When you adopt a child from another country or with a different ethnic background as yourself, your family becomes multicultural or multiracial -- meaning that it's not just an identifier for your new family member, but also for the entire family. As you consider if this is the right path for you, there are some questions to ask yourself, such as:
- Are you OK with possibly being labeled "different"?
- What will you say to people who may be negative toward you?
- Do you have access to different cultural events or a network to help connect your child with his or her heritage?
- Do you have a support system?
- Does the child have siblings? Can you adopt them?
After you have moved down the adoption path and are getting settled in, two ways you can authentically help your child is to truly believe you are the best parent for him or her and have a zero-tolerance for any negative remarks directed at your family [source: Child Welfare Information Gateway].
Cultivating Your Child's Culture
So how can you help your child maintain his or her culture? Here are a few tips to get started:
- Start your child learning his or her native language early.
- In fact, learn the language as a family.
- Learn all you can about your child's culture, from history to food.
- Involve the entire family in cultural activities.
- Even if your child doesn't express an interest in learning about his or her heritage, continue to learn on your own. You will then have answers for your child should that interest develop.