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Parents of adopted children grapple with native holidays

Louisiana parents, in addition to parents elsewhere in the country, that have adopted international children face a relatively unique dilemma. While these parents are raising their children in this country to be future citizens of the United States, many wonder if, and to what extent, they should keep the traditions of the child's native country intact. Some parents choose to celebrate their child's heritage while others opt to leave their native customs behind.

There is no right or wrong way to address this while raising an international child of adoption. However, it will be an issue that many parents of adopted children think about as we approach the Lunar New Year, the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese culture. Because this holiday holds such special meaning to millions of people, parents of children adopted from Asia may choose to address the occasion and celebrate the land in which their child once came from.

American parents of adopted Asian children will celebrate the 15-day holiday with varying levels of festivity. It begins on January 23, the first day of the Year of the Dragon. Some of the customs call for residents to hang red lanterns on their home or have dumpling-making parties.

One Louisiana mother of a 10-year-old daughter from China said she likes to think of her family as ambassadors of China. Like many parents, when they first adopted the child, they celebrated a lot of Chinese holidays and kept a lot of the cultures intact -- like decorations and food. As the child grew up, she and her husband drew back from incorporating the holidays in their annual celebrations, and instead, made sure to regularly discuss China to make sure the child always remembers where she came from.

Source: The Herald News, "Adopted kids are mini-ambassadors come lunar New Year," Leanne Italie, Jan. 13, 2012

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