I can’t do it. I can’t hold your hand and pretend that I empathize with your concerns about high fructose corn syrup or if you should give your 1 year old cows’ milk or soy milk.
I used to care. I really, truly did. I cared so much.
I used to be able to flip through my Rolodex of memories and reconnect with my 22 year old self in the baby food aisle. Fussy 6 month old on my hip as I tried to make sense of the “stages” of baby food and determine if homemade baby food was the best fit for our family and budget.
But right now, that woman seems so foreign to me.
She seems more like an old college friend than a former version of myself. Someone who was once so close but time and adulthood have caused to fade into the background.
That woman had one perfectly healthy child with perfectly safe, plentiful food.
That woman thought she was so poor because she had to wait for a Black Friday sale to buy her favorite jeans, yet she never once worried about how she would feed her baby.
I’m not that woman anymore.
Today I realize just how privileged and blessed I was that at my “poorest” moment, I never had to worry about my daughter going hungry.
Today two of my children have all the healthy food they could ever want. And two of my children live in a country that has been devastated by civil war. A country struggling with hunger and in desperate need of the many social services we take for granted in the U.S.
Every month I wire money to our foster family in Congo so that they can buy my children bottled water, good food and disposable diapers.
I don’t know what half my kids are eating for supper.
I don’t even know what “good food” means in their country.
I don’t get to worry about what the labels on their food says. Instead, I’m eternally grateful that they have enough food to eat and heartbroken for their peers who do not.
These are things that 9 months ago I took for granted. Things that a 9 months ago, I never worried about.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel bad about your food choices. I just want to add a little perspective to this very “first-world problem.”
The world will not end if you’re the only mom at school who doesn’t buy the organic juice boxes.
Life will go on if your kid eats fruit loops for supper.
It really doesn’t matter if you choose to drink almond milk or cows milk or soy milk or no milk at all!
These are not life and death decisions!
How blessed are we to even worry about things like this?!
How lucky are we to have turned our overabundance of food into a “problem” we bicker about?
So why can’t I help you right now? Why can’t I answer your questions and fill this blog with post after post explaining all of those food labels and empathizing with your parental worries?
Because I can’t turn off how brokenhearted I am for the moms in my children’s home country.
For the dads right here in my own community who are skipping supper just to make sure their kids have a little to eat.
For the kids in my daughter’s school who depend on their free breakfast and lunch every day.
My heart is so broken for theirs that I just can’t make it to connect with yours right now.
With a little research and a chat with your pediatrician, I’m sure you’ll be able to make the best food buying decisions for your family.
But please, most importantly, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re so blessed to get to make those decisions at all.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about how to help with hunger in your own community, please check out Feeding America.
If you’d like to learn more about our adoption journey, check out the Adoption page.