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You don't necessarily have to adopt internationally in order to have a multicultural family, but that's always another option. No matter from which country or differing culture you adopt, being a multicultural family can mean a variety of things. As the parent or family member, there are many ways that you can help and strengthen your multicultural family, creating one strong familial unit, no matter anyone's culture, skin color, or belief system.
Commitment to Your Child's Culture - It doesn't matter how old your child is when he or she is adopted, it's important that you have a stable commitment to your child's culture. This doesn't mean you have to only talk about your child's culture with them. However, it means that you should be open to discuss and teach culture with your child, especially if your child shows some interest in having that knowledge and background information.
Forming an Identity - Your child will begin to form an identity very early on. For some children, it can be difficult to form an identity if they feel internally or externally different from those in their families. For some children, cultural history is a crucial part of their identities. However, there are those children who reject the culture they were born into because it doesn't mesh with how they see themselves or because they don't want to be different than other members of the family or even from their acquaintances. Each child is unique.
Let Them Take the Lead - Your child will let you know when it's the right time to enroll them in language lessons from their specific culture, or go with them to a culture camp, or even trying culture-specific recipes together at home. It won't do anyone any good if force or coercion is involved. It will just bring resistance. Learning about a culture isn't a necessity for some kids. As such, never pressure them. Let them take control of the situation and when and if they want to learn more about where they came from.
Find Ways to Educate Others - When it comes to multicultural families, sometimes there is a stigma and stereotype attached. Because of this, you and your family may receive strange looks in public or rude comments said right in front of your children. Your child may even come across some issues with friends and classmates. A lot of this behavior comes from incorrect information, ignorance, and misunderstandings. So, take it upon yourself to educate others, including the kids in your child's class. You might be able to schedule a little assembly or class specifically about this issue. Be kind when you educate others. After that, they have to decide whether to take it to heart or continue their behavior. After that, it's out of your hands.
Teach Respect for All Cultures - While being a multicultural family means to be open to your child's culture and ethnic history, it should also mean teaching and practicing respect for all cultures. Teach your children. And be an example yourself. Love and respect can go a long way to bridging the gap between culture-based prejudices and judgments and a more loving and open-minded opinion of others.
Everyone deserves to be a part of a loving and stable family unit. It doesn't matter what color skin you or your child have. Being family extends past that. Differences are what make us all unique. Embrace differences. Embrace Culture. Embrace individual identity, no matter what that entails. Then you'll see your family become cohesive and dynamic.
I remember a family therapist telling me years ago, “We don’t know about Little Bug yet.” Justin was only three at the time.... more
Technically, it’s fall here. Not much has “fallen” yet; seasons are subtle here in Texas. Yet, I can see the leaves gathering a bit at the edge of the driveway...more
This year, mix up the holiday season a little. If you adopted internationally, participate in some cultural traditions alongside your own.
I love you brighter than the stars shine in the sky
I love you deeper than the fish swim in the ocean
I love you farther than you could ever run
I love you faster than the train speeds down the track
I love you softer than the crickets chirp in the night
I love you louder than a marching band in a ticker tape parade
I love you longer than all of my days
You are my angel, my joy, my world, my love, my child
Have a question? Comment? In Your Words is your way to reach out to the adoption community and get tips from others and share important information.
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