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Adopting a First Nations child: becoming a transcultural family

For our family, welcoming our First Nations daughter was a gratifying experience that not only altered our family structure but also our cultural structure. I am aware of the many hardships that members of Canada’s First Nations have endured, but becoming a transcultural family opened my eyes to the ongoing effect this has on the acceptance of interracial adoption within First Nations communities.

Keeping our daughter connected to her community and culture is extremely important to our family, but it isn’t always easy. There is a lot of mistrust between Canada’s First Nations and the Children’s Aid Society, a mistrust that was instantly transferred onto me and my husband. The key to being a successful transcultural family is perseverance. We have faced many roadblocks in our attempts to ensure her connection to culture and community but, in the best interests of our First Nations child, we have continued to reach out to community members and supports. Our goal was (and is) to continue to connect with members of her First Nations community that not only support her, but that also support our family as a transcultural family.

Supporting a child’s First Nations culture does not simply involve purchasing books and music from or about the culture; it requires a genuine connection between the entire adoptive family and the community. For us, this means attending community events, making healthy connections with community members, and integrating as much of the First Nations culture as we can into our daily family life. Our hope is that by keeping our entire family connected to the First Nation’s culture we will foster in our daughter a desire to deepen her connection as she gets older. Our journey as a transcultural family has introduced us to new family traditions (planting the three sisters), new medicines (white sage, cedar), and a deeper appreciation for the cultural diversity of all of Canada’s First Nations. Become a foster or adoptive family. Safe Children, Bright Futures (519) 455-9000 x777 www.caslondon.on.ca You have the power to change her future. She has the heart to transform yours.

Yvonne is a foster parent for the Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex and birth mother of two children.


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