Jude’s “culture”

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During Jude’s post placement visit this past week I was asked what I am doing to preserve Jude’s culture.
While I learned quite a bit about Jude’s birth country while we were there I consider Jude’s culture to be that of the Roma, since Jude is Roma and she spent the year before the adoption living with her foster family who was also Roma.
So what do I know about the Roma? I was given a brief insight into her life at her foster home from her foster mother (which has been invaluable information) and I have found a few (precious few) resources on the internet.
I would love to know more. One day Jude will have questions and I want to have the answers for her. I want her to be proud of who and what she is because we live in a place where being Roma isn’t a bad thing.
But where Jude came from…it was.
The discrimination was so terribly rampant while we were there we were shocked.
How do I keep her culture alive when right now it seems that her culture is all about surviving the oppression of others? How do I (a non Roma person) instill that self esteem and pride in my child when I can barely find information from Roma individuals.
I worry that (from what I have read) her adoption has basically cast her out of her Roma culture, because I am not Roma as well.
I try to learn and understand as much as I can so that when the questions come I will be ready.

So if you are wondering, I took the easy road and said all the Bulgarian things that we are doing. I am not sure that there will ever be Roma things. per se. Maybe that is just trying to keep the day to day life as similar to life in her foster home.

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3 responses »

  1. I am an American currently teaching English in Bulgaria, and I can attest to your observation that there is a negative stigma attached to the Roma people and culture here. That being said, I applaud your efforts to instill both Bulgarian and Roma culture and values. Good luck in your search for more information!

  2. I am adopted. When I was a teenager, my parents sat me down and explained the choices my birthmother made that led to my conception. The details weren’t pretty but they felt I was old enough to know. There are some great documentaries that you could show Jude when she’s older. You could even show her in a few years Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. As for right now, you can just tell her she’s Roma and just like she is a Maine girl by camping outside, Romnies also camp outside.

  3. I am a Bulgarian raised in the US and can definitely be a resource for you when it comes to preserving your child’s Bulgarian and Roma culture. Perhaps it would be helpful to think of it this way: she might be ethnically Roma, but she is still a Bulgarian citizen and just as you are trying to get her excited about Halloween (yet her third cultural identity) introducing her to Bulgarian culture as a whole will be quite valuable and will certainly help her brake the stigma one day. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.

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