It is very important to us to make sure the boys recognize and appreciate their Russian culture. I know at this point they are too young to comprehend much, but we do try to encourage an interest in it. Some people think that there is no need to emphasize their Russian heritage since they are now Americans (although they do have dual citizenship so they are Russian-Americans) and look so much like us that nobody would ever assume they're adopted. This irritates me. Trying to ignore the fact that they're from Russia would be like sweeping the first year of their life and their backgrounds under the rug. I want them to take great pride in the fact that they were born in Russia. It's an incredible country with an amazing history and I'm glad that they'll be able to say that their roots are in Russia. I'm happy to say that S. can tell you that he is from Astrakhan, Russia and can even point out where Russia is on most maps. We have Russian toys, several Russian CDs, watch lots of Russian history specials, subscribe to a Russian magazine, and I've read countless books on Russian history, Russian authors, etc. We look at photo albums from our travels to Russia constantly. S. loves the picture of the castle in Moscow (St. Basil's in Red Square). I know this doesn't seem like a lot but we do try to encourage an interest in Russian issues and I don't think there is more we can do at such a young age. It's a fine line though; we want them to appreciate their background, but don't want to go overboard in promoting Russia history/culture. I don't want them to feel like we're constantly shoving Russia down their throats. I'll take their lead on it once they get older. If they show an interest I'll help them in whatever way I can. We do plan a trip back to Russia sometime when they're older, maybe in their teens.
Anyway, I was recently contacted by a woman who lives in our small town that has two children adopted from Russia. I was THRILLED to hear this; there are many children adopted in our area but I was unaware of any from Russia. She told me about a group of families with children from Russia that meet every couple of months in our general area. Yeah! It just so happens that they were having a party to celebrate the Russian Christmas on January 7th. So we packed up the boys and went to another Christmas party(an aside: the boys love that the Christmas celebrations are continuing for such a long time). We had a really good time. I think there were probably about 8 other families and lots of kids. The majority of the kids were much older than S. and M. though, which was a little disappointing, but they didn't seem to mind. I think it will be good for them to grow up knowing other children with similar backgrounds. Stu and I enjoyed talking with other parents about their travels and sharing our story. We'll definitely meet up with them again sometime in the next few months. I'm so happy to have found this group.