Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the past year and give thanks to God for our blessings. The Goodfellow family has more to be thankful for than ever before. On 29 July 2021, the Ghanaian government issued an adoption decree officially making our niece, Fidaus, our daughter. On the 12th of September we were able to travel back to the United States and bring Fidaus to her new home in Maryland. We have been thanking God every day since then, but this Thanksgiving will be a unique opportunity to celebrate this momentous event with friends and family.
Ever since Nora and I were married in 2014, Thanksgiving has been a special day. Like everyone else, we spend the day with family. But since most of Nora’s family is in Ghana and most of mine is in Washington state, we’ve also included close friends in the equation. Some years we’ve eaten out, some years we’ve gone to friends’ houses, and some years we’ve prepared our own Thanksgiving feast at home. The common themes have been spending time with friends & family and enjoying a combination of American and Ghanaian food. Even on those occasions when we’ve eaten out with a traditional American menu, we enjoyed waakye, oto or koose at home! In many respects the Goodfellow Thanksgiving has been, and will continue to be, a celebration of two cultures joined together.
This year will not be any different. With our son Xavier (Fidaus’ oldest brother) travelling to Washington state to spend Thanksgiving with his mother, her family and his younger brother John (Fidaus’ other brother) we will spend Thanksgiving with close friends, most of whom are Ghanaian. While we will undoubtedly enjoy traditional American fare such as turkey, stuffing and pies, we will also fill our plates with waakye, kenkey, fish and other Ghanaian staples. The food will be delicious and fill our bellies, but what the food represents will also nourish our soul, it is symbolic of the fact that we appreciate and celebrate each other’s cultures and are thankful that the Good Lord has offered us the opportunity to experience them. Who knew that turkey and jollof rice could mean so much?
This will be Fidaus’ first Thanksgiving and it will be very interesting to learn her thoughts on the experience. Like her mother, she almost certainly won’t enjoy all the traditional foods, but there is nothing wrong with giving thanks while eating yam balls, banku and tilapia. right? Many people have told Fidaus how fortunate she is to have this opportunity, but I am not sure they appreciate how difficult it is for a 16-year-old girl to leave her home, her friends, her family, and everything she’s ever known to move to a foreign land. Creature comforts and material goods cannot make up for that loss. Fidaus has done an amazing job of adapting to life in the United States but we know that not everything in her life is something that she gives thanks for. Likewise, Nora and I face challenges that we never thought we’d see.
What most people miss is how fortunate Nora and I are to have Fidaus in our lives. Fidaus has expressed to us how thankful she is that the Lord has brought her to this point in her life. She is very thankful for the life of her family and friends both here and in Ghana. She thanks God for giving her the opportunity to be in America. In Fidaus’ own words. “I also thank my parents for taking me as their own although I am not their biological daughter, but they have loved me as their own. I thank everyone who supported or was involved in the process” We are all truly blessed! Any challenges the three of us may face will pale in comparison to the incredible joy that we feel as a family.
This Thanksgiving we are incredibly thankful for life’s many blessings! We pray that all of you will enjoy these same blessings in your own lives.
Bob, Nora & Fidaus Goodfellow!