Sunday, October 01, 2006

North Carolinians Expose Adopted Children to Their Culture

Culture is a family affair
Adoptive parents help kids learn -- and join them in the process

Despite just having had wrist surgery, Joyce Melton was not going to miss the opportunity to participate in Charlotte's inaugural Chinese Dragon Boat race this past spring at Lake Norman.

Melton, brace or no brace, needed her adopted daughters to see her paddling away in this traditional boat adorned with a dragon's head and tail brought over from their homeland.

"Normally, we encourage their participation in Chinese events," she said. "In this case, we wanted them to see that it's even important for us to participate."

While past generations of Americans who adopted children from abroad tended to dismiss the children's backgrounds, today more parents strive to expose adopted children to their roots -- and join them in the experience.

Research shows that adopted children have a healthier self-image if they know about their cultural pasts, says Dawn Davenport, author of "The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child."


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