Happy New Year!

Adopting a daughter from China has some great added benefits, like looking into another culture and enjoying some of the traditions.

Understanding your roots and embracing tradition make you a better person and strengthens your family.

Adopting a daughter from China has some great added benefits, like looking into another culture and enjoying some of the traditions.

Last Sunday was the beginning of the New Year celebration in China, beginning at midnight last Sunday and continuing through the week.

This Sunday, we will visit Philly’s Chinatown to enjoy the Dragon Parade and some great food at our favorite restaurant.

We’ll stroll through the shops and purchase good luck charms and maybe a new silk dress for my daughter. We’ll probably learn a few new words. We already know my daughter’s favorite word -- Ching wa -- which is Chinese for frog.

The best stop on the tour will be to a market where some special candies will be purchased and popped into mouths before leaving the store.  

This year is the year of the Water Dragon. The neat aspect of the Chinese zodiac is that we as a family all get along with our respective representatives. Our daughter is the "snake." But when we originally found out our daughter’s birthday was in October we knew she was ours. Lots of exciting celebrations are in that month for our family.

Each year, we learn something new about her culture and will hopefully embark on learning Mandarin as a family this summer. We don’t want her to loose touch with her roots.

Her American grandfather is very tuned into this concept. While some members of his family refuse to acknowledge their roots, my dad introduces himself to almost anyone as a coal miner’s son from the Shenandoah Valley in Pennsylvania.

He really believes that instead of blood, anthracite moves through his veins.
I love this about my dad. When you embrace your roots, you tell the world your whole story. With my dad, he believes you should be impressed with just how far he has come in the world.

It also keeps your entire life in perspective. And in my father’s case, it gives hope to others who may have hailed from meager beginnings. It is important for everyone to understand where they come from. It strengthens one’s sense of identity.  

So while on the way to school these days, my 10-year-old daughter and I discuss the value of being a woman and how that changes in regard to where you were born. One day, I hope she will understand the whole story so that she can join in one voice with her "sisters" and ask how all of this happened.

Maybe through this understanding she can change the fate of other girls. It may give her a genuine or unique purpose for her life.

So it doesn’t matter what your family traditions are. What is most important is that you keep them close to you and celebrate what makes you … well, "you."

Take a moment and talk with your children. Then select a piece of your family history and investigate it. Or, even better, start a new tradition.

Wrap your family tree, no matter how different, around that!


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