Chinese New Year in an Adoptive Family

This is the Year of the Tiger.  Ten years ago, I would have only been aware of such a fact while looking at my placemat at a Chinese restaurant.  With the adoption of my two daughters from China, celebrating the Spring Festival (aka Chinese New Year) has become an annual tradition I embrace with enthusiasm.  We decorate the house, watch the lion dancers, and distribute lucky red envelopes.  The goal is to educate my kids about their heritage, hoping to instill pride in their cultural roots. 

Because they do not live with Chinese parents, my girls’ life experiences will differ significantly from most Chinese in China, Chinese immigrants to the U.S., and even Chinese Americans.  Others may look at their faces, assume they belong to one of these groups, and expect them to have some basic understanding of their heritage.  They need to have some way to navigate that experience without feeling culturally incompetent.  Celebrating one of the most important holidays in China, even if it is not a completely authentic celebration,  is one step toward that goal. 

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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Licensed psychologist in San Antonio, Texas.
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