or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › Turkish/American family
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Turkish/American family

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a toddler with a Turkish man. We have never been married, and we all spend about 10-12 hours a week together. We have no relationship beyond co-parenting this child, but he's a great father and we usually get along well.

There will soon be an aunt, uncle, and 2 young cousins moving to the area, but otherwise there is no other family in the states.

I always thought it was very sad that people "lose" their cultural identity. I am all for people fully embrace being "American" and I certainly think everyone who wants to live here should adapt to our customs and respect our laws, learn our language, etc, but it is so sad that children and grandchildren of immigrants lose touch with their backgrounds. I don't think it is good that we become totally homogenized.

I had family come to the US on the Mayflower and in the 1700's from England and Scotland. But my baby's father has only been here 15 years from Turkey. I never paid much attention to Turkey before--thought it had a funny name, was famous for bath towels, and that was about it.

In the past 2 1/2 years since I met this Turkish man, I have taken great interest in Turkish history and culture. And the food is fantastic, for the most part. I just tried Tarhaha soup and I probably won't try it again, but I make "Turkish" food several times a week at my house. My baby loves it and it is as healthful as it is delicious (well, too much baklava isn't a good thing...).

I do NOT find the Turkish language to be very pleasing to the ear and we had a hard time finding a baby name that we both liked. I guess I have just heard more Spanish, French, Italian, or German and Turkish just seems really strange and there are NO words or phrases that are commonly used in English conversation or songs (like "adios!" or "c'est la vie" or "Ciao" or "danke schoen"). However, I have a strong desire to learn enough Turkish to have a meaningful conversation with my child's grandmother. We spent a lot of time together when she was here for a month-long visit and we did pretty well at making ourselves understood with gestures, etc. and we taught each other some words. Even more so, I want to be able to teach my child so she can talk to her grandparents. We can learn together, I guess. It is hard since we're not around native speakers much.

I'd love to get with some other mothers of kids who are Turkish or whose kids are bi-lingual and have a playgroup. I'm not sure how to find them, and I kind of would like to avoid making friends with wives of friends of my baby's father. He knows a lot of people in town, but I'm sure he doesn't know everyone, especially if they don't play soccer and if they don't hang out at coffee houses and restaurants. He's kind of protective of his friends and I don't want to intrude into that area of his life. We run into people he knows all the time and he will introduce the baby as his daughter, and me by name and will identify me as the mother of his child, but we don't socialize together beyond his visitation time with the baby, which is more frequent when he has family visiting. I do get the distinct impression that although I'm not a secret, he doesn't want me socializing with HIS friends.

Coincidentally, there was a Turkish woman who had a baby at the same hospital as me at about the same time. The nurse said the woman spoke no English and the husband didn't speak much, so it was kind of hard on everyone, but I think all went okay. I think that family had an older child, too, but I guess because of privacy issues, they didn't introduce us. I'd love to meet up with her sometime and our kids are exactly the same age--which is so cool.

I wonder if anyone has any suggestions on how to help my child revel in her "Turkishness"?
post #2 of 10
I am married to a turk.We have 8 and 11yo kids.The family has brought/sent music,books,games,and cloths. I cook some turkish foods. The evil eye symbol is popular.You can get some hair ties and clips with he eye on it.

Lol,what is it with family staying a month or more?I was expected to stay a month in Turkey,but 2 weeks would have been enough.I have had the in-laws stay 1-2 months at a time.Great family but I am not into hosting for very long.

Not sure what to suggest as far as meeting up with other mums that have a turk man.If you are raising your child in the islamic faith there might be groups in the mosque.There is also turkish cultural centers.We are not into either.

I have never had much of an interest meeting other families with a turk spouse.I have some very strong opinions about the turkish practice of circumcising young boys publicly,and have come across very strongly about it in the past.

I think the books,music,and food are a good start.My kids are not interested in learning the language beyong basic *need* words..bathroom,food,drink,sleep.And ofcourse I love you nene and dede!

