Here’s a compelling feature story from the Chicago Tribune on the challenge of overseas adoptions and how perspectives and approaches on the matter have evolved over the years. According to the article, Americans have adopted a half-million children from overseas in the last 40 years. In the early days of international adoptions, many parents believed their children’s lives would be easier and they would face less prejudice if they shed their native culture, but today that mindset has shifted 180 degrees — which has led to a new set of challenges.
Some interesting highlights from the article:
Tricky questions of ethnic identity are surfacing as the babies who arrived in the U.S. during the peak of Chinese adoption are entering grade school. The attendance at the [Chinese] New Year’s events shows that experts and parents continue to move away from the old model of downplaying foreign culture so their children don’t feel different.
But in a sign of how complicated these questions can be, there is growing worry that focusing on cultural symbols such as food and music can sometimes delude parents into thinking they do not need blunt conversations about the deeper implications of race and culture. Children should know that differences aren’t always celebrated and often lead to prejudice, experts say.
Though the article deals primiarily with the experiences of American families that have adopted Chinese children, it still offers thought-provoking information and insights on the topic of overseas adoptions in general. Read the full article here.