In honor of National Adoption Day, November 21, Rage Against the Minivan's Kristen Howerton talks about why traveling as a forever family is important. With her two adopted sons and biological daughters, the Howertons travel around the globe as the ultimate family bonding tool.
It creates empathy for others.
Many people have noted that there was much more empathy and outrage for the terrorist attacks in Paris then there were for the people living in Beirut. A large part of this is that we tend to have empathy for people that we understand and are familiar with. Many people have traveled to Paris. Not as many to Beirut. My hope is that by traveling to places all over the world and exposing my kids too other races and cultures in their own environment, that my children will be empathetic to people across the globe equally. Traveling takes us out of the western-centric mindset, and helps us understand that people are people, regardless of where they live or how they dress.
It allows us to stay in touch with our child’s birth culture.
While our oldest is adopted from the United States foster care system, our youngest is from Hairi. We have already traveled back to his home country, and plan to do that throughout his life. While we take our best efforts at keeping him entrenched in Haitian culture in our home, the truth is that nothing compares to visiting a child's home country. We hope to take many more trips back to Haiti as he grows up. And we love that his siblings are gaining insight and understanding to his culture through these trips as well.
Instills a cultural and global mindset.
Traveling helps my kids be curious about the lives of others. It has helped them be more adventurous eaters, it has helped them have a greater appreciation for art and architecture, and it has helped motivate them to try learning other languages. Getting outside of our own culture helps us appreciate the cultures of others.
It bonds us together as a family.
Traveling with young kids isn't always easy, but we feel like it has become a part of the heartbeat of our family. Being a traveling family is a part of our identity. It is something that makes us feel close to each other, and it is an amazing shared memory for us as a family. We have so many fun stories of our traveling adventures, and even through the challenges, it is always something that strengthens our family bonds.
One of the ways we make traveling with kids easier is by renting with HomeAway. They’ve got an amazing selection of homes for rent around the globe (even in Haiti!) that allow us to spread out as a family and cook our own meals. It’s perfect for big families and a great option for prospective adoptive families as they travel to meet their new children. It’s a much gentler option for families than staying in a sterile hotel, and really does become a “home away from home.”