I used to come across a lot of moms on message boards.Just keep posting on local boards,and someone will contact you.

Best wishes!!!!!

ps. I don't like that soup either.I do like borek and the veggie version of stuffed grape leaves.I am getting good at stuffing eggplants and zukes too.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

I have never had much of an interest meeting other families with a turk spouse.I have some very strong opinions about the turkish practice of circumcising young boys publicly,and have come across very strongly about it in the past.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I have some Turkish kids songs/lullabyes that are very nice and I have found a few bi-lingual books online--I bought 2 so far. I want lots moreTurkish kids' books, though!

The baby's Dad and I are both against the traditional Turkish circumcision practice. He has very bad memories of his sunnet--pain and bleeding. I am against circumcision all together and my ex-husband and I didn't circumcise my 11 year old and I'm glad. If this child had been a boy, he would have been circumcised in the hospital before bringing him home. "Cleanliness" is the reason, but I don't buy into that. It isn't any harder to clean a boy's natural genitals than a girl's---with all the feminine folds and crevices and all. And as far as reducing AIDS--I want my kids to live chaste lives with a chaste spouse so it hopefully won't be an issue and if my son makes the decision as an adult that he wants to have his foreskin removed to lessen the remote chance that he'll get AIDS or penile cancer, that's his decision, not mine. My ex-husband resents his parent's decision to "mutilate" him. But my ex complains about everything and if he WASN'T circumcised, he'd be complaining about that, too.

I'm curious.... how "public" is this ceremony? Do that "whack it off" in front of men, women, boys and girls? Do the take the child aside for the actual procedure? I know they have a big whoop-de-do over it. Do practices vary depending upon what part of Turkey you're in? I saw there are some videos on youtube, but haven't looked much.

I'm NOT into Islam, though I'd like to participate in Turkish Cultural Center activities if there were any around here. I think the nearest if about 4 hours away. I wonder if the mosque might be a good place to ask around to make connections, anyway.

Thanks for the comments!
post #4 of 10
Circ is often a public affair for the poor(er) folk. I have not looked at videos.The pictures years ago where enough to get me all ruffled.While in Turkey I looked at my dh's circ pictures,and he was in a bedroom surrounded by men.I am pretty sure about that.He came from a doctor family so they were well off.I think he got presents after the deed was done.He is still pro-circ.We don't talk about it because I simply can not talk about it politely without offending him,his family,culture,and nation.Looking back I know I probably would have cut my boy had he been born first.


I think I got rid of most of my turkish stuff otherwise I would mail it to you.Even if you don't want to connect with your turk mans(sorry don't know what to call him) friends maybe you can see if HE can get you turk related materials.He might be able to get a slew of things for the little one that his turk friends are getting rid of.


Anyone in his family you are in contact with?I know my BIL and SIL would probably send anything I asked for.They just love my kiddos.

Not sure how the religious folk will take to you.Then again I wasn't into religion but participated in activities at a church while I homeschooled.It is worth a try for sure!We are not a religious family,but if you asked dh he would say he was moslem.

How do you like TN living as a multicultural? People seem pretty open/accepting here in Ohio,BUT I have noticed some twits posting about the dangers of moslems becoming citizens.My dh recently went through the process,so it got me awful mad that others say he might be a terrorist because he is moslem.I guess you can get that just about anywhere though.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post
I think I got rid of most of my turkish stuff otherwise I would mail it to you.Even if you don't want to connect with your turk mans(sorry don't know what to call him) friends maybe you can see if HE can get you turk related materials.He might be able to get a slew of things for the little one that his turk friends are getting rid of.

Anyone in his family you are in contact with?I know my BIL and SIL would probably send anything I asked for.They just love my kiddos.

Not sure how the religious folk will take to you.Then again I wasn't into religion but participated in activities at a church while I homeschooled.It is worth a try for sure!We are not a religious family,but if you asked dh he would say he was moslem.

