My Asian Kid - Washington, DC — Resources
This is a web site of resources in the Washington, DC area (including nearby Maryland and Virginia) for families who have children adopted from Asia.
Here is my list of Summer programs for Asian and Adopted kids. Please let me know if you have others to add.
I have a list of events in the DC are to find ways to celebrate APAHM. I have 22 days of events listed, although some of these events are over a couple of days, so there are not actually 22 events.
It has been almost 5.5 years since I wrote a blog which encompassed our trip to Vietnam to adopt our son, Danny. I started a private blog a couple of days before we left and wrote it from all the hotels we stayed in, in Vietnam and then wrote one last post after we returned.
It was my first attempt at blogging and it was a last minute adventure. Five and a half years ago, people were still adopting from Vietnam. We met families from our agency who were waiting and somehow through word of mouth we got invited to read private and public blogs from adoptive parents as they traveled to Vietnam to adopt their child.
Danny started Kindergarten in the fall and a couple of people involved with the PTA asked me to be the Asian American Liaison for the PTA. I just didn’t think that a white person would be welcomed to be the liaison for Asian parents at school, so I declined. For one thing, Asians don’t all speak the same language and no one person can speak for all Asian cultures. I thought it was a job better suited for an Asian person. They have a African American Outreach Coordinator and an Hispanic Outreach and although I don’t know the people, I think they are probably African American and Hispanic respectively.
But things changed when I went to the February PTA meeting. They were approving changes to the budget and I was looking at the line item for promoting Asian culture. They had allowed $400 and since there was no one identified to chair the committee, they took away the money from that committee to use it elsewhere. Read Blog.
I first read the Washington Post headline of their review for Anime Momotaro and decided immediately I wanted to see this play at Imagination Stage. Then I read the whole review and was sure I had to see it. It is a Japanese Folktale, entitled “Anime Momotaro” which is translated to “The Peach Boy”; it has been adapted to the stage in the style of the Japanese cartoon style “anime”. Imagination Stage is a theater for children in Bethesda. Read Blog
Last year, after celebrating Lunar New Year (Tet actually) at Eden Center in Falls Church, VA, Danny asked what we were going to have (at home) for Lunar New Year Dinner. I guess at age 4 and after having read "Bringing In the New Year" for a couple years he expected us to have dinner just like the books, with family and dumplings. We actually had not celebrated at home at that point. We went to Lunar New Year's festivals, celebrations with our adoption group, celebrations with our adoption agency, Lion Dances, the Parade in Chinatown, and presentations in preschool, but we had not celebrated at home. Read Blog.
I have written a long lesson plan for teaching Lunar New Year / Tet to children in kindergarten and first grade. I used my original lesson plan for preschool and expanded it for early elementary school. I would love to hear back from readers who used it as a basis for their own teaching and what you added to it or changed about it. I want to learn so I can change my own lesson plan as I give it over the years. Read Blog.
Graveyards, Halloween and Adoption
November is National Adoption Month. Halloween just passed, and graveyards are always associated with Halloween. So how are these three things related?
In our family, there is a direct link between graveyards and adoption. We don’t have any information on Danny’s birth family, so it is not that kind of direct link. Danny loves Halloween. He loves (sort of) ghosts, zombies, vampires, skeletons and graveyards, as long as they are not too scary. This is not so different from other five year old boys.
Insiders and Outsiders
Our family has been going to Vietnamese festivals since Danny was about two. There is Thrung Thu Festival (the Autumn Moon Festival), various Lunar New Year celebrations and this year there was the first Viet Fest. We attend Chinese events, too. We try to expose Danny to Vietnamese culture in America. But the more we go to these events, the more it makes me realize that we are and always will be outsiders.
A Mother's Day Pre-K Spa
Mother’s Day started early this year. At Danny’s morning preschool, they had a Mother’s Day Spa on the Thursday before Mothers Day. It was held from 12:15-1:15 pm. Normally Danny goes to his special needs preschool at 12:25, so he does not spend the last hour of his morning preschool with his classmates, but instead takes a bus to go to his special needs preschool, where class meets in the afternoon and he receives therapy from a few different therapists.
Celebrating Lunar New Year - Part 2
We did so much for Lunar Year this year; I decided to divide it into 2 posts.
Danny actually attends two preschools a day! Yes, it is what his family has decided is best for him and it seems to be working. In the morning he attends a preschool for typical children and does the morning activities, eats lunch and then gets on a school bus (provided by Montgomery County Public Schools) and heads over to his afternoon preschool, which is a collaborative pre-K for 4 year olds with physical disabilities and their typical peers. Danny is one of the special needs kids.
Celebrating Lunar New Year - Part 1
This year was our biggest Lunar New Year so far. First of all, at 4, Danny no longer has an afternoon nap, which means lots of events which were not feasible at age 3 were quite feasible at age 4. We started going to the Lion Dance performances at Montgomery County libraries when Danny was 20 months. That year he got his picture in the Silver Spring Gazette while watching the Lion Dance performed by the Chinese Youth Club.
