Just found this great article at KAAN (Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network) that talks about building bridges to your child's ethnic community. This is such a fantastic article and addresses something I've worried about.


When we first started talking about where to adopt from, we discussed race & culture quite extensively. I  seem to wrangle over this more than Scott, who is quite practical in not worrying about things until it's time to worry about them. But this keeps nagging at me--I worry that because our child won't look like us, their adoptive history will always be on display. They won't have the chance to share their history on their own terms. As adoptive parent Barbara Randolph was quoted in the article, she states "They wear Korea in their faces every day of their lives."

I'm already quite proud of the fact that we'll be a multicultural family. I love the fact that we are all the same, and a little different too. I want them to be proud of their Korean heritage, but know children don't always like to be different. They want to be the same as everyone around them. How can we parent them effectively through that?

And the other thing I wonder about is how can we help them connect culturally? Our only experiences with Korea up to this point have been 1) that we love the food,  and 2) I had a layover in Seoul while traveling once. Of course we are reading all types of books on Korean culture, listening to music, attempting to learn a bit of language. But it seems ridiculous for two white people to try and teach a child about a culture that we have only studied in books and on CDs.

We've seen people who have gone completely over the top in trying to bring their child's heritage into the home (I have visions of me serving Kimchi in a traditional Han-bok). While I'd love to embrace the Korean culture, we acknowledge that they need so much more. We are passing on an understanding of a world we've learned through our "U.S. filter" and could be sharing misconceptions, stereotypes, or basic misunderstandings of an entire culture. And the thought of shaping our child's vision of their heritage in an adverse manner, no matter how unintentional it might be, breaks my heart.

I do know, for all my obsessing and worry about these topics, that Scott and I feel an incredible amount of love for a child out there who does not look like us at all (and that we have never met!). I'm positive that our love for that child will be the backbone that helps us find solutions to these questions, seeks out ways to give him/her the support they need.

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