A sacred tradition
It’s time for a sacred tradition in our home: China Heritage Camp! Oh my yes. Around here, my daughter’s heritage is an important thing, which makes her heritage camp important as well.
See, my child left her birthland when she was only eight months old. And, try as we might, it’s tough to incorporate Chinese culture into our American lifestyle. Face it – my child is growing up American. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s vital that she have a connection to the Chinese part of being a Chinese American.
To that end, she goes to Chinese language, dance, music and cooking classes. She does crafts and hears Chinese legends and stories.
But perhaps more importantly, China Camp addresses what it means to grow up an adopted Chinese American. These kiddos are literally in a class by themselves. They were born in China, but are being raised as Americans.
For obvious reasons, this can lead to questions and possible taunting from their friends. They don’t look like their parents – or their peers, for that matter – and that can lead to questions or even teasing. China Camp may not have an app for that, but they do have a class that helps prepare our children for what might lie ahead. And that’s great reinforcement for what we try to do at home!
But the issues don’t end there. For some Chinese, Chinese adoptees aren’t “Chinese enough” because they aren’t being raised in a Chinese home with Chinese customs, food, culture, etc. For all intents and purposes, they’re “Americans” and this can lead to taunts and teasing, as well. China Camp prepares them to handle this too.
But the best part about heritage camp? It’s being surrounded by hundreds of children who are exactly alike. And not just in appearance. Sure they’re all Chinese – and that’s a sight to see in the first place. But knowing they are all adopted – that they all share basically the same story – takes your breath away.
Every year, we take a photo of all the campers – and every year I have to stop and compose myself when I see all those kids and think about how different their lives would have been if not for the miracle of adoption.
Yes, that’s the best part about China Camp – and any of Dillon International’s heritage camps. Our kids get to spend a few days with kids who are just like them. It’s a connection not only to their birthland, but the life they are living today. And that’s something important. Something sacred.