When you adopt, depending on your who your child is, your family has a chance of becoming a multi-cultural family. This provides you with a unique opportunity to embrace the new culture that has infiltrated your family and to provide the opportunity to teach your child to take pride in where they are from. But, it’s often tough to know where to start. It may not be your culture, or at least the culture you grew up in, so where do you learn more about it? How do you celebrate it? Here are five ways to celebrate your adopted child’s culture.
1. Celebrate a holiday: For my family, we have tried to embrace our son’s culture and heritage by celebrating a holiday that is famously celebrated in his birth country. We try to get together with other adoptive families who have adopted from the same country and we try and embrace traditional activities to celebrate together. It’s not only a good time to learn more about the holiday and cultural traditions themselves, but it’s a great time for your child to be around other kids like them. They can learn that they are special, and grow up celebrating together!
2. Cook: Learning to cook traditional food from your child’s culture is a great way to integrate the culture into your family. Cooking can be a great way to spend time with your family, while embracing some special aspects of your adopted child’s culture. Going shopping to find specific, maybe “hard to find”, ingredients can be fun, too! Once you perfect a dish, bringing that dish to family gatherings, potlucks, or friend’s houses can be a great way to teach others about your child’s culture, too!
3. Research: Do you research. Don’t just let this opportunity slip by! Learn how they traditionally dress, what the cultural music sounds like, and some things about the culture’s history. I was even able to find a coloring book of traditional clothing from my son’s culture for my kids to color. Embracing the history of your adopted child’s culture is a great way to learn and grow together.
4. Find cultural events around town: Depending on where you live, this can be difficult. Our town does not have a large population of other people from my son’s culture, so it’s tough to find activities or events in our area. So, we’ve had to improvise! There is a local orthodox church that hosts a cultural festival where various cultures are celebrate through food, dancing, and music. Although it’s not my son’s culture individually, the festival does celebrate cultures in the area of his birth country, so it’s a pretty good option in our book.
5. Talk: Talking about the culture is a way of celebration. Something as simple as cheering for their birth country on the Olympics is a way to show your child that their culture is special, and is now the culture of your family. So, just talk about it!
Celebrating your child’s culture can be such a fun way to not only expose your family to other culture’s and people, but to help your adopted child realize that they are loved, chosen, and special. It can definitely be used as an attachment and bonding tool, especially if your child is older. Learning to love your new multi-cultural family and what that will look like is a part of each family’s individual adoption journey.