Rice with Everything

Exchange in the car with the kids one afternoon not long ago:

Son: “What’s for dinner?”
Me: “Meat loaf.”
Son: “What else?”
Me: “I don’t know, what do you want?”
Son: “Rice.”
Me: “Rice with meatloaf?”
Son & daughter: “Mom, we’re Asian! We eat rice with everything!”

There was something in their tone of voice that spoke volumes. And it had nothing to do with side dishes.

With those words I heard my children claim their Korean identities – not easy for two Korean kids with white parents who were virtually ignorant of Korea when they arrived. My husband and I had to learn fast, so we did the only thing we could – we jumped feet first into our children’s culture and community, taking them with us. And somehow (the "how" is another story), with the help of the many friends we’ve made along the way, we’ve managed to get here, to two confident kids who know they are Asian, Korean, Korean American.

This journey has been its own reward. For my husband and me, it has been an enriching, enlightening experience that has taken us out of our world into a culture that we would otherwise never have known. And for our children, it has been a journey to themselves.

Rice with everything is very good indeed.


Lisa V said…
I have read that taste buds are genetic. My oldest daughter certainly mirrors this, her likes and dislikes with food are closer to her birthmom's than my husband's or mine. My best friend's daughter was adopted from China. She adores kymchee(spelling?) and sushi and all food Asain. Her American born siblings wouldn't touch it.
Mama Nabi said…
Ha - LN is showing obvious leaning toward Korean food. And Indian food (she ate a whole samosa by herself, wanted more). There's definitely truth in the theory that what a pregnant woman eats affects the baby.

Of course, it's when they want to eat kimchi with everything... I remember making kimchi sandwiches with toast... that, I'm sure, makes some culinary 'experts' cringe!

You rock, Third Mom.
Julia said…
Taste buds are genetic... interesting topic! I think maybe food is just healing. The KADs I met who hate Korean food -- often hate Korea - hate their story -- and have wishes to eliminate KAD from their identity.

I just found your blog and I am loving it!
karen m said…
You guys sound like a wonderful, thoughtful family. It's nice to meet you.
Love it! I especially love how they are claiming their Asian identities and you are helping them do that. Beautiful!
away2me said…
What a great story. You've raised your children to be confident proud individuals. You must be a very proud mama!
Jen said…
This was an awesome story. My sister is also from Korea but came over at 7 months and knows just as much as we do about her heritage, which is nothing! Adoption is soo amazing!
Mo said…
Hmmm. Perhaps that explains it. I'm rather fond of rice in all forms and, yes, I probably would eat it for breakfast.

My sister is not so fond of Korean food though. She does like sushi.

Thanks for the story. It made me smile.
Margie said…
LisaV - I've been reading your blog, which I love - your writing style is beautiful, and you are so on the money about many adoption issues. Thanks for your thoughts!
Mama N - Kimchi on toast actually sounds pretty good to me, LOL. Although I'm not Korean, I have found that there's an addictive quality to Korean food, so even those of us who grew up without it can develop a dependency. Mine? Kojujang. I eat it with a spoon straight from the tub, like peanut butter, put it in soup, stir it into rice. Love it.
Julia, Karen - Thank you both. I've been lurking on your blogs recently, just found you both. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Daughter of 2, Mo - I've been reading you guys awhile longer, thanks also for commenting.
Away2Me, Jen - I'll be checking you out, thanks for your thoughts, too.

Thank you all for stopping by, I really appreciate your comments.
Lori said…
I'm a new reader and just catching up on your posts, but I really loved reading this. It's a good reminder that our children - biological or adopted - really aren't our own. My hapa daughter will be something that neither I nor my husband will understand completely, and that identity is hers to claim.

I'm really enjoying reading your posts - your honesty and introspection is refreshing.

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