Michele Fried is the author of Creating a Cultural Continuity Plan for Our Children, an article published in several adoption trade magazines including Adoption Today’s October 2010 Edition. (See pages 38-40.) Adoption Today is an online magazine about domestic and international adoption. Michele is also a frequent speaker on cultural diversity, cultural competency and developing cultural continuity plans for families and organizations. The Adoption STAR staff is representative of the culture at all levels of the organization. Additionally the Agency believes (even as a non profit themselves) that diversity includes acknowledging the reciprocal nature of relationships and is always working to “give back to other organizations.” The Agency’s programs exemplify cultural preservation and celebration. Language translation services are provided, particularly in assisting and advocating for families whose first and/or primary language is not English. And finally, in the field of adoption, Adoption STAR is one of a kind when it comes to it’s strong philosophy that they work to find families for children, not children for families. It is an important distinction and one that resonates while promoting the creation forever families.
By using a set of principles, Michele introduces how organizations can become more culturally competent. Michele also shares with parents to be what they can do now to be prepared to raise a child of a different race and ethnicity. Cultural competence is not about being colorblind or being diverse, it is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures while being aware of one’s own cultural analysis. While many will look at the term specific to transracial adoptive readiness, Michele prefers to extend cultural competence to include a respect for people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.