Monday, February 22, 2010

What do we owe our children?

A Korean friend has told me many times how much she admires how hard I am working to learn Korean and about Korea. I finally tried to explain to her that I feel that this is the least I can do for my kids. While our family coming together has much joy, there is loss and pain involved as well. My children lost their first families and their culture. While we now have ongoing communication with some of my son's birth family (not my daughter's - yet), I cannot give them back their first families. I can, however, work to give them as much Korean-ness as possible - language, customs, food, holidays, art, music, etc. I am always floored by the adoptive parents who choose not to do this. Who choose to say, "My kids area American now." Or say that their children have no interest in Korea. Most kids don't have an interest in religion, but most families educate their kids on their religious beliefs anyway - it should be the same with education about the child's birth culture.

As adoptive parents we have to do our best to "become Korean" - Korean culture should become OUR culture and be a part of homes and our everyday lives. It cannot be just on Lunar New Year or an occasional dinner out at a Korean restaurant. Our kids need to know that "Korean" is not foreign - it is who they are. They need to know that Korean culture is valued and respected. And the parents who deny it are cheating their kids, and setting their kids up for all kinds of identity issues later on.
(stepping off soap box now)