Excuse me while I digress from all things moving related for a moment.
Recently I have seen comments from parents of new/older adoptees asking about Children’s Day in China. I have also seen some lamenting it. My purpose isn’t to judge or criticize or shame but to encourage adoptive parents to reconsider the holiday by providing some insight into how the Chinese celebrate Children’s Day, and perhaps even uncover some aspects of this holiday that can strengthen family relationships rather than cause distress and conflict.
As adoptive parents we are often reminded that incorporating our child’s culture into our family life is an important aspect of international adoption. To this end many, myself included, spend considerable time, effort, and expense on celebrating Chinese New Year and Moon Festival, two major Chinese holidays. What I have come to understand (realizing that practices vary considerably around the country and from orphanage to orphanage) is that the two biggest holidays for children in orphanages are Chinese New Year and Children’s Day. In fact, few children, unless they are in foster homes, will have much knowledge or experience with Moon Festival – it is a fairly minor event on the calendar. Celebrations of Chinese New Year may be elaborate with performances, red envelopes and special foods, or fairly simple non-events with visitors bringing extra bags of candy, oranges and peanuts. Many children will have fairly minimal understanding of what the holiday is about, and the actual New Year’s Day is often a very quiet one because much of the staff is gone to see their own families.
Most people think about babies when they think of Chinese orphans, and particularly baby girls. While hugging babies is always a good job to have, that isn't the group that has broken my heart and not just called, but truly driven me to do what I do. The kids that keep me up at night are teens and even a bit older (and I don't mean MY teens and twenty-somethings though they all have their moments!!). If you are curious, even a little bit, about the who, what, why, where and how of these young people who are a sometimes invisible part of the orphan crisis, watch this video.
If you want to dig a little deeper, take a look at the Older Orphan page for more information about the questions below. The answers may surprise you.
Yes, we are headed 1000 miles south to Hengyang in Hunan Province! I will be volunteering with International China Concern (ICC). Learn who I will be working with here and check back often for more information about the why, the what and how you can be a part of it all.
About This Blog
Part documentary, part family chronicle and part personal reflection as I try to sort through the ups and downs, the joys, heartaches and surprises of our life and work as we follow the path that God has set for us here in China!
Kristen to continue to adjust to college life and find good friends.
Donna to have wisdom in planning and implementing new programs for the youth and for financial provision to cover our expenses.