Year of the Dragon
So far I have 24 events, although some are multiple weekends of the same event. Am I missing some? Please contact me. There is an ongoing event at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg and other events at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax and Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick. There are Tet Celebrations, put on by different Vietnamese organizations. There are a couple of big Chinese Festivals. Montgomery County Libraries has always had a dozen or more Lion Dances or other celebrations in their libraries. Budget cuts has reduced that number. There are some listed, but there may be more. Some branches have put their celebration on the events calendar, but the library system as a whole is concentrating their efforts with the events listed in the Check Us Out brochure (page 5). For some reason they have not added those events to the online calendar as of Jan 4, 2012. And of course there is the Chinese New Year Parade in downtown Washington, DC. This year I have added some events in Frederick and Baltimore. So there are lots of places and dates to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.
Preparing for Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year comes early next year; it is on January 23, 2012. If you want to do a presentation at your child’s school on Lunar New Year, then now is the time to get it together.
I’ve been collecting stuff from Vietnam and China for use at Lunar New Year for the last couple of years. In January of 2008, we were in Vietnam right before Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year). The streets were all decorated with lanterns, the Lion Dancers were practicing in the park. There were shops which sold signs and lanterns and whatever else one needs for Tet.
Shopping for Asian Stuff
I thought I would write about shopping since I just updated the "Shopping" page of MyAsianKidDC.com to include some local places to shop for Asian stuff. It is far from complete and I’d love to hear from readers about your favorite place to find Asian stuff.
Finding Resources for Your Child
Where do you find find resources for your family about Asian culture? Before my son came home from the orphanage, I started shopping for books about Vietnam, Vietnamese families, holidays and cooking.
Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
I just got this book from Amazon. Grace Lin does beautiful illustrations and simple writing in her children's books of Asian holidays and culture. "Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival" explains in simple language about the traditions of the holiday. I also love her book "Bringing in the New Year".
September is the month to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. It is a popular holiday celebrated around the full moon in the eight month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. This year the full moon is on September 12, 2011.
It is a harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. So far I have found three celebrations for this holiday in the Washington, DC area. In the evening of Friday September 9, there is a celebration in Downtown Silver Spring, MD -- on Ellsworth Dr. This celebration is now on for Friday September 23, 2011 in downtown Silver Spring. The Moon Festival in Downtown Silver Spring was cancelled again, they will announce a new date soon. This is the only celebration which is actually in the evening. On Sunday September 11, in the afternoon there is celebration in Arlington. This is put on by a consortium of Vietnamese groups. On Sunday September 17, in the afternoon and early evening there is a festival put on by Eden Center, a shopping center of Vietnamese stores in Falls Church, VA. Check the Events page for more detailed information about these events.
Moon Cakes are served during the festival. You can probably buy moon cakes at your local Chinese or Vietnamese store. I'm still looking for a moon cake mold, so I can make my own moon cakes. Many of the recipes call for different seed pastes with an egg yolk inside each cake. I think I would prefer a chocolate moon cake, maybe with chocolate or cream filling, but have not been able to hunt down a mold.
Learn more about the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival from Wikipedia.
Culture Camp Part 2 - About Culture Camp
So what do you do at culture camp?
Most of the families had been to culture camp before. One of the reasons families go to culture camp is to connect with other families and for their kids to connect with other kids also adopted from Vietnam. I loved looking at all the different license plates in the parking lot.
Culture Camp Part 1 - Demographics and First Impressions
Danny and our family had our first experience at Vietnamese Culture Camp. We considered going last year, but decided to wait until Danny turned four to go to camp. And Danny turned four a few weeks ago.
Reflecting on Mother's Day
I had lots of time to reflect about mothers on Mother’s Day this year. I spent a good deal of the day painting redwood stain onto a fort/ swingset which we bought used from craigslist. Because this was a playset which spent 5 years taken apart on the ground, we had to replace many of the boards. My husband and son spent much of the day together sawing and drilling and fastening screws, while I was away on the driveway painting the roof of this huge fort. And even when I was in the yard with everyone, painting the structure, I was separated by wet paint.
Welcome Blogger Bonnie Gardner
Thanks to Bonnie for blogging about her Asian Kid on MyAsianKidDC Blog. Bonnie Gardner is mom to Owen, age 4, adopted from Binh Thuan, Vietnam, in August 2008. She, Owen, and Owen's dad live in Northern Virginia, where they spend as much time outdoors as possible. Bonnie is a media specialist for a large nonprofit in DC and often makes a white-knuckle drive to Owen's preschool minutes before it closes. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @Bbgardner.
Get Updates of News and Events on Facebook
A reader emailed inquiring about getting email updates about events on my calendar. I said I don't do email updates. I thought about it and decided to create a facebook page where I post events, both upcoming and recently posted and if I find it, news. You can also post your own news and events on the page. Just go to the page and "Like" it. Sorry no like button from this web page yet. I may get around to it.
Adoption and Asian Events
There are a couple conferences on adoption coming up and several Asian events too. Check out the Events page for more information.
I continue to search for news and events related to both adoption and Asian Americans. If you know of a news item or event, please contact me and let me know so I can post it.
Finding Your Family Support Group
In response to the article from A Parent In Silver Spring blog and the Wheaton Patch, the place to find your Parent/Family/Mom group is this page. It got a little buried when I expanded the Adoption information section. The group I started is for young children from Asia and is called DC-Metro-Playgroup-FCVCA (Families with Children from Vietnam, China, Asia). I wrote more about Famliy Groups on this blog entry.