By Lisa Gallagher
I am the white parent of two adopted Asian American girls. As I have found in my experience as a parent, it is hard as a European American to understand, empathize with and skillfully parent a child of color with a different culture of origin as that child negotiates the challenges of social, adoptee and racial identity development.
I highly recommend learning from those who live the everyday reality of a non-dominant position in society. John Palmer’s presentation at the Gordon School on October 14th promises to be an opportunity for that kind of learning. A professor at Colgate University, Palmer will discuss cultural representations of Asian Americans, and speak about his own experience as an adopted Korean American growing up in a predominantly white environment.
Understanding the various cultural representations of race, class, adoption and non-US culture is invaluable in learning how to be a more attuned parent, neighbor, coworker, teacher or friend. Beyond the John Palmer presentation, there are a number of other local resources that assist with this learning with regard to the Asian American experience.
Below is a partial list of local resources that I can personally recommend:
– Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut Families with Children from China (groups.yahoo.com/group/FCC-RhodeIsland),
– New England Chinese Youth Summer Camp at Regis College (www.necysc.org)
– Asian Cultural Society of Cape Cod Annual Family Culture Camp (www.asiancamp.org)
– Way of the Dragon School of Healing and Martial Arts in East Providence (www.waydragon.com)
– China Care Brown (playgroups and mentoring programs at www.brown.edu/students/ChinaCare)
– The Chinese Christian Church in Pawtucket (www.cccri.org)
– The Confucius Institutes at both Bryant College and the University of Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut Families with Children from China (RI/MA/CT FCC) wants to include all multicultural adoptive families and offers a list serv for adoptive parents, cultural events related to important holidays, a biannual adoption-specific playgroup experience with other Asian adoptees and their siblings and a book club to network with other parents interested in ongoing study of these issues.
John Palmer on the Asian American experience
Wednesday, October 14th. 7pm
The Gordon School, East Providence
www.gordonschool.org, 401 434-3833
Lisa Gallagher is an interracial adoptive parent, child of an adoptee, and a psychologist with specialization in treating families touched by adoption, racism, and other diversity issues.