How do you like TN living as a multicultural? People seem pretty open/accepting here in Ohio,BUT I have noticed some twits posting about the dangers of moslems becoming citizens.My dh recently went through the process,so it got me awful mad that others say he might be a terrorist because he is moslem.I guess you can get that just about anywhere though.
What a great idea to see if his friends are discarding anything! I don't know how many of his friends have small kids, though. I know I met one couple with elementary aged kids. The wife was American and the Husband Turkish and although the baby was with us, and I talked to the wife, nobody said the baby belonged to us (she was about 3 months old and a secret). That couple knows now, though. On second thought, it would be against the Baba's nature to ASK, but I'll let him know that if anyone offers, to please take what we may be useful.

His mom brought me a headscarf (which I love, and I often wear tied at the back of my neck, not under my chin) and clothes for the baby from the family. Lots of hand-knitted vests and sweaters. But no Turkish books. I guess I need to make a request.

I don't know what to call him, either! I guess I could break down and call him my "boyfriend"--as that is easiest and that is what my son calls him. I ususally call him "the baby's father" but "Baba" may be good .

I saw some info on this forum about "messianic muslims" and I think that may be the answer to my dilemmna. I've been looking up more info on it. I want my child to know Christ as God's son, yet the Muslim customs might be nice to participate in. Her Baba Anne prays 5 times a day, wears long sleeves and carefully covers all her hair with her scarf and fasts OFTEN--not just at Ramadan. I just can't imagine life without knowing Jesus Christ as the son of God.

Baba is now a Turkish Citizen and Nashville is quite a melting pot. We have a TON of Kurds here--like 5,000, but lots of people from all countries. I keep running into Iranians, too and lots of refugees. Lots of Hispanics, too, of course. Rural areas are much less accepting, even of African Americans, still.

Yes, some people think ALL Muslims are terrorists.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnmom66 View Post
I saw some info on this forum about "messianic muslims" and I think that may be the answer to my dilemmna. I've been looking up more info on it. I want my child to know Christ as God's son, yet the Muslim customs might be nice to participate in. Her Baba Anne prays 5 times a day, wears long sleeves and carefully covers all her hair with her scarf and fasts OFTEN--not just at Ramadan. I just can't imagine life without knowing Jesus Christ as the son of God.
It is probably more reasonable to raise your child as a Christian with an awareness of Islamic practices and customs as a part of their family's heritage than to encourage your child to claim a controversial at best title which for the most part does not sit well with either Muslims or Christians.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
It is probably more reasonable to raise your child as a Christian with an awareness of Islamic practices and customs as a part of their family's heritage than to encourage your child to claim a controversial at best title which for the most part does not sit well with either Muslims or Christians.
Well, I didn't want to stick my child with that label. What you said is exactly what I had in mind. Mine is a Christian home and I am raising the child, but I've been asked to not say that I'm "raising the child as a Christian". It is up to her, ultimately, whether she decides to be a Christian or not, and that is what her father and I agree on. I don't see her identifying herself as a Muslim, "messianic" or otherwise. I just thought it was interesting that people who are dyed-in-the-wool Muslims can accept Christ as savior and find a way to not have to give up their traditional practices that might not conflict with Christianity in any way.
post #8 of 10
Ah. By "answer to my dilemma" I (obviously) thought you meant more that it would be a good name for your daughter's own religious practice as she grows older.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Ah. By "answer to my dilemma" I (obviously) thought you meant more that it would be a good name for your daughter's own religious practice as she grows older.
I see how it sounded that way, but I often speak while my thoughts are still muddled--a bad habit I need to work harder to overcome!!

Sorry! And thanks for your comments!
post #10 of 10
I would agree that Christianity would be a good option since you are the primary caregiver.When older your child will have the choice on religion and nationality.

Maybe just sticking with cultural stuff for now will be easier for you both,and then introduce the islamic religion when you feel it is a good time. I am glad we live in a country where choice is still tolerated!
Take care!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Multicultural Families
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › Turkish/American family