By definition, the term “third culture kid” (TCK) refers to a child who has been raised outside their parent’s culture for a major part of their developmental years. And I have three of them!
Ten years ago, while pregnant with our first child, we moved from Australia to the Netherlands on an 18-month-secondment. Two children and almost three years later, we moved to Singapore for a two year stint before finding ourselves back in the Netherlands. After another child and another two-ish years, we were moved back to Singapore.
The opportunity to live in different countries and cultures has been a fantastic experience for us, but our last move was more challenging than the others because my daughter was older. She loved her life in The Hague, had a great group of friends and uprooting her from everything she knew was difficult, despite the fact we were going back to a country she’d lived in before.
It was at this point I started wondering about how my kids would react when we eventually decided to move “home” to Australia? How would they feel? In reality, Australia is just as foreign to them as any other country. They’ve never lived there and been immersed in the culture. They go there for holidays and it’s a great place to visit, but what will it be like when they have to live there?
I started to overthink how I would handle my children’s emotional well-being when we moved them home. How will they react when we tell them? Will they be excited/angry/sad/looking forward to putting down roots?
So I started to write my own “self help” guide to repatriating my kids back to their country of citizenship. Going Home has became a chapter book from a child’s perspective about how the main character felt and dealt with the prospect of moving home.
At the time I started to write Going Home we had no clear idea of when we’d move back to Australia. But now I’m living every word of what I’ve written because we are going home.