I saw this on Facebook yesterday, shared by a friend who spends a lot of time in the sun, and it reminded me of a thought that has been rolling around in my head for awhile (ever since shortly after we returned from Ethiopia with the boys).
We spent a week in Addis Ababa (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3-4, Day 5, Day 6 , Day 7) getting to know our new boys before bringing them home. The policy of the orphanage and guest house, as in many homes in hot climates, is to leave your shoes on the doorstep, or just inside the entryway, and have bare feet inside, to reduce tracking in dirt from outside. In S’s compound, where the kids older than infants were housed, they essentially had a rotating pool of crocs, which were kept lined up along the wall of the building, in the courtyard, and any child walking outside to play or visit their “new” parents would select a pair that fit, and when returning inside, would place them in the array of crocs again. I remember watching one of the children one day, ordering the shoes carefully from smallest to largest (and mostly, they were arranged in order by the kids). It was an image that I wished I had taken a picture of – it really struck me, but I was too concerned about violating confidentiality of the child doing the arranging (it wasn’t one who was adopted in our group of seven families bringing kids home that week).
So, I personally never have worn crocs, but certainly many of my friends do, and many of my friends’ kids do. In fact, we were given lots of clothes and shoes by our generous community and, among the shoes, were a pair of crocs.
They were a little too big for S at first, but by the summer (of 2010), he had grown enough that I pulled them out, and offered them to him. His English was still a bit rudimentary, so he didn’t explain to me the reason he so adamantly opposed wearing them, but I realized that he associated crocs with the orphanage, and he wanted nothing to do with anything that had such a link.
I haven’t offered him crocs since. I wonder if he will ever change his mind…