Last night we had our final class meeting for one of two of the summer classes I am taking. This class was COU 804, Counseling Diverse Populations. I wish everyone had the opportunity to take this class, and I actually think that some form of it should be required for all students. During the first class meeting our professor told us that this course was as a transformative course, because the students truly undergo a transformation while in the class. She could not have been more correct!
I wish I could put into words all that I learned and experienced, but I am not even sure if I have absorbed and processed through all the content at this time. The reading was intense, and I admit, I did not get to all of it, but what I did get to read was unbelievable. We had four text books. One book was The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. I had no idea what to expect when I picked this book up, but after I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. This book was about the Hmong people group, and one particular families struggle to care for their daughter within the American health care system, which is so different from their own. It was basically the story of the collision of two cultures, and the aftermath that resulted when neither group was willing to attempt to understand the other. It was such an eye opening experience in terms of the importance of attempting to understand different cultures.
Our other text books, Culture & Identity and Explorations in Privilege, Oppression, and Diversity, were personal stories and articles about the above topics- culture, identity, privilege and oppression- and the intersection of all of them. If you are interested at all in any of these issues, and hopefully you are, I would highly recommend these books. Though they are technically text books, reading them was more like sitting down with someone and listening to their story of how their culture has impacted their life.
I truly believe that the timing of this class and the timing of our adoption was all in God's plan. I had taken a whole year off from graduate school, and really wasn't sure I was even going to return. Upon returning, this course was a requirement, but only after I had taken two other courses this past spring. To have this class only a few months (hopefully) before the arrival of our son was simply a blessing.
I will share more in the coming days....