Thursday, August 18, 2005

I learn something every day!

Last year, while teaching my students the "Family," theme, I had a couple students mention that they had two fathers, two mothers, or both. I laughed it off, assuming, in my western mindset, that the kids were from a broken family.

I didn't think twice about it until this year, when I introduced "Family" again and received another, overwhelming response of kids claiming two (or in some cases more) fathers or mothers.

This time it caught my attention, so I asked my Thai assistant and good friend Chu, (Wichuda Kaewphibool), "What is this thing about two mothers or fathers?"

It seems that some rather large Thai families, (some are incredibly large, with as many as twelve or more children), may offer out their children (some or all) to surrogate parents for certain days of the week, the weekend, or other arrangements.

Mae Bun Tum: Means second mother.

Por Bun Tum: Means second father.

As Chu explained to me, some families may turn their kids over to the second (or surrogate) parent on certain days, or whenever needed.

The second (surrogate) parent is most often a single woman, often divorced, who has no children, or has free time to spend, giving his or her time, affection, and knowledge to the greater good of the kids.

Although it isn't as common for children to have a surrogate dad, some do, often naming their surrogate father as their father, rather than the one who is most absent from their lives.



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