6 Ways to Cultivate Your Adopted Child’s Culture into Your Life

Incorporating your child's culture into your family's life is important.

Shelley Skuster May 31, 2018

I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be adopted into a family outside of my own race, but as a mother via transracial adoption, I am committed to learning how to cultivate my child’s culture into our family.

I’ve spent a handful of years learning from adoptees and people of color how important it is to instill racial pride in our children.

Here are six ways to do so:


Learn your child’s language
1. Learn your child’s language

If your child speaks fluent French before he comes home, learn it. If her birth family speaks Spanish, download an app and start learning it yourself; encourage your child to learn it, too.

Language is a powerful way for our children and their birth families to feel connected and proud of their roots.

Incorporate their culture with home décor and seasonal decorations
2. Incorporate their culture with home décor and seasonal decorations

Choose home décor that showcases races and ethnicities similar to your child’s. Incorporate seasonal decorations like Christmas ornaments, holiday cards, etc., that represent various races and ethnicities.

Form genuine friendships with people who resemble your child
3. Form genuine friendships with people who resemble your child

Seeing people who mirror them or have similar experiences in the world is important to all children.

This may mean you need to step out of your comfort zone, but if you’re willing to open your heart and home to people who share a common background as your child, it could profoundly change the way your child feels about his or her culture.

Spice up your dinner menu
4. Spice up your dinner menu

Are there regional favorites from the state or country your child was born in? Consider implementing staples from the country your child was born into your family’s dinner menu.

You could make a special day out of it, invite friends or neighbors over and try your hand at Equis Soup and Fufu.

Diversify your bookshelves
5. Diversify your bookshelves

Books are a great way to introduce new cultures, languages, and ideas.

Find books with main characters who resemble your child, and when you have an opportunity, choose to support authors who hail from a similar background or culture as your child.

Choose representative toys
6. Choose representative toys

Choose toys that accurately depict your child’s culture.

If you can’t find a doll in stores with traditional African clothes or a natural hairstyle, head to the Internet. Between Etsy shops and doll designers from your child’s home country, you’re bound to find something that will beautifully represent your child’s culture during playtime.

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes and she can also be found on facebook and twitter as ShelleySkuster.

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