promoting cultural heritage.

(5 Posts)

I am not yet an adoptive parent and so I am only popping on to give a thought, not an experience!

I have a great love of China and studied Mandarin some time ago, and also lived in Asia. A while ago my husband and I considered adopting from China. Sadly, we did not go down that rout but I had already begun to explore some of the things I would be interested in if it did come about!

One thing was studying the language of the country (my Mandarin is absolutely the most basic of words now but a few years ago I had a very basic smattering). I would have liked to learn the language alongside the child. For many reasons but mainly because for any child 'returning' (I was thinking of adopting direct from China) to China after life overseas (I mean for a visit) to not have the language would have made that much harder.

Also, as a Christian I know that many countries have ex-pat Christian groups who have services on their own language. Obviously not all but some in major cities do exist and you might find congregations who do not have their own building but meet in other church buildings. I am not sure how you would feel about this, and you may feel it is not for you. I just feel that it is a good way of tapping into part of a culture. For example, India, although there are many Hindus and Muslims etc you will also find Christian Tamil speaking congregations in many places, in countries other than India. So as a way of tapping into that culture it is a possibility. This is more common for countries that have larger Christian groups, such as China, the Philippines etc but might be possible for many.

Living abroad I do remember I loved seeing TV programmes from my home country, this was before the ready availability of the internet so I would not have had the fun of googling YouTube for programmes. I mean sometimes those programmes may not be great but if they feature people who look like the child etc that might be a positive start.

Anyway, as I say, this is not my experience but just thoughts. All the very best.

LocoParentis Sat 10-Nov-12 17:17:29

thanks both for the helpful things to think about smile

Devora Sat 10-Nov-12 17:05:14

I can't match Kew's expertise, but just wanted to add that you also have to be attuned to what your child brings to the table. Some people have a far greater need of 'heritage' than others; we all tune in to different parts of our heritage according to individual make-up, IME.

So do your research, do your best, but above all keep talking to your child, stay sensitive and resourceful.

Kewcumber Sat 10-Nov-12 14:01:34

Its a bit easier for me as I travelled to the country to adopt DS so I have been there, have photos met people etc. I also set up a country specific adoption group and we meet 2/3 times a year.

On teh otehr hand, as DS is from a not very high profile country (Kazakhstan) its hard to keep him in touch with his birth culture and also to try to make it real rather than a series of touristy tat (which he loves!).

I am a member of the British Kazakh society and pretty much we troll along to virtually everything which is within travelling distance though this does only work out at about once a year. Some surprising events have proved to be useful... we went to a book reading once where I (kind of unofficially) organised a colouring table for the children who were extremely bored but mostly of UK/Kazakh dual heritage. However the surprising but great thing for DS is that there were some teenage Kazakh boys attending who were at boarding school here. Just the fact of seeing very smartly dressed teenagers who looked just like him was (I think) a very positive experience for DS.

You just do your best IME, it isn't foolproof.

LocoParentis Sat 10-Nov-12 12:36:52

Hello everyone
I've been giving this some thought over the last few weeks and was wondering if anyone had any experience or ideas they could share.
In our LA a lot of the children available for are from a dual heritage background but it's an unusual mix that is unlikely to have lots of adoptive parents with the same or similar ethnicity waiting for them ifswim. So similar to mother white british and father iraqi kurd.
Now i know the rules have changed a lot and they would consider a white british couple if they can help the child understand their roots etc.

So my question is how would you go about doing that. Especially as its a culture i/we know nothing about. I've thought about trying to get myths and legends books, history books (child friendly ofc), recipe books (for me) to try and introduce traditional foods into our meals. I'm pretty sure there are no mother baby or other community groups locally i could contact and ask to join in. I can keep looking for them though and contact the immigration support groups and ask for help.

I'm worried tho that all of the above is just forcing something that is not natural and is a bit like 'i love curry we could adopt an indian baby' and i'm missing the point. I really would want our children to understand and be proud of their heritage, whatever it may be and would want to be able to encourage that in a positive uncringworthy way

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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