little about. You might have heard a lot about it but you mind will over emphasize the reality and you will begin to live a dream. Those who survived the atrocities of the second world war, felt safe when they were able to emigrate to places like the United States of America or to Australia. A few of them went back because they felt they belong with their people. Those who were left behind wanted to get out and other were longing to get in. It doesn't make sense but that is the human nature. This is not even a case of the grass being greener on the other side. It is about the human spirit and how we relate to the world around us.

Is it that important to know where you are from? Yes, but would it change anything about your life? Often, it is just an intellectual exercise and at other times, it brings closure to how you feel about yourself and your heritage. Is it worth it? That is a different issue. How would you feel if you learned that your ancestors were rapists, thieves, etc? How does an adopted child feel after many month or years of searching only to find that his birth parents do not want any contact with him?

Those who believe in the bible say that we all originate from the same parents and the same place. That will be the Garden of Eden. Is it possible to have so much diversity just from a single couple Adam and Eve? I actually believe it is possible if you look at it from a logical point of view. It might be hard to prove as we have no records of how we are all interlinked. I wonder how many people have actually tried to trace their ancestry back to the Garden of Eden.


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