U.S. families have adopted tens of thousands of children from other countries in the last decades (many of whom are sitting in our college courses).
International adoption is a great topic for a class or lesson on race and culture because, for international adoptees and their families, race, ethnicity and culture often do not line up neatly.
We recommend the Culture Review “Culture Goes to Camp” by Lori Delale-O’Connor in the Winter 2011 issue of Contexts to get a conversation going in your classroom about ethnicity and culture–and the challenges international adoptees may face with merging the two in their own identities.
To use this article in class, have students search the web and read up on culture camps like the ones discussed in the article and address these questions:
1) What types of activities are advertised on the websites? Put yourself in an adopted child’s shoes. How do you think a child would experience these “cultural” activities?
2) Imagine you adopted a child from another culture. Do you think that you would encourage activities like a culture camp? How important do you imagine it would it be to you to have your child “stay connected to his/her roots”? Why?
3) What culture do you identify most with? Is the culture of your ancestors important to you or present in your life? Did your parents encourage you to learn about it?