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Trans-Racial Adoption and Birth Culture

When we approached the adoption of our daughter from China in 2009 I had dreams. I had dreams of sitting with this beautiful little girl at Chinese cultural events, dressed in red silk, participating in event with other adoptive families or the Nashville Chinese community. You know, dreams?  That's not WHY we adopted. But, I knew from the BEGINNING that if I was not willing to share her birth culture with her and in turn with our entire family, then I was really approaching this whole thing from the wrong angle.

Arriving home, I won't say my dreams were dashed, but they definitely were put on simmer (really, stuck in the freezer) until I could rally enough to engage.  I came home with layers of sickness.  Smog related asthma that left me on an inhaler for 3 months, multiple infections due to our stays at the children's hospital.  Oh yeah, 3 surgeries and speech therapy the first year home.  And, did I mention, I lost my mother during that time?  You can see why joining the local Families with Children from China was sort of low on our priority list.

Eventually, it did rise and found its way to the top and that's how I found myself the President of the local chapter.  Two years after our adoption we attended our first event and the following fall I joined the board.  I wish I could say I was begged to be on the board due to my enormous talents but the reality one else would do it.  It was me, a woman who was going on year 5 as the President and another mom going on year 3.  

Let.  Me.  Be.  Clear.  Nashville has a huge adoption community.  Add that to the large community of adoptive parents in the surrounding counties and you really have a large group of people.  Hundreds of families.  So, why were only 3 families willing to serve?  I can list 10 reasons and I can list none. Because at the end of the day one thing and one thing only matters.  My kid. 

I promised her.  I promised myself.  And, I promised the Chinese government.  She will have access to her culture for as long as she wants it.  When she reaches a point developmentally when she says enough, I will say okay (not really).  Then, we will go down to the big event.  Chinese New Year.  

There is so much more to say on this subject and as I wrap up my time on the FCC board, I will write more.  But for now, do yourself and your child a favor.  Find a Chinese New Year event near you and attend.  

(Above, the Moon in traditional Chinese dance costume.)


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