By Jenny Pope
(DALLAS, Texas) – Families traveled around the world and back Feb. 28 at the annual Adoption Heritage Day at Buckner Children’s Home in East Dallas. More than 88 people and 25 volunteers attended the event designed to help international adoptive families connect with their child’s culture and with each other.
“It’s so neat to see kids remember things from their culture and share it with their family,” said Debbie Wynne, director of Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services. “This event is truly a special time for us. Everybody gets to fellowship; it’s kind of like a big family reunion.”
Children and their families received a passport and boarding pass upon arrival, and were guided to travel around the world to experience the cultures of Ethiopia, Russia and China, with a short “layover” in Guatemala. Families listened to stories and watched puppet shows, created crafts and ate authentic international cuisine. They also watched a special Tae Kwon Do presentation and listened to the music of the Emmanuel Ethiopian Church’s worship team.
This year’s event was the first to combine Buckner and Dillon International families together, after the two adoption agencies announced their affiliation last November. Families in attendance had adopted from China, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Korea, India, Russia and Vietnam.
Wynne said that it’s important for families to embrace their child’s birth country as part of the entire family’s heritage because “their background is part of them. It’s important, and when families celebrate it together, it boosts their child’s self esteem.”
Paul and Kim Lester of Mount Vernon, Texas drove in for the event with their two adopted children from China – Vivi Jo, 5, and Max, 3. They just recently returned from China with their oldest daughter last November.
“We love coming to this; we’ve been looking forward to it from last year,” Kim said. “It’s great for them to experience different cultures and foods. I hope it makes them more proud of where they come from. I think things like this will help instill that in them.”
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Brooke Boyd, 13, older sister to 7-year-old Sasha, adopted from Russia, said the event was “very cool. I try to learn more about Russia on the internet. It’s really pretty and I like the language.”
Parents Angie and Randy, from LaGrange, Texas, said it’s difficult to try and incorporate Russian culture into their family’s everyday life. “There aren’t many opportunities for us where we live,” she said. The family hopes to travel together one day back to Russia for the full experience.
To learn more about international adoption through Buckner and Dillon, visit www.beafamily.org or www.dillonadopt.com.
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