Around the time of each Lunar New Year, whimsical red lanterns hanging from corner to corner and the aroma of deliciously cooked dishes escape the house, hovering in the air to welcome friends and families gathering together. A vivid saying lingers in my memory, “有钱没钱回家过年 (yǒu qián méi qián huí jiā guò nián),” an endearing message about how we must return home each year to celebrate the new year regardless of whether we are rich or poor. The beginning of the new year is honored and celebrated in Asian communities all around the world, but I recently stumbled upon a different experience — that of multicultural adoptions.
In a video titled “Our Big Chinese New Year Celebration,” YouTubers Amanda and Stephen Miller share the celebration with their 4-year-old son Lincoln and 14-year-old daughter Penelope adopted from China in August of 2017. In a preceding video titled “Our Huge Asian Market Haul + Dim Sum (CNY),” the Miller family took a road trip to an Asian supermarket to shop for foods and ingredients for their 2019 Lunar New Year Feast. This grocery haul was no ordinary trip to the supermarket since it’s not every day that they get to experience an abundant selection of Asian foods. I think this moment speaks to a lot of Asians without the experience of living in ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown where Asian grocery is in abundance rather than just a single shelf at their local grocery store. The feeling is quite universal — the excitement over both familiarity and representation of another set of tastebuds.
Their appetizing feast includes Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao), Sticky Rice Dumpling (Zongzi), Shumai, Pork Dumplings, and Penelope’s absolute favorite: Dim Sum Style Chicken Feet. The preparation and consumption of the feast are truly shared in many heartwarming ways, each moment experienced together the way most people idealize this day to be. Some of the many special moments from these videos include their tradition of folding dumplings together, Stephen’s first-ever tasting of chicken feet, and the lively dining room table.
As a viewer, I think it is the empathetic and loving spirit they display that attracts their 473K subscribers. They have not only adopted four children from completely different cultural backgrounds (two from China; two from Ethiopia, Africa), but also given them a supportive and open-minded environment to grow in. It is common for many parents of adoptees to experience concern over the neglect of ethnic culture and tradition, but most viewers are expressing reassurance and praise for their truly exceptional efforts in making their home as inclusive as possible. Like many viewers alike, I hope they know that their kindness and thoughtfulness touch our hearts in many special ways.