We love that our children are Asian Americans! Celebrating their Chinese heritage is a bright spot in our lives. We are white adoptive parents; parenting someone born into a different heritage has been a remarkable experience. Our eyes have been opened to so many new things since becoming a transracial, multicultural family.
Look for Role Models
Whether it is on a national or local level, we constantly look to point out Asian influences. We get into movies, books, shows, music, and theaters that involve Asian people. We also look closer to home to find strong Asian voices for our kids, such as friends, doctors, church members, mentors, and business owners. We often hear about adult people of color not seeing people who looked like them when they were growing up, whether in their community or in the movies. Therefore, we are fully committed to making Asian influences proudly visible for our children, both in person and through the ever-constant media.
Look at this great list of stories about the Asian American experience!
The Arlington Library has some interesting resources as well. Learn about making dumplings, origami, and making boba milk tea!
Check out Netflix for their Asian American & Pacific Islander Stories. Hulu also has a great list! In particular, on Netflix my kids love watching Over the Moon.
On Hulu, they love Abominable.
On Amazon Prime, they enjoy Ni Hao Kai Lan.
Another way that we find role models is by trying to shop Asian, honestly. We love when we can go to stores, doctors offices, and events we know will be run by Asian Americans.
Celebrate Cultural Events
There are a few special days celebrated in China that we have taken to celebrating here with our children. We make the best memories!
Lunar New Year is a big one. We try to go all out, both at home and in the community, to make this one special. Red decor, delicious homemade food, lanterns, dragon dance, music, Chinese friends, and lion dance. We enjoy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in the fall as well. And Children’s Day has been a special thing to add to our calendar! (Side note: I remember asking my parents for a children’s day after celebrating mother’s and father’s days. The funny and pretty accurate answer was that every day was children’s day! Even so, I really like treating the kids on this day!)
Here are some great places to visit this summer with the kiddos:
Grand Prairie has the grand opening of Asia Times Square from May 22-24!
Also, don’t miss the DFW Dragon Boat, Kite, & Lantern Festival in October!
Cook Chinese Food
We get legit, especially around Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. But, any time is a good time for dumplings in our house. Our kids love no food more than Chinese food because of it! When Americans think of Chinese food, we tend to think of the Americanized fast food version. However, dig a little deeper and you will find a world of deliciousness!
Asian-influenced food is the key to my children’s hearts. Here are some sites we like to pull recipes:
- The Woks of Life.
- Life is incomplete without these Scallion Pancakes!
- Damn Delicious delivers the goods as well.
We love to drink boba tea or have some jasmine tea with the kids. Restaurants around our area provide more than enough deliciousness if you don’t feeling like the adventure of cooking it yourself.
Bedford: MoMos N More for Himalayan & Nepalese.
North Richland Hills: Rolls & Sushi Gokoro for Japanese.
There’s also a wonderful DFW Chinatown with dining, a market, and desserts/coffee in Richardson. Enjoy Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Taiwanese restaurants and the impressive Chinese statues that teach us more about the culture. Plano also has another Chinatown area if you want to explore even further.
Learn About Other Cultures
We teach our kids to take a curious approach to learning about others. Rather than judgment, we model openness toward other ways of doing things in other parts of the world. Not only will it make an impact on their desire to be educated, but I believe it will also help them to see their own cultural differences as a blessing. I’d rather not my kids feel as though they need to hide what makes them beautifully different, so of course, I want to show acceptance to all kinds of people who live in our big, wide world!
Value Asian Forms of Exercise, Dance, Art, and Martial Arts
Tai chi, tae kwon do, karate, and aikido are a good place to start. These disciplines are respected and honored in our home. We find ways to give the children these outlets if desired. We put up Chinese art all over our home and enjoy exhibits that honor Asian influence. The Crow Museum usually has a big festival for Lunar New Year that includes dance!
Listen, as a kid I remember kids being mocked for being different wh. Hopefully it doesn’t happen quite as much as it used to, but I know it still occurs. If I can root my kids in so much pride for their heritage and uniquenesses, then those moments hopefully won’t be as much of a blow. They might actually allow my kids to appreciate their heritage even more, as they see that others might not relate to having strong roots. I also like to prepare my kids for questions about their ethnicity by ignoring comments, using humor, walking away, or educating the other person. Giving them choices and ideas for what to do when negativity/bullying occurs has been empowering for all of us!
To summarize, I have only hit on the small corners of the AAPI heritage local community that I am aware of. There is so much more! Research Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Philippines and Samoa, Singapore, Hawaii . . . the list goes on! Teach your families some incredible things about AAPI heritage using this AAPI Heritage Month site with online events.
PBS has also created a wonderful site with more than 40 films available during the month of May. Parents.com has given us many resources for this month, including fun activities and how to teach kids about AAPI culture.
Wow, the Internet has opened up the door to our learning. Let’s enter it! And let’s bring our kids.