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Celebrating Heritage

If you're an adoptive parent, odds are your child comes from a different heritage—whether he's from Rhode Island or Russia, of Asian or African-American or Latin-American descent. Learning about his heritage will help him understand where he comes from and build a strong sense of self.

For a list of online resources for exploring your child's culture, visit adoptivefamilies.com/culture.

For a list of culture and heritage events, visit adoptivefamilies.com/calendar.


Country-Specific Culture

Raising a child of African American heritage

Raising a child of Latin American heritage

Raising a child of Eastern European heritage

Raising a child of Asian heritage


Celebrating Culture Everyday

Hair Rules!, by Joanna Yeung
Well-cared for, styled hair lets people know a child is loved. Learn how to shampoo, comb, cut, and style African, Hispanic, and Asian hair.

Heritage Starts at Home, by Lisa Milbrand
How we can help our children feel good about who they are—and where they're from.

Family Ties
How AF readers help their kids learn about their heritage.

Connecting with a Culture, by Paula Hajar
A mother weaves a strand between her child's Guatemalan heritage and her Arab ethnicity.

Forging Bonds with Immigrant Families, by Shelley Page
Our friendships have enriched our understanding of the culture my daughters came from, and the people they left behind.

Small-Town Life: The Hunt for Diversity, by Michele St. Martin
It's hard enough to achieve a strong ethnic identity in a big city, but for those of us living in rural areas, the challenge can be even greater.

The Cultural Exchange, by Marianna Haas
Yuka didn't teach us Chinese language, traditions, or cooking. What she did provide, however, was an excellent role model.

Raising a Bilingual Child, by Laurie Weaver
A practical guide to help your child connect to his language heritage.

 

Traditions and Holiday Celebrations

The Tie that Binds
Whether you follow rituals from your own childhood or establish new ones for your family, one thing remains the same: Traditions are what memories are made of. Here, four readers share their stories.

The Colors of the Season, by Janna Wolff
How one transracial family reinvented their holiday celebration.

Celebrating Kwanzaa, by Rochelle Green
Finding strength in a shared history.

Celebrating La Navidad, by Rochelle Green
Posadas, piñatas, and pageantry.

Share Your Story: Holiday Rituals
We asked our reader panel: How do you integrate your child's culture of origin and/or adoption story into your family's holiday rituals?

 

Culture Camps

Camp Days, by Katherine Mikkelson
Heritage camps, also called culture camps, seek to connect adopted children with their roots by introducing them to music, dance, folktakes, food, fashion, history, and much more.

Off to Culture Camp? by JoAnne Solchany, Ph.D.
Here's what to consider before the session begins.

Our Week at Heritage Camp, by Nelly Edmondson Gupta
As we sang the American and the Indian national anthems, I felt a deep pride in my family and my country. Where else would there be such an open-arm celebration of both adoption and cultural diversity?

For the Whole Family, by Pam Sweetser
I can't imagine sending my children to an experience this profound without being with them.

Should I send my child to culture camp?
AF's adult adoptee panel
responds.

 

Heritage Trips

Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Colleen Corley
Experts tell how to prepare your family for the trip of a lifetime.

6 Questions to Ponder Before Making the Trip, by Carrie Kitze & Jean MacLeod
Whether a return trip is to San Antonio or San Salvador, to the next state or halfway around the world, more and more families are finding that "going back" gives their children a foundation for building identity.

Heritage Travel Overview, by Pat Hoopes
How to decide on a focus for your family's trip, and questions when you're choosng a tour company.

Going Back
Whether you go to steep in the culture or reconnect with the past, a homeland visit can be powerful and profound. Here, the stories of three families who went back.

An Organized Homeland Tour, by Lehea Potter Kuphal
Our children learned that at the most basic level, families and kids around the world are more alike than different.

A Domestic Heritage Trip, by Leslie Kizner
A child doesn't have to be adopted internationally to need to find her roots.

What Are Some Domestic Options?
A heritage trip doesn't have to take around the world. Consider these closer-to-home options instead.

A Visit to My Daughter's Homeland, by Jill Lampman
Our homeland trip gave my daughter a picture of her early life. She discovered that she was, and had always been, "real."

Tending Our Roots
Families are no longer waiting until children are older to introduce their countries and cultures of origin. Five stories by families whose summer travel helped their children develop a sense of themselves.

Back Home in a Chinese Orphanage, by Lisa Gubernick
A five-year-old girl revisits her past.

You've Got to Have Friends, by Mary Watkins
My daughter's fascination with China was matched by her pleasure at sharing the return trip with friends who'd made the same journey.

I Have Two Countries, by Beth Roth
Emilio returned to Bolivia to meet his new sister—and gained a renewed connection to his birth country.

Journey to Calcutta, by Alexis Tompkins-Larrance
Despite my parents' urging, I had always rejected my Indian identity. At 21, I learned to embrace it.

Amanda's Journey Home to Honduras, by Regina Kornspan Levin
Traveling to the place of her birth, and the only connection she has with her biological family, was an important part of helping my daughter grow into a secure and confident adult.

 
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