How do we choose what themes and items go into the boxes?
The simple answer is that we ask people to share their stories.
We speak to adoptive parents and hear about the things they’d love to know/have/do/give but struggle to access. And we speak to the [now] adult adoptees who talk about the value of on-going connection with their birth culture.
We speak to Chinese children, many who are the same ages of our adoptees. Peers. They tell us what they love; what they’re learning/eating/wearing/reciting… They give us a precious glimpse into what it’s like to be a Chinese kid growing up in China.
We speak to adults of different generations — aunts, grandpas or teachers. They tell us what the most important stories and habits are to pass to the younger generation.
And we talk to returning Chinese students who’ve studied in the West. They point out the differences between the two cultures; the things people who have only lived in one culture wouldn’t think to question. They help draw our attention to those all-important gaps and subtleties.
The willingness of people to engage and share is humbling. There’s an incredible shared purpose – a desire to point out the most beautiful aspects of China to the children who were born there.
(…and if you’re reading this you may be thinking; “Hearing peoples’ stories and being immersed in the beautiful parts of China? She has one of the best jobs in the world!”. It’s true. I really do.)