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Keeping your Child's Cultural Identity

Without a doubt, an adopted child requires greater attention and care from his parents in the initial stages after his adoption. After all, there's always the fact that you lack the bond of blood to consider, and you are provided the privilege of raising him from birth. This issue is all the more apparent if he has been adopted through the international adoption process since you also have to tackle you and your child’s issues regarding the evident cultural and racial differences that you have.

What’s good is that if you simply invest time and effort in addressing these hurdles (with you, as the parent, taking the initiative to do so), it certainly won’t take long for you to start improving your relationship. One way of doing this is by fostering your child’s knowledge of their original culture. You can do this by following these few helpful pointers.

Prepare a lifebook for the child- Adoption lifebooks are essential because adopted children’s lives begin to branch out the moment they leave the orphanage. These tools essentially serve as storybooks that help your child in gaining insights about their past experiences, the relationships they had established, and at what stage of their life they are currently in.

This way, the child will never have a feeling of losing their former life, as most adopted children are prone to feel post adoption. It would be better if you can include their past life in their lifebook. You can do this by adding pictures and informational snippets of the orphanage where they came, local sites around it, and people who they interacted with during the time that they lived there. You can also provide your child with an adoption card. This card can welcome your child into their home and explain to them what it means to you that they are in your home. You can also provide a card to your child on their adoptive anniversery.

Connect your child’s story with that of his culture and country of birth-Help him develop a fascination for his birth country and, subsequently, the world by reading books about them. Show the child's country’s position on the world map. Teach them its national dish in a way that they would find very memorable. You can even try cooking it together. Your child should gain a substantial knowledge of the history of their birth country as well (customs, traditions, dances, etc.) These are but some of the effective ways that you can apply to let them know that their story continues, and even help them develop pride for their country of birth in the process. 

The sooner you do this, the better. In fact, you can use the time that you spend abroad arranging all of his travel documents as a perfect opportunity to do so. In conclusion, it all really comes down to placing importance in getting to know your child and making sure that you are opening yourself to him as well. This is because once you bridge the cultural difference that you have, you are practically erasing one major barrier that many adoptive parents encounter when they choose to adopt children from abroad (or opt to go for transracial adoption, for that matter). This also ensures that your child will always have a firm grasp of his identity, not only culturally but as a whole person as well.

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