Talking about adoption, birthparents, abandonment, race, and China with my kids. That's not all we talk about -- but reading this blog, you'll think it's all we do!!!!!
Thanks for the wrap-up. I have been going back and forth with the idea of sending M to something like this next year. My questions is this (and an issue I had with the Great Wolf Lodge gathering), what "culture" are they teaching? Is it ancient China? A combination of traditional and modern Chinese cultures--incorporating what Chinese youth today are doing? How, if at all, are the issues related to being Asian-American addressed other than being with girls/boys who come from China? Thanks in advance.
I think it is a combination: songs, dances, martial arts, food, language, crafts etc. Nothing too deep. If your child has already been exposed to a lot of culture, as mine have, then it may not be that helpful, culture-wise. I think that is hard to learn and remember much of that after only a few days. I don't think the camp addresses issues with being Asian-American, other than possibly helping them feel proud about being Chinese. Most of the counselors are Caucasian adoptive parent volunteers. Last year they did WISE UP, training (learning how to deal with questions from others about adoption), but not this year. Not sure exactly why, but the kids LOVE the camp! As I posted earlier, I think it is wonderful for them to spend a few days being in the "majority" even if they're not for the other 362 days of the year!Sue (aka anonymous)
It's hard to find ONE thing that fits the bill for giving our children EVERYTHING they need! China Heritage Camp for us is pretty much being with kids like themselves with some modern/ancient Chinese culture; Chinese school is language & the Asian-American experience.The cooking was modern culture. Calligraphy is actually both -- I know kids in China who still learn calligraphy even though it is no longer taught in most schools there. The girls also saw video of the Sichuan earthquake and the Olympics. So Camp was a mixed bag on that.
On the dance front, if you wanted to teach what Chinese youth in China are learning today, it would have to be salsa dancing or ballroom or hip-hop!
Thank you both. After our visit to China I am really trying to find an approach with M that will incorporate what we know of China today, of course the past is always worth knowing, but moreso what is happening now. Also, very important is being Asian American and how that differs from China culture, add in being adopted transracially and well...there lies the problem mostly with what is often labeled as culture at an FCC event.I appreciate your insights.
I have never felt that my kids learn much, if any, culture at an FCC event, even when that event is called "culture day." FCC is mostly a social support group in which we can affiliate with other families like ours. I think my kids learn more culture by going to China, attending Chinese school (and having actual Chinese teachers and classmates), etc. Going to heritage camp is a cross between those kinds of activities. It is a much more concentrated dose of what you get from FCC events (3 days worth, vs. several hours). Some teachers were Chinese (or at least Asian), so I think they can usually convey Chinese/Asian culture better than most Caucasian adoptive parents can. Sue (aka anonymous)
Dear every adoptive parents,We are Chinese parents with kids born in the U.S. Thank you for your love in adopting helpless orphans and nurtur them to be happy kids of yours. I have viewed the video of the camp for adoptees. My suggestion to you is to try to seek out Chinese American families and let your kids befriend their kids. The reason? I think these Chinese American families are more normal in the sense that they are emotionally balanced. You can also learn from Chinese parents about their culture and they from you about American culture. It's a good way to help each other out. As a Chinese, I feel these camps for adoptees from China are weird. Real Chinese kids don't do dragon dance or kungfu. To us, the Chinese heritage is nothing more than Chinese food, the language, delayed gratification (with money and material things) and hard work. Be careful with your child's encounter of racism. Some kids don't even tell their parents but racist incidents will scare their life and affect their self esteem big time. Worst yet, they may affect your child't relationship with you. Racism is real and ugly and kids aren't old enough to handle them. Make sure you check on your child when s/he comes back from play time with other kids. I hope you can find some good American Chinese families around to befriend with. God bless you all.
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