Thursday, June 26, 2014

For the adoptive parent

A blog post that I found very interesting and bring to your attention:

When we are children, we do not give too much thought to our future as we do when we get older. We do not look at who we are and ask ourselves how we identify ourselves in the world. As a result, we miss out on opportunities to learn about ourselves. That is why, even if a child shows no interest in their heritage, you should still educate them about it. Make it a fun learning experience for them and have the whole family get involved. Later on when or if they become interested, they will have that background knowledge to build upon. I was very sheltered at a young age...(*)

It seems to me that the principle job of a parent is to prepare his child for adulthood, to give him the mental, physical and moral "tools" he needs to understand the world and make his own place in it.  Questions about race, culture, ethnicity and origin generally don't arise for parents with biological children or children of the same race / origin, but they can be very tricky for parents of trans-racial adopted children.

It's very useful to me to have these sorts of perspectives on the issue.  As I remarked on Red Thread Broken, I think that many (most?) white Americans don't think much about race and ethnic culture / heritage simply because, for most of us, our ancestry is such a muddle that these things don't play much of a role in our self-concept and likely far less than other things in our lives such as where we were born, where we went to college, what branch of the military we served in, or even what sports teams we root for.  So, it's perhaps a bit harder for the white parents of a non-white child to understand and explain them to the child; we have no personal point of reference.

As I've written before, I have no idea how much Caroline's Chinese heritage will mean to her as she grows older.  My task is to educate her about it as well as I can so that she will be prepared to make that decision when the time is right.





  1. I just for finished reading a great book that was recommended on a fellow adoptive mamas blog - Nicole at Living out His Love - it was called
    Good Luck Life by Rosemary Gong.
    It's a Chinise American guide to Chinese Culture and Celebrations. It was fantastic and so helpful. It's a fun , insightful and easy read. Check it out if you want to have all the info you need in one place - it's a great reference guide.