Wednesday, June 30, 2010
heritage: ignore or integrate?
all of you have your pet peeves, things that annoy you, rub you the wrong way- am i right? well, i have them too. no, i'm not going to bore you naming all of them (ha! might be kinda long if i really sit down to think about it), but i want to talk about something i do have an issue with- this isn't a pet peeve, but something i believe is paramount:
my daughter's heritage.
what's my beef with it? well, i have no beef with her heritage. but i find myself considerably upset by APs that ignore or minimize the importance of their child's culture. it's terribly disconcerting to me. i read a varied and many websites (AP/adult adoptee/birthmom's, etc) and i can't tell you how often i find a family that has just jetted off that aircraft home from *insert country* and is encouraging their child to wave his or her proverbial american flag with as much enthusiasm as a world war 2 veteran. no offense, (i'm typing in hyperbole here), but after watching "daughter from danang" it has become even more visible, tangible, apparent- that cultural immersion (as much as that is possible this side of the pond) is imperative for IA children.
and that we shouldn't "wait" for them to express an interest or fool ourselves into believing that a lack of questioning means a lack of interest.
we are, after all, their parents.
would you wait until your child was inquisitive about school to send them? would you wait until they asked about God before sharing your faith with them?
we are their first teachers. their guides. and, by adopting them, as i've said before- we haven't only adopted our child, but (quite literally) their country- a past, a culture, a language, a heritage- and all the things that come with that. it no longer belongs only to our children, but to us.
E, G, and I are not an "american" family, but an american- chinese family (or, chinese-american family). my daughter is a chinese american. her heritage comes first. by no choice of hers, she is now an american citizen. but, only second to being a citizen of china and chinese by birthright.
we plan to make tremendous sacrifices in this family to help our daughter embrace her first culture and come to terms with being both chinese and american. not only do we plan to introduce chinese language into her curriculum (whether that be at a local chinese school or through private tutoring, and i should have clarified we will be taking the classes with her), but we're already putting money aside (what excruciatingly little we have) for a return trip to her homeland next summer.
because she is worth it.
i don't care if i dig my whole of debt to china, i will never ignore the reality of who she is, or pretend that just because she isn't bringing the topic up, it is not of chief importance (to her, and to us). will we follow her lead? in almost everything, of course- especially when it comes to her past. but we won't ever stop working to give her what is rightfully hers. in every way that we can.
beyond the FCC events (incredibly grateful for those) and the books and the decorations we make or put out for chinese holidays.
as Wendy said in the comments, we will fall short, of this i am sure. i am certain we already have in many ways.
but we'll never stop trying.
Posted by kitchu at 11:31 AM