China. It's important to him and important to us.
Still, we almost missed it.
Chinese New Year.
In the busy-ness of life, it's easy to overlook holidays I didn't grow up celebrating. We were out of town for a soccer tournament on Chinese New Year this year, so The Year of the Horse arrived unnoticed. There was zero fanfare that evening as we shared dinner at a Chick Fil A by the interstate. Red envelopes (for giving money to the kids) lay forgotten in a drawer back home.
On top of that, I almost forgot the annual Chinese New Year parade last weekend. Mike and Nathan were away on a campout, and Julia was spending the weekend with a friend. As I was getting ready for church, I remembered that the parade was on a Sunday in early February and quickly checked my computer.
Yikes! It would start in a couple of hours.
We were able to go to church and then join our Asian-American community downtown, just in time for the first float.
Dragons. Mardi Gras beads. Lots of free candy.
A whole sea of folks who looked more like Wenxin than they looked like me.
And an Asian meal that was to die for.
It was a great day.
International adoption is a tricky dance. On the one hand, I want to honor his birth culture.
But on the other hand, I don't want to constantly point out his differentness, making him essentially a life-long exchange student in our home.
I think what I'm shooting for is a little more nuanced. I want to see our family culture shift slightly and embrace more Chinese culture. It takes intentionality on my part, which means it doesn't always happen. But every time I make the effort -- like changing plans last minute to get Katherine and Wenxin to the parade last Sunday -- I'm reminded that it's worth it.
Recently, Nathan competed in The Ying Expo, a county wide science fair sponsored by Dr. Nelson Ying. At the Awards Ceremony, Nathan received second place in Computer Science. We were thrilled, and as we cheered and clapped, Wenxin had a question.
"Mom, where is Dr.Ying from?"
Back at home, we looked up Dr. Ying's bio online and learned that his family immigrated from China during The Cultural Revolution. They started a new life in America, building a successful business. Now, the senior Dr. Ying and his son (pictured above with Nathan) generously sponsor several science competitions in our area.
I was reminded that Wenxin needs role models who look like him.
Meeting successful Chinese Americans plants seeds of pride in his Chinese American heritage and gives him a glimpse of what can happen with hard work and perseverance.
It will always be important, because my son in Chinese.
And my family is still evolving, learning to embrace that truth and discovering what it means for us.
Sharing today at The Long Road to China.