Introduction to Cultural Adoption

Have you ever felt part of a culture, a people group, that you are not biologically connected to? It is a common experience, especially for adoptees, raised by parents from a different ethnic group. I, for example, was raised by my adopted parents, two children of Irish immigrants. Passing down her culture,the first song my mother sang to me was Toura Loura Loura, a famous Irish lullaby. She transferred Irish thinking, superstitions, and speech to me. I totally identified with being Irish.

When I found my birth mother and my biological roots eight years ago, I discovered that genetically I was mostly English, not Irish. I do have some Celtic blood but it is not predominant. I still feel more Irish than English, because not only was I adopted as a person into my adopted family, I was adopted culturally. My identity is Irish. I am an adopted Irish person. Not only did my parents adopt me, I was adopted by their culture.

Cultural adoption is a very valid concept, one that needs to be recognized as a tool for sorting out the cultural confusion that can occur in adoptees’ minds after reunion or at any other points of realization of cultural differences between themselves and their adopted family.

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