OK, every year when Culture Day rolls around, I worry about what to wear. I always give Zoe and Maya a choice, and so far, the girls have wanted to wear their Chinese silks. That'll probably change as they get older, but not so far.
But what about me? From the beginning, it felt a little silly dressing the girls up and then doing nothing Chinese myself, like Chinese culture was only important for them, not me. But wearing Chinese outfits feels a little like trying to co-opt Chinese culture. Wearing the dress doesn't make you Chinese!
I've also heard adult Asian adoptees laugh about adoptive (white) parents dressing up in Asian costumes. But when I've worn a qi pao to Chinese New Year celebrations at the Chinese Baptist Church (done in conjunction with Chinese School), I always get very positive remarks from Chinese people (including slightly-large Chinese women asking where they can find a qi pao to fit -- I found mine on eBay!).
For the past two years, I've worn this "Chinese bird" shirt, as Maya calls it (she forgets the word phoenix!) to Culture Day. It seems to be a middle-ground for me -- not the qi pao, and something I can legitimately wear other places, but still with a Chinese flavor that makes Chinese culture something important to the whole family. But each year it seems like making the decision over again (I know, I know, I'm always over-thinking things!)
So what do you do?
The Angrier Adoptee, part 1
1 week ago