Euro-American Parents’ Socialization for the Multiple Identities of Children Adopted from China

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Abstract

This study examined how 14 Euro-American parents, including 7 fathers and 7 mothers, address challenges associated with the socialization of 17 children adopted from China. The parents discussed successes and challenges related to ethnic and racial socialization for the development of healthy self-concepts and identities in their children. A conventional content analysis of individual qualitative interviews revealed that parents identified 3, interrelated aspects of the children’s identities and engaged in 3 types of activities that demonstrated elements of cultural competence: Supporting the Identity Aspect, Creating Communities, and Addressing Challenges. For their children’s Asian American Heritage, the parents supported the children’s Asian heritage, made connections with other Asian Americans, and helped the children deal with discrimination. For their children’s Adoptive Heritage, the parents communicated openly about the adoption, formed peer groups with other adopted children, and coped with insensitive comments from strangers about the adoption. For the children’s Euro-American Heritage, the parents encouraged development of a strong sense of self, sustained relationships with diverse peers, and worked to minimize tensions between their children’s Asian American and Euro-American heritages. The results revealed areas of strengths and limitations in the parents’ competence for supporting the interrelated aspects of the children’s identities.

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