To help your adopted child become proud of who they are, adoptive parents need to celebrate their culture and heritage. Learning about his or her heritage makes it possible for them to understand where they came from, and to build a positive self-esteem.
How can you effectively combine your child’s culture into your family’s after a biracial adoption? Here are Lifetime’s tips on how encourage your child’s heritage in a transracial adoption:
Associating With Others
A culture camp, playgroup, sport, or a dance class are places that’ll help your child connect with other children. These activities can assist in bringing your child together with others who share the same experience of being adopted.
It helps children to see kids who are facing the same challenges as them, and whose families look like theirs. Finding a place where they feel like they fit in can be difficult for children adopted transracially. So, meeting up on a regular basis with other adopted children can help them in finding a place where they belong.
Practice Multi-Culturalism Every Day
Activities that recognize your child’s heritage should occur every day, not just on special events or holidays. You can practice multiculturalism regularly in simple ways: maybe it’s cooking some traditional meals each week, or maybe it’s watching shows and movies that have characters from your child’s background.
Focus on Your Child’s Preferences
Many couples who became parents through transracial adoption seem to continue their focus on traditional foods or dress. But what’ll make this celebration of culture special to your child is to tailor it to him or her.
Think about your child’s personal interests when you plan cultural activities. If your son or daughter is artistic, you might take him to an art gallery showcasing work from an artist who shares their heritage. If they’re into movies, take your child to a show that represents their race in a positive way. One adoptive mother, Hayley, shares, “Our daughter loves going to her weekly ballet class! So, we recently took her to see a Misty Copeland performance.”
Balance Is Key
Even though it’s great to incorporate all this cultural education, some adoptive parents get a little too intense about making sure that their child learns about his or her heritage. Take a step back if your child’s calendar is totally booked with cultural activities. Remember to tailor things to your child’s interests and needs.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”