August 7, 2023

Understanding the Cultural Impact of International Adoption

Understanding the Cultural Impact of International Adoption

As someone deeply involved in international adoption for years, I understand the excitement, nerves, and questions that come with this journey. One crucial aspect to grasp is the cultural impact of international adoption. Let's dive in together and explore why it matters and how you can navigate it with confidence.

The Significance of Culture in International Adoption

Defining Culture: When we talk about culture in international adoption, we're referring to the beliefs, customs, language, and traditions that shape a child's identity, especially in the context of international adoption.

Why International Adoption Matters: Imagine a child being uprooted from everything they've known—their language, food, celebrations, and more. Understanding and honoring their birth culture in the context of international adoption helps them form a strong sense of identity and belonging.

Several of our families have embraced the cultural aspects of international adoption wholeheartedly. Many of our families who adopted a child from China made a conscious effort to learn Mandarin phrases, cook traditional Chinese meals, and celebrate Chinese holidays.

Challenges in Navigating Cultural Differences in International Adoption

Language Barriers in International Adoption: Communication is key in any relationship. When adopting internationally, language differences can pose a significant hurdle in understanding your child's needs and emotions.

Social Customs and Norms in International Adoption: What's considered polite or taboo varies widely across cultures. It's essential to educate yourself on these nuances to avoid unintentionally causing discomfort or offense in the context of international adoption.

Religious and Spiritual Beliefs in International Adoption: Religion often plays a central role in culture, which is significant in the context of international adoption.  Christian parents have the opportunity to manifest the gospel for their children.  You have a tangible way to participate in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission!

Strategies for Culturally Competent Parenting in International Adoption

Education is Key in International Adoption: Dive into books, documentaries, and online resources to learn about your child's birth culture, especially in the context of international adoption. Knowledge is empowering and helps you navigate unfamiliar territory with confidence.

Build a Support Network for International Adoption: Surround yourself with a diverse community of friends, family, and fellow adoptive parents who can offer guidance and understanding along the way, especially in the context of international adoption.

Incorporate Cultural Practices in International Adoption: Whether it's cooking traditional dishes, celebrating holidays, or learning native songs and dances, find ways to weave your child's culture into everyday life, especially in the context of international adoption.

Benefits of Embracing Cultural Diversity in International Adoption

Enriched Family Life Through International Adoption: Embracing cultural diversity adds depth and richness to your family's experiences, fostering a deeper connection with each other and the world around you, especially in the context of international adoption.

Stronger Identity for Your Child in International Adoption: By honoring their birth culture, you help your child develop a strong sense of self and pride in their heritage, especially in the context of international adoption.

Building Empathy and Understanding Through International Adoption: Exposing your family to different cultures cultivates empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity, essential qualities in today's interconnected world, especially in the context of international adoption.

Resources for Cultural Education and Support in International Adoption

Adoption Agencies for International Adoption: Seek out agencies specializing in international adoption that offer cultural competency training and support services.  We have several blog posts on this subject.

Workshops and Seminars for International Adoption: Attend cultural competency workshops and seminars to deepen your understanding and connect with other adoptive families in the context of international adoption.

Online Communities for International Adoption: Join online forums and social media groups where you can exchange experiences, seek advice, and find support from others walking a similar path in the context of international adoption.


Understanding the cultural impact of international adoption isn't just a nice-to-have—it's essential for creating a nurturing and inclusive environment for your child to thrive. Embrace the journey, be open to learning, and remember, you're not alone on this incredible adventure. As you embark on this life-changing journey of international adoption, may you find joy, fulfillment, and endless love in building your multicultural family.

Daniel Nehrbass PhD | President

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