According to a recent Washington Post article, the wave of Chinese adoptions in the U.S. peaked in 2005. Now many adoptive parents, concerned that their children might lose touch with their Chinese roots, seek a bridge to their birthplace through Mandarin:
“We’ve always believed that language is the key to culture – to Abby’s [age 8] heritage,” said her mother, Robin Lelyveld Newell. “These classes aren’t just about fluency. They’re about identity.”
The article identified adopted Chinese children as a rising demographic in Chinese language schools:
Across the country, there has been a surge in Chinese classes. More than 1,600 American middle schools and high schools now offer Chinese, according to the Center for Applied Linguistics, up from about 300 a decade ago. But the more pronounced increase is in private Chinese language schools, most of them run by non-profit groups.
In the Washington D.C. area alone, with its close-knit adoptive community, “more than 30 private Chinese schools now operate on weekends.” One example is the Cultural Language Arts Programs and Services for Non-Chinese Speaking Families in Rockville, MD, where Chinese adoptees fill 75% of the classes.
“It’s not just about the language. It’s about finding out what Chinese families are like. It’s about having a connection to the culture, period,” Caroline Schaefer [a parent] said.
To read the full article, click here.
To learn more about our Let’s Go Guang! Chinese for children multimedia learning kit, click here.