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 maple syrup?)

Besides, like I said in my last blog, it just seems odd for this obviously Asian child, who everyone knows was adopted from Korea, not to do Korea. I also wonder why she doesn’t want to do it.

Meg goes through stages of talking about and avoiding talking about Korea and adoption in general. In preschool, she was very proud of being Korean and asked to wear her special Korean dress. But last year, at age seven, she pretended not to know the answer to a question about where she was born. I told her that she did know, but in front of her friends she still appeared stumped–until her four-year-old sister Regina blurted out, “KOREA, Meg! We’re KOREAN!” (What are little sisters for if not to embarrass you in front of your friends?)

Recently a friend asked her what being adopted meant and she replied, “It means you were born in another state.” (I did follow up with her to remind her that adoption means you grew inside a woman who is not your forever mom.) I asked her why she said what she did and she responded, “Because it’s popular to be from another country.”

I’m certainly glad she feels that racial diversity is a positive thing. However, she doesn’t seem to want to talk about Korea or adoption. She has Filipino, Vietnamese, African-American and Latino classmates, but no Korean ones. She’s already at the age of not wanting to seem different, it appears.

Whatever the assignment turns out to be, it’s definitely sparked conversation—about our family tree, the countries various relatives are from, and about her birthparents (which also led into a discussion of reproduction. (Guess we had to do it sometime.)

Stay tuned!

Please see these related blogs:

Adopted and Proud

Feeling Different from Family

How Do My Adopted Kids Think About Skin Color?

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About Pam Connell

Pam Connell is a mother of three by both birth and adoption. She has worked in education, child care, social services, ministry and journalism. She resides near Seattle with her husband Charles and their three children. Pam is currently primarily a Stay-at-Home-Mom to Patrick, age 8, who was born to her; Meg, age 6, and Regina, age 3, who are biological half-sisters adopted from Korea. She also teaches preschoolers twice a week and does some writing. Her activities include volunteer work at school, church, Cub Scouts and a local Birth to Three Early Intervention Program. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, camping, walking in the woods, swimming and scrapbooking. Pam is a graduate of Seattle University and Gonzaga University. Her fields of study included journalism, religious education/pastoral ministry, political science and management. She served as a writer and editor of the college weekly newspaper and has been Program Coordinator of a Family Resource Center and Family Literacy Program, Volunteer Coordinator at a church, Religion Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Camp Counselor and Nanny. Pam is an avid reader and continuing student in the areas of education, child development, adoption and public policy. She is eager to share her experiences as a mother by birth and by international adoption, as a mother of three kids of different learning styles and personalities, as a mother of kids of different races, and most of all as a mom of three wonderful kids!