30 May 2011

Do Cultural Celebrations and Heritage Events Do Enough to Help Form an Identity?

"Culture keeping is a source of great anxiety for me: Am I doing enough to connect my internationally adopted children with their roots? Am I doing the right things? I struggle to avoid comparing myself with other adoptive parents who seem to do more culture, and try not to judge those who seem to do less."

This is something I've been thinking a lot about. I mean A LOT. How in the world am I supposed to do what's best for my transracially adopted child - connect her with her heritage? I do believe that the adoptive family's heritage becomes the adoptee's heritage, but to ignore their original heritage is damaging to the child. Most African-American people do not celebrate their own African heritage so why should you? Don't think African Americans have a culture/heritage you can share with your child? Maybe you think they do, but you are not sure how to go about finding it.

"When the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's 2009 study of nearly 500 adult adoptees, Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, touched on similar themes, the findings hit home for me. Their research revealed that although attendance at heritage camps and ethnic festivals is certainly worthwhile for adopted children, these activities aren’t enough. What did the authors find to be more beneficial? Having ongoing relationships with others who share their ethnicity and frequent and sustained involvement in cultural activities."

So attending an African dance concert once a year does not let you off the hook. I've never thought so, but it's good to see there was a study done on it. Actually this is one of many studies. So what do you do as a transracial adoptive parent? Well, to tell the truth I'm not entirely sure. I know that I want to include my daughter's heritage in our lives DAILY, but am at a loss as to how.

My son (biological) gets his heritage daily without much effort on our part. There's no though to it because his heritage is also OUR heritage. I would love it if one day I had learned enough to be able to include my daughter's heritage daily in our lives with as little effort as I do with my son's. I aspire.

Click here to read the whole article quoted.

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