Monday, April 26, 2010

Creating Support Groups

From a newspaper article about a family that formed a Chinese language and culture class after adopting from China:

To be the only Chinese child in a predominantly Caucasian community where even your parents are white can be quite frightening and confusing to a little kid.As Melinda Douros reported in an e-mail interview, her daughter Mei An got very excited on the first day of kindergarten when she saw another Chinese adoptee.
“Look, Mom,” Mei An whispered, “a girl with a face like mine!”

* * *

Adoption agencies and child development experts strongly encourage parents to give their Asian children opportunities to meet their peers. Actually, the parents don't need much encouragement, as they discover for themselves they need mutual support as much as their children do, according to Prof. Ann Moylan, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento. She said she has seen similar cohorts of adoptive families with foreign-born children self-organize in other communities.

I'm glad to see the usual article about local families adopting internationally branching out to include information about the importance of language and heritage. I would have been more impressed if the article had talked about the importance of non-adopted Asian role models, and race and racism as well. Oh, well, you can't have everything, I suppose. . . .


Jessica said...

Very glad to read this article, which is a great example of how many adoptive parents make efforts to connect with other families and respect their children's heritage. So important on multiple levels. Mei An's reaction at seeing another face like her own is similar to those of my children (from Guatemala).

Anonymous said...

This is the same recycled article that has been around for years. Organizations w/ white parents w/ Asian kids have been around for years. No doubt, it has it's purpose, but too often these things occur in a distorted vaccum. Fir example, one of the reasons my daughter goes to Chinese school is not only for the language, but to participate as a member of the Chinese-American community.

I think the discussion gets much more interesting (and more difficult) is when white parents go beyond the adoption culture of festivals and having picnics w/ other white families. Instead, or in addition to, they make authentic cultural connections w/ Asian families /communities that share their child's racial identity.