Are you attending a Heritage Camp with your adopted child?
Identity Development is one of the key elements for your adopted child to become a healthy, happy human being. Adoption complicates identity development in children and adolescents — it creates so many questions that the child tends to focus on who he/she is in relation to their journey rather than just who he or she is as a unique individual; “Who are my birthparents?” “What did they look like?” “Do I have siblings?” “How do I fit in with my family, my friends?” “Why do I have to be different?”
Adopted children (particularly internationally adopted children, transracial, biracial or any child that ‘looks’ different than his or her adoptive parents) often see themselves as different, out of place, unwelcome, rejected. If adopted children have difficulty establishing a positive self-image and trusting those that are closest to them, emotional and behavioral problems may develop.
As parents of internationally adopted children there are many things we can do to encourage a positive identity in our children:
- Birth country travel.
- Heritage camps.
- Joining clubs that are related to your child’s heritage.
- Celebrating culturally specific holidays.
- Being purposeful about integrating your child’s heritage into your household – establishing cultural traditions.
International adoptees benefit immensely from cross-cultural, age appropriate experiences. When your child feels “similar to” rather than “different than” others, it goes far in developing a positive sense of self.
So on that note … did I mention that it’s heritage camp season in Colorado?
We have an amazing local organization called Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. Since 1992, Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families (HCAF) has been supporting the healthy development of families formed by adoption. They promote the successful transition of adopted children into healthy, confident, well-grounded adults who are proud of themselves, their families, and their heritage. Whether your child was adopted internationally or domestically, HCAF helps adoptive families become part of a larger community “just like themselves,” with shared experiences, challenges, and opportunities.
If you are looking for ways to help your child develop a positive sense of self, consider attending a heritage camp and/or planning a trip to your child’s birth country – two of the most influential ways to impact positive identity!
- For more information about Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families go to https://www.heritagecamps.org.
- For more information about birth country travel go to www.motherlandtravel.com.
And when you are ready to explore your child’s birth country in a way that will positively impact their identity, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at www.calendly.com/bambi. I’d LOVE to help you design a trip that builds self-esteem and fosters rich cultural, as well as deep familial connections.
All my best to you,
Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/