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Creating Your Multicultural Family

Whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, you have the opportunity to become a multicultural family. This gives your family the unique chance to merge and blend different cultures. But if you do adopt a child from another culture, it’s vital that the child’s culture be embraced and celebrated. Where do you start? Here are five ways to weave your child’s culture into the broader fabric of your family. 

First, do your research. Educate yourself on the culture’s clothing, history, music, and more. Talk to people who look like them and share their background — get as much advice as you possibly can on how to create a safe and empowered space for them in this world. Make sure you know how to do their hair, and care for their skin and body. If you are raising a child of color, understand, as deeply as you can, what that means, and do everything in your power to help create a world in which they feel protected and understood. Being blind to your child’s reality does them no favors. Ensure that you’re ready to take on that responsibility.  

Celebrate the holidays. Educate yourself on the important holidays in your child’s culture and celebrate them as a family.  And don’t hesitate to make it an event! Invite friends and family, reach out to members of your community who have also adopted, or are from your child’s culture and celebrate together. It’s a wonderful way to build your child’s community, and to show them how much you value their culture and where they come from. 

Cook together. Food is the center of everything, and cooking is a fantastic way to unite any family. Learn about dishes from your child’s culture and take the time to cook them together. Involve your child in the whole process, from deciding which dish to cook to shopping for ingredients. It’s an excellent educational opportunity for you and your child, and a wonderful way to expand your palette with a new cuisine. 

Expand your local horizons. There are always different cultural fairs happening in cities, so why not take advantage of what’s available in yours to immerse yourself, meet new people, and learn new things? Not only does it help strengthen your child’s bond with your community, but it’s an excellent way to make friends and experience how other people live. 

Most importantly: talk about it! The easiest way to bring your child’s culture into your family’s life is communication. Read books and watch movies with characters that look like them, engage conversations that allow your child to share their experience as someone from their culture, celebrate their country of origin during the Olympics or sporting events, create a safe space for them to share whenever and however they need. Bringing their heritage front and center is the most powerful to celebrate them, and make them feel included, respected, and chosen.

Embracing your children this way, especially older kids, will help strengthen your family’s bonds, including those with extended family. There is beauty in all cultures, and the more you can expose your child (and yourself!) to theirs, the more intimate and connected your relationship will be.