Can We Emphasize Culture Too Much?

The latest issue of Adoptive Families’ magazine has an article by Mei-Ling Hopgood. She writes from the perspective of an adult adoptee, having been adopted from Taiwan in the 1970s and raised in the U.S. by white parents, together with her two brothers adopted from Korea. I’ve written before about the discomfort I sometimes feel regarding how much to emphasize my daughters’ birth culture. Many young adult adoptees are now speaking out and saying that they either thought of themselves as “white” or desperately wanted to be, that they had a tremendous shock in high school or college when others … Continue reading

The Importance of a Family Tree

Have you ever wondered why we bother to spend countless hours researching genealogy and filling in the gaps in our family tree? Have you wondered why there are so many books available on the subject? I did. I wondered why it was such a big deal. What difference did it make learning about relatives who died long before I was born? For as long as I can remember, my mother has talked about her family tree. It seemed like at least once a year she would show me the book that she has always kept of historical research on our … Continue reading

More Musings:

As we were leaving speech therapy last week, we mentioned our plans to have corned beef corned beef for dinner (for St. Patrick’s Day). Meg’s therapist said, “Are you all Irish?” “Sure. Every last one of us.” Except that, like most witty responses, this came to me after the fact. It’s probably a good thing anyway. Emphasizing the difference would have just made her feel different. She’s also getting to the age of being embarrassed in talking about herself and being adopted, although she seems much more ready to talk about being Korean since we had a Korean student stay … Continue reading

Considerations in Adopting When You Already Have Children: Shared or Different Heritages

In the past days I’ve been writing about how your adoption decisions may be different when you have children already in your family to consider. One of these questions is whether you want your children to share the same ethnicity? Many parents believe that their child will feel a deeper sense of belonging if there is someone in the family who looks like them. I admit to sometimes wishing I looked like others in my family, and I wasn’t even adopted. However, a recent article in Adoptive Families magazine suggests that it may be less necessary than was formerly believed. … Continue reading

Never Underestimate the Power of a Role Model

Our family decided to hire a college exchange student from Korea through an au pair agency. I had initially been hesitant, longing for more cultural exchange with Koreans but fearing that I would be judged on my parenting skills, or that someone from another culture might be prejudiced against adoption in some way. Meg herself told us she didn’t want us to get a Korean au pair. (We’ve had two previous au pairs from Brazil, whom Meg loved.) But we thought that having a role model of a young Korean woman would be good for Meg’s self-esteem, so we took … Continue reading

Heritage Report, Take Three

I’m still putting off getting started on Meg’s heritage report. I keep hoping that she’ll change her mind and do Korea, but she’s resisting. She’s practicing drawing her maple leaf for the Canadian flag. I’ve been worried that she feels embarrassed about being different, but I guess I’m the one who needs to let go of worrying about what other people think. But then, I guess I’m the one who needs to let go of worrying about what other people think. I’ve written before about how I felt compelled to bring two dishes to my son and daughter’s preschool ethnic … Continue reading

The Heritage Report, Continued

In my last blog I shared that my eight-year-old has to write a report on a country in our family heritage. Our family contains seven different ethnic heritages (that we know about), but Meg herself is Korean. She’s talking about doing Canada for the report. While my husband’s family name is French-Canadian in origin, his family moved to New England generations ago, and of all the heritages Meg could choose from, that’s probably the one we have the least family ties to. (I guess she could write that my Yankee in-laws can distinguish half a dozen grades and shades of … Continue reading

Beyond the Horizon — Judy C. Olsen

“Beyond the Horizon” is the first novel by LDS author Judy C. Olson and is the story of the fictional family, the Madigans. We see life through the eyes of a man in the Madigan clan from the time of Joseph Smith to our current day, and catch not only a glimpse into the history of the time when they lived, but we see the importance of family and heritage. We also see the impact fathers have on sons, be it for good or for bad. The first Madigan was Jed. He was twenty-four and not yet married, lives on … Continue reading

“Being Adopted Means Being Born in Another State”….??

It’s hard to tell what kids know, remember, or are in denial about. My almost-eight-year-old is very intelligent. She has pictures of her foster mother and a whole scrapbook about her adoption, which she presented to her preschool class. She seemed happy to have me read books explaining adoption to her first grade class last year. Recently a new friend, who wasn’t at the school last year when I did the presentation, asked me (in front of Meg), “Is Meg adopted?” I tried to deflect the question to Meg, trying to avoid a repeat of the “Can she speak English” … Continue reading

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is one of the best romantic comedies to come out of the last decade. Written by Nia Vardalos as a commentary on what’s good and not so good about being Greek, she also stars as the main character, Toula Portokalos. Toula’s family owns and operates a Greek restaurant called “Dancing Zorba’s.” Their lives revolve around food, dancing, eating, running the restaurant, eating, huge family gatherings, and eating. They’re a very tight and interconnected family, but there are times when Toula feels they’re a little too tight. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, and it’s just assumed … Continue reading