Honoring Your Child's Birth Culture


Children adopted from another country or another culture within the U.S. need to understand and feel a connection to their heritage. Adoption experts and adoptive parents share advice and stories about honoring a child’s birth culture.

Books and articles to help explain racism to kids

Books and Articles for Introducing Race and Racism to Children

Books and Articles for Introducing Race and Racism to Children

Want more resources on instilling a positive racial and cultural identity in kids, educating kids about racism, and learning more about your child's ethnic heritage—and the stereotypes that accompany it? Start here.

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A baby smiles in her crib

“Bagels and Pho”

Was there a recipe for raising my daughter from Viet Nam? Holding her in my arms, I discovered that love was the prime ingredient.

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author Shelly Gill Murray with her husband and daughter on their trip to Colombia to meet their daughter's birth mother

“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia

We set off on the 3,400-mile journey to meet my daughter’s birth mother in silence, our questions too big to put into words. In Colombia, communicating through an interpreter, but also through smiles, tears, embraces, and shared sensory experiences, all of us began to find answers.

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A family looks at a map, symbolism for taking a heritage tour.

AF’s, Complete Guide to Heritage Travel

Heritage trips help children discover their past — and inspire who they'll become. Help your child prepare for the journey with these expert-tested tips.

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AF Interviews Melissa Fay Green

Interview with Melissa Fay Green

The adoptive mom and critically acclaimed author talks about her adoption of two brothers from Ethiopia, the AIDS crisis in Africa, and Haregewoin Teferra, the foster mother at the center of her book, There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children.

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A woman embraces three children on a heritage travel trip to India

Journeys of Discovery

A homeland trip can help kids connect "where I come from" to "where I'm going." Having traveled with thousands of adoptive families, I'm delighted to share my thoughts on the impact of homeland travel on identity formation.

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Two girls read about their birth culture together

Reading List: Learn About Your Child’s Birth Country

These books can help your child connect with her birth culture. Add your family's favorites in the comments!

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The Opher Shapiro family

“Our Journey to China to Adopt Our Daughter”

We left our house this morning a family of three, but the next time we walk through our front door, it will be as a family of four.

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author Lena Choudhary and her family on a trip to her daughter's birth country

“Race…and Starbucks”

My parents were immigrants from Germany and India, my husband also comes from a mixed background; we have one biological child, and one adopted from South Korea. What makes my daughter Korean? What makes her American?

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A festival for Ganesh seen during a transcultural adoption

“This We Believe”

We're committed to raising our son in our religion, but we won't let his adoption erase essential parts of who he is.

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An Asian child undergoes TB tests before coming to the United States

TB and Adoption: What Parents Needs to Know

Many think of tuberculosis as a thing of the past, but it's one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Here, learn what TB tests your adoptive child might need.

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Three children sit on a swing.

8 Smart Diversity Strategies

Use these tips for building cultural diversity for children in your family, community, and school.

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An airplane a family took on a visit to their daughter's birth country.

“A Visit to My Daughter’s Homeland”

Our trip to her birth country gave my daughter a picture of her early life. She discovered that she was, and had always been, real.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Encouraging a Cohesive Racial and Cultural Identity

“We have always tried to make sure our internationally adopted son feels proud of his heritage. This year, when the class was writing about Thanksgiving, he asked if he could skip the assignment because people from his birth country do not celebrate Thanksgiving. I know I need to talk to him, but I’m not sure where to start.”

A child toasts marshmallows at culture camp

Should I Send My Child to Culture Camp?

"My child is approaching an age where I am thinking about sending her to culture camp. Is this something I should pursue or not?" Our panel of adult adoptees responds.

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Visiting My Daughter's Birth Country: Honduras

“Amanda’s Journey Home to Her Birth Country”

"You belong to two heritages-Jewish and Latin American-and at this special time in your life, when many Jewish families travel to the Mideast, we're heading south." More than a few heads turned when I announced this in my speech to my thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.

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"Committed to honoring our children’s African American race and culture, we buy lotion for every room in the house and spend a small fortune on hair products…"

“Keeping Up Appearances” – Our Skin and 4C Hair Care Routine

As the parents of four black children, we drop a small fortune on lotion and products and build time into our schedule to style their hair, all the while questioning whether we know what we’re doing. A recent conversation offered some much-needed reassurance.

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The Recommended Post-Adoption Screening Tests

Post-Arrival Medical Evaluations

Your guide to identifying medical problems common to internationally adopted children.

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