If your child is a different race than you, it is important that you not fall prey to color and culture blindness. What I mean by that is that the outside world can be a curious, cruel, and chronic experience for children who do not have the same skin color and ethnic background as their parents or the dominant culture. Sadly, racism is alive and thriving in the world. Your children need to be able to embrace their culture, and where there are differences allowed to celebrate them.
Seek cultural experiences, exposure, and emersion for your child. Also, be aware that racial identity and racial discrimination for your child may not be evident if you are not talking about it on a regular basis. Sometimes parents can get over-focused on soccer, piano lessons, and grades, forgetting that the inside of the child is grappling with identity, social status, acceptance, and belonging.
The domestic adoption process can put emphasis on getting the child settled into the new family, and only cover maintaining the child’s ethnic identity superficially. Part of getting settled in is embracing the culture the child brings. That may be an adjustment at first, but can be life enriching for the development of the child’s sense of well-being across the life-span.
Take A Step
What are you doing on a weekly basis to elevate race and ethnic identity into your family life? If that seems like an overwhelming question in the face of the intense adoption experience, start slow. Start with one small step and build. Food selection is an easy way to begin.