Sunday afternoon we got together with the FCC older child group in our area. The girls range from 6 to 11, and we've known most of them since Zoe was a baby. In fact, we traveled with one of the families! We've been in infant/toddler play groups together, but as the girls got older, some of that togetherness gave way to the busyness of days.
We're working hard on bringing the girls back together now. They need this interaction with other kids adopted from China as they get older. As Jane Brown says about organizations for adoptive families:
Typically, adoptive parents join soon after having adopted or sometimes even before the placement of a child. They/we are enthusiastic, eager to help provide leadership, and thrilled for socialization opportunities these organizations provide. However, just as typically, interest starts to wane just as the CHILDREN start to get any meaningful benefit, because we get busy with their school careers, sports participation, music or dance lessons, etc... Inaddition, our children often begin to complain about participating because that reminds them of that which they'd like to push away-- that they are adopted andthey are racially or ethnically different from us-- something that is increasingly stigmatized by their peers at school.
What we need to recognize is that while many to most of our children may strive to shed that which they cannot-- the fact that they were adopted-- we cannot afford to allow adoption, race, and ethnic differences to become the proverbial elephant in the
living room. While we certainly should not pathologize our children because they carry these differences and have more complicated identity-building processes to
navigate, we MUST recognize that our unconditional love, alone, will not suffice to provide the tools they need to construct healthy personal identity and racial-ethnic identity. Both they and we, as their parents, need the connections and support, the mirroring of others who are members of adoptive families, and the ongoing education that these organizations can and should offer.
That is different from what our children get in interactions with members of their ethnic community, since children raised with their same-race parents of color do not have to straddle two different racial-ethnic groups, plus contend with the complex feelings, questions, and issues that are an inherent part of growing up adopted. Its very beneficial to journey through this with other adopted youngsters.
But from my girls' perspectives, it's just plain fun!