Thursday, May 5, 2011

is it ever enuf?

as an adoptive parent i wonder if i am doing enuf for my children to help them own their culture and heritage.  sometimes i think it is something i am lotted with struggling through for the rest of my life .... and other times i think .... MAN!  enuf already!!!!!

but is that the right thing to think?

as a parent period .... isn't it our mission in life to ensure that our kids feel secure in who they are; comfortable to grow and explore and just "be" who they were made to be?  if that applies to ALL parenting .... then shouldn't it also apply to me as an adoptive parent?  it illicits so many questions in my head that have to be answered.

when it comes to culture.  are they australia or are they filipino?  are they both?  where is the balance between knowing they are home with us .... forever .... in their new home called Australia and owning the, quite frankly, beautiful and amazing history that is the Philippines.  if they forget their first home will they hate me?  if we focus too much on their filipino history will they not feel secure in this as their new home?  should i have them in filipino dance classes?  there are so many things i could do .... but what will build in them a sense of ownership of the fact that their lives will forever be multicultural?  and what is the balance?

when it comes to language.  should they be speaking tagalog at home or at least learning and re-engaging with it?  i really struggle with this one.  we have a few things we say around the house .... but they are completely out of context and don't necessarily represent how those phrases or words would be used in the Philippines.  i have friends who immerse their children in language classes, some who have posters up around the house of different things and what they mean.  but surely the fact that they live in an english speaking country should take the priority? 

when it comes to identity.  how much about their birth family and origins do i share and when?  tricky!  they need to and have a right to know.  as parents we have a responsibility to hold this information sacred and ensure that they know and own it. BUT .... WHEN?  when is it age appropriate to share?  how much and what age?  and what may be right for one will probably not be right for another!  and what about birth family contact?  and homeland visits?  how often?  when?  what age?

what about relationships.  should i be seeking out more filipino families?  we don't have very many filipino's in our lives .... is this going to be detrimental to our kids?  we live in a very monocultural area of suburban Australia .... and there just aren't many around!  would that natural engagement with their culture in the context of filipino families make a difference and be what is right?  should we make a dramatic shift in our ethnic cultural groups?

these are the questions that i wrestle with in my head and heart.  at the end of the day, the truth is that if i let them get to me i'd probably be one of the most wound up and uptight parents around.  i could constantly compare myself to other parents, wonder if i am doing "enuf" .... or i could simply rest in knowing that i am trying my best to engage my kids .... teaching them about the amazing culture and heritage they come from.  i have to remember that each family (including ours!), has to do what is best and right for them ... in the context of the day to day lives that we all live.

... and i must remember too, or perhaps most importantly, that my children are loved beyond all measure by their Heavenly Father .... who will provide them more security and identity than we as parents could ever do.  that their sense of identity as a child of God transcends any attachment to being Pinoy or Aussie.  and it doesnt' rest on me .... but our ever faithful God.  it doesn't mean that i shouldn't be diligent about answering these questions for our family .... but that i can rest in God at the end of the day and trust His wisdom in it all.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
I John 3:1

1 comment:

  1. as an adult adoptee born in the philippines and raised it the u.s, it warms my heart that not only have you begun to think about the lifelong journey of adoption but put it on a public forum!

    all of these questions have eluded many adoptive parents because of fear and denial.

    some of the answers will come from your children and will be trial and error on your part as the parent. trust yourself but prepare for the unexpected.

    it has taken years for me to reconcile my past though i have overcome what has haunted me thanks to the undying support and understanding of my afamily.