Importance of Racial Socialization

In catching up on some reading, I ran across this article. http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/groups/topic/The_Importance_of_Racial_Socialization_on_Transracial_Adoptees/

It talks about a study done by the Evan B. Donaldson Institute on the importance of helping your transracially adopted child build a healthy racial identity. And how, in reality, doing so probably the most important thing you can do as a parent, even more important than cultural knowledge and language.

Anyone who has read this blog for long knows how much we love embracing J’s birth culture and learning the language. But I have to agree that the most important thing we’ve done in our five-year adoption journey is make connections with our local Korean American community. Our lives were racially diverse before making those connections, but weren’t rich with Korean Americans, or even Asian Americans. And that general diversity wasn’t enough.

Without those racial/ethnic connections our son felt alone, like he didn’t fit. He had friends, a loving family, a “good” life, but something was obviously missing. And even at 5 years old, J felt that missing part profoundly.

Since starting taekwondo in April with a wonderful Korean American master and many Korean American students, J has found he does fit. Several times a week he’s with others who look like him. Deepening friendships with other Korean adoptive families have shown in him that our family fits. And Korean school allows us to make more connections within our local community while learning culture nuisances that will help J in the future.

The cutlural stuff is fun. Holidays are a blast to celebrate. The food is yummy. And we love the challenge of a new language. And while all of those things have a place of importance in J’s life, ultimately they weren’t enough. The relationships; the mentors; seeing Mom and Dad being the ethnic minority–those are what’s had the most positive impact in J’s sense of self.


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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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