What You'll Accomplish This Week:
- Learn about different ways to focus on culture for kids.
- Learn how to be a mentor family to others in the adoption process or to new adoptive families.
- Set aside time to enjoy family time around the dinner table and a movie night.
The Importance of Culture for Kids
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's November 2009, report Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, made several interesting discoveries. The ones I want to focus on include – adoption remains a part of an adoptees identity as he grows and matures and same race role models and birth country travel help an adoptee develop a healthy racial identity.
- Look for ways that your child can have an appropriate same race role model. Consider coaches, teachers or even a babysitter of your child's same race.
- If available, look for mentoring groups in your community such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, for mentors of the same race.
- If you have adopted your child internationally, consider starting a savings account in order to take the child on a trip back to her country of origin one day. Perhaps your child will want to add to the account to as she grows and matures.
- Don't discount culture camps and other cultural activities. They have their place too in educating your child on his heritage. Just know that adult role models have a much bigger impact on helping a child develop a healthy self esteem.
- For adoptive parents of children with African American hair, do not skimp on educating yourself about proper skin and hair care. I have spoken with several adult adoptees that love their adoptive parents, but wish they had had proper skin and hair care growing up. The lack of proper care had an impact on their self esteem and identity.
Everyone Needs a Buddy Family
Early on as a foster family I knew that I needed other foster families to talk to – someone who really understood the system and the children and their behaviors and needs. I learned very early as an adoptive parent that I needed the same kind of support, support from people who understood.
Take a few moments and create a list of phone numbers of families to call on when you need support and guidance. Don't know anyone? Ask your social worker for suggested families. Lastly, consider being that person for other adoptive families and let your agency know that you are available to others to talk or just listen. I can almost guarantee you that the listening factor is what is needed!
Spend Time with Your Kids in the Kitchen
There is so many great lessons to be learned while cooking and sharing a meal with your children. Take a few pointers from this article, and learn how working with your kids in the kitchen does more than whip up a great meal.
This Week's Assignments:
Take time to focus on your child's culture and heritage, it may be as simple as subscribing to an adoption themed magazine or to a magazine dealing with a specific culture. Know that this may be of help in educating your child, but finding an adult role model of the same race is the most influential. Think of where you can find that person for your child.
Look for ways you can be a mentor to other families or seek out a mentor or buddy family of your own. We all need a friend in parenting!
Spend time with kids in the kitchen and enjoy the bonding and of course the meal afterwards.
Review Adoption Month Week 3: November 15 - November 21, for details on your daily assignments.
Recommended Articles in This Week's Lesson
- 14 Ways to Focus on Culture
- Considering Interracial Adoption
- Caring for Your African American or Biracial Child's Hair
- Before You Perform Black Hair Care on Your Foster or Adopted Child
- Foster Kids in the Kitchen - Why Including Kids in the Kitchen Is a Great Idea
- What Is Food Hoarding?
- What Is National Adoption Day?