05 March 2007

Not necessarily TCK...but CCK.

TCK=Third Culture Kid: a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture(s). Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.

CCK=Cross-Cultural Kid: is a person who has lived in—or meaningfully interacted with—two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years.

A woman named Ruth van Reken (an author and an adult TCK) has a site on CCKs, in reference to the similarities and differences to TCKs...it was about people who fit the idea of a TCK but don't fit the lifestyle (like didn't move to other countries). And at the end there was a survey on multiculturalism and for the hell of it, I took it. She wrote back today and said that she was excited that I responded, because mine was one of the first surveys she had gotten back that was "true" CCK (cross-cultured kid) that was not also TCK (third culture kid). She says CCK applies more to international adoptees, children of immigrants, and refugee children, the main difference being that TCKs usually know they will return to their country or culture of origin (or parents' origin) but CCKs usually don't.

So anyway she wants me to write some life experiences specifically about growing up between cultures and how that affected me then, how it affects me now, etc. She's currently writing a book and says that there are more CCKs than TCKs and there's a need for specialised research. The site says TCKs usually know that they are TCKs, because of transition seminars and culture camp and such, but CCKs don't...they are just expected to assimilate. So I got her information and all...I know it might sound dumb but it feels good to have an understanding, and to know I'm not alone in feeling so out of place, even if no one else seems to understand, or even believes that it applies to me.

And I'll admit, that is an issue...my mom told me it doesn't apply. I doubt my siblings really feel as strongly as I do over it. And my dad, although incredibly understanding over our adoption talk months ago...well, I guess at this point I'm afraid of being told I'm silly and overdramatising it. Tannah understands; maybe not completely but he empathises, at least. I'm told that multiculturalism wasn't prevalent in my life while growing up; maybe not outwardly, but I did identify alot with the German aspect of my birth heritage and it was difficult to adjust when I renounced it upon being adopted when I was fourteen. I didn't say anything then because I felt I had no right, that I should be happy to renounce as I was so wholly accepted and loved otherwise, and part of me wanted to just forget everything from Before. I buried it instead. It's incredibly confusing and hard to explain, and I don't expect most to really understand (seeing as I can't come up with an adequate explanation) but...it just is. In fact, very few have ever been able to really understand it except people I've met who've been in similar situations.

I hate talking about things like this because I feel like a traitor. A silly, ungrateful traitor. Believe me, if I could erase my childhood and start over at my adoption, I would. But I was too old already. I can try to forget all I want but it's still there, just buried. I can't wear a mask forever, as much as I'd like to try. And yeah, I really hate how whiny-princess this sounds. But after sitting here so long, I really can't think of another way to write it.

For anyone who feels they may fit into the category of a CCK (or TCK for that matter), read the information presented here, and then please consider filling out the short survey...for the sake of research and understanding!

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