14 Ways to Focus on Culture: Adopted Children and Their Roots
By Carrie Craft, About.com Guide
Take time to get to know all about your adopted or foster child's
homeland and culture. Celebrate and embrace the differences in
Here are some ideas to help you get started on this wonderful
1. One day a month, have a special dinner that would be a
traditional meal in your child's home country. Check out these
• Ya Tibya Lublu: Recipes of Love for Orphans of Eastern Europe•
Fun Things to Do With Children's Adoption Books
2. Seek out and celebrate holidays that are significant to
his/her culture. For example, in Russia May 9th is Victory Day
which is very similar to our Veteran's Day.
3. Learn a new language! Growing up I had a friend who was
Polish. His family had a rule that while at home only Polish was
spoken. This was one of the ways his family was able to keep
their culture alive. There are many videos to help kids learn
languages and make it fun as well as games, books, and
flashcards. Don't know how to get started?
• Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Bilingual Children
4. Display maps of the country in his/her rooms or their
country's flag. How about a collection of dolls in traditional
dress? Art? Make culture something they see every day.
5. Learn through a neat Web site called Multicultural Education
Through Miniatures. Here you will find pictures of dolls dressed
traditionally, stories to go with the dolls and will learn how
the dolls were made.
6. Game night! Play games from his/her country. Great for family
bonding and a wonderful way to learn.
7. Create crafts that are symbols of home. At Christmas time try
this book - Christmas Crafts from around the World - reviewed by
the Family Crafts Guide.
8. Read bedtime stories that are folk tales common to their area.
Try these stories -Cultural Bedtime Stories for Interracial
9. Our daughter always enjoyed singing before bedtime. Her
favorites were Old McDonald or songs from Sunday school. Consider
learning a song or two that is popular for children to sing from
their country. Play music that is popular in his/her country
during nap or quiet times.
10. Lean about animals from his/her country. Make a picture book
for the child. If the child is old enough he/she could create
their own books. Cut out pictures or draw your own.
11. Make a book about his/her country. You could include a
picture of the flag, map of the country, picture of the leaders,
or common animals.
12. Join a group of adoptive families who have adopted from your
child's country as well.
13. Visit museums and libraries to learn more about your child's
14. Plan a family vacation back to your child's homeland. Read
about Madhu's trip back home to India with his adoptive mom.
Some of my suggestions from my experiences with my son and other
children adopted from Ukraine:
1. Buy a national team football jersey. Alex is so proud of his,
he wears it every time it is cleaned. My husband and I also have
Ukrainian shirts and we like to all wear them together when we go
out to an activity together.
2. Get a little Ukrainian flag or symbol for the back of your
car. Alex points out every car he sees with such a sticker with
such excitement and pride. (www.yevshan.com)
3. We have Russian TV with some Ukrainian channels we enjoy
watching together. We have kept up his Russian language. Luckily,
I am fluent, and we also go to Russian camp each Saturday.
4. We watch and cheer for all the Ukrainians at sporting events
and had a blast during the Olympics.
5. We have rented TV shows on food and things to do in Ukraine.
He loves them.
6. We have done Ukrainian crafts like Pysanka, Gerdany, Ceramics,
etc. They make proud keepsakes.
7. There are adoptive family get-togethers throughout the
country. We attended one at Soyuzivka in the Catskills in NY.
Wonderful opportunity to share adoption stories and let the kids
just play. Check with the Embassy or Consulate closest to you
from your child's native country.
8. My husband loves international music and Alex adores watching
music videos for traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk songs.
They are very entertaining!
Enjoy and celebrate your child's heritage!
Adoption Services International unites loving US families with
Ukrainian children. We provide a unique combination of western
quality service (including a maximum guaranteed adoption fee),
personal adoption experience, affordable local cost and 20 years
Ukrainian experience. If you or someone you know would like to
welcome a child into their lives, as my husband and I did, or
just learn more about the Ukrainian adoption program, Adoption
Services International can help.