Archive for the 'Interracial Adoption' Category

Celebrate Your Adopted Child’s Culture

The Washington Post had an interesting article today about families who have adopted from China sending their children to Chinese language classes to stay in touch with their heritage. Better still, some families all take the classes together! Learning about other countries and cultures enriches adoptive families and having their heritage acknowledged makes adopted children feel that they are accepted and loved for who they really are. As part of our National Adoption Month celebration here on the blog, here are ten ways to celebrate your adopted child’s culture.

  • As the Post article highlights, taking a language class is a great way to help your child keep in touch with his or her culture and lay the groundwork for a possible trip to the child’s country of origin later on.
  • Learn to cook dishes from your child’s country of origin and make them a regular feature on your menu at home.
  • Read books about your child’s country of origin. There are many wonderful children’s books about different countries, but if you can’t find one specific to your child’s culture, find a book for adults that has lots of photographs and talk about them.
  • Seek out social groups in your community that include people of your child’s ethnic origin. Many adult adoptees say that being around people who looked like them would have made them feel much less isolated and different when they were children.
  • Make a scrapbook about your child’s birth country together.
  • Play music from your child’s birth country in the house regularly.
  • If you can’t travel to your child’s birth country, try a shorter trip: Many cities have cultural heritage festivals or embassies that you can visit to learn about and celebrate your child’s background.
  • Make your childrens’ culture present in your home by hanging artwork from their birth country, decorating in the style of their birth country, or buying them an outfit or two that is traditional to their culture.
  • At the holidays, learn about foods and traditions from your child’s first country and incorporate them with your own family traditions.
  • As all kids do, adopted kids go through phases. If your child goes through a stage where he or she just isn’t “into” his or her heritage, don’t push it. The struggle for identity is ultimately your child’s own personal struggle, and the best you can do is be there, listen, provide opportunities, and most of all, love.
  • Do you have other ways that you celebrate your child’s cultural heritage? I would love to hear about it in the comments or by email at evaughan (at) vaughanfirm (dot) com.

    Do you have more questions about adoption? Contact The Vaughan Firm to speak with an adoption attorney.

    Being an Ally to Transracially Adopted Children

    During my travels on the web today, I ran across this post from Jae Ran Kim’s excellent transracial adoption blog Harlow’s Monkey. The entry lists some “behaviors and attitudes of allies to transracially adopted persons,” but if you ask me, they are behaviors and attitudes that we would all be wise to cultivate. Here are a few great examples from the list:

    • Interrupt racially offensive jokes, no matter what racial or ethnic group they are about.
    • Educate yourself about and support the social justice issues and causes of the racial and ethnic community your child belongs to, both in the US and from the country of origin.
    • Let your actions speak louder than your words. Participate in your child’s racial/ethnic community because you value the diversity, not just for your child.
    • Don’t expect your child’s racial or ethnic community to welcome you just because you want to participate.
    • Know there are different ways of doing and seeing everything.
    • Demonstrate your ally role through your actions rather than trying to convince others of it through your words.

    I thought of a few other items I would add to Jae Ran Kim’s list:

    • Support child’s wish to explore and embrace her racial and ethnic origins, and know that it is not a rejection of you.
    • Don’t deny or dismiss your child’s experiences with discrimination. Some parents wish so deeply for their child to share the privileges that come with being white in America that they refuse to listen to their child’s experience of racism.
    • Understand that it is normal for your child to have some negative emotions about being adopted, and that it doesn’t take away from the positive emotions that he has about being a member of your family.
    • Talk openly and often about race and racism (at an age-appropriate level) within your family. It gives children the language they need to talk about their experience, and prevents parents from pretending that race issues don’t exist in our culture.
    • Further Reading: Transracial Parenting in Foster Care and Adoption, prepared by the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association.

    Do you have more questions about adoption? Contact The Vaughan Firm to speak with an adoption attorney.

    Domestic Adoption Gets a Famous Face

    The Vaughan Firm Blog congratulates Sandra Bullock on the adoption of her beautiful baby boy, Louis Bardo Bullock, announced today with a beautiful photograph on the cover of People Magazine. Louis, now 3 1/2 months old, was born in New Orleans.

    While many highly publicized celebrity adoptions have been from abroad, it’s nice to have a high-profile reminder that many children right here in the United States are also in need of loving homes. We wish Ms. Bullock every joy in her newly-expanded family.

    Do you have more questions about adoption? Contact The Vaughan Firm to speak with an adoption attorney.

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