25 March 2011

Transracial Adoption Video - My Thoughts

A few posts back I shared a video titled "Transracial Adoption: ColorsNW February Story". I actually watched it before we adopted and thought it very insightful. The first time I watched it I thought it was against transracial adoption. Each time after that I gleaned more and more from it and now consider it to be a good teaching tool for transracial parents and potential transracial parents.

It has made me realize even further how much we need to include people of other races into our daily lives. DAILY lives. Not an African dance concert every three months. Not a book that we read now and then. DAILY lives. It will take time for me to learn how to do this, and I am glad to be able to start when my children are so young. Follow me in my journey.

A big thing that I'd like to do is become friends with a family who has an African American adult in it. That sounds tricky to me. I don't want to become friends with someone just because of their race, but I do want to do what's best for my child. Plus, I honestly know of zero, ZERO African American adults where I live. Occasionally I see an African American adult in a store, but how do you walk up to someone and say, "Hey! My child needs a black role model! Think we can be friends?"

Another thing this video helped me to realize is that I need to be clear about the fact that my children can talk to me about anything, ANYTHING at all. For different children the way I do this will need to be different. For one saying it may be enough. For another I may need to gain his or her trust. For another I may need to be the one to take the time to initiate the conversation. However it needs to be done I need to make sure it gets done.

Then there's the part of the video which brings up how some African American people are against whites adopting blacks and how some African American people view it as cultural genocide. Hmm. May I quote from the library of adoption.com:

"Opponents of race matching contend that the numbers now seem stacked against the possibility of same-race adoptions. Of the estimated 500,000 children in the U.S. foster home system, more than half are minorities. Of those available for adoption, 40 percent are black, although blacks represent only about 13 percent of the general population. What is more, according to the National Adoption Center, which keeps track of so-called hard-to-place children, about 67 percent of such children are black and 26 percent are white, while 67 percent of the waiting families are white and 31 percent are black."

These children need families. Period. There are many, many more non-adopted African American than there are adopted African Americans. The culture is safe.

The Korean girl in the video mentions that she would almost forget that she was Korean and then look in the mirror and be surprised. This should not happen. Do children need to be thinking about their race 24-7? No. Do children need to be taught about their racial background and feel comfortable enough with their race that they accept it and are not surprised when they look in the mirror? Yes. How do we as parents accomplish that? Little things every day that I am still learning about. Learn with me.

The woman who identifies herself as multi-racial mentioned that people expect her to have a knowledge of racial identity and that when you're adopted you go out and learn about it and that sometimes she felt like an impostor. Teach your children. Teach them about their racial identity. There is good and bad to every racial history. They must learn the good and the bad, but focus on the good.

The white mother who adopted three black boys mentions having to teach her kids about racism and how as a black man people will assume certain things about him. This is the truth and it breaks my heart. Reminds me of the white privilege list link I posted a while back. Reminded me of the part of the list that says that basically says a black man cannot go to the store wearing yard-work clothes without people making assumptions about the poverty of his race. How true! how horribly true! How do you explain that to your precious, innocent child?! But we must. I would hate for my child to be confronted with this mindset without preparation. I would hate for my child to be confronted with this mindset at all, but it will happen. In fact, it already has. Another post.

About raising a child of color in a predominately white neighborhood where he or she will be one of only two or three children of color at school. Hits home. I worry about it. I lean on the fact that so many of our neighbors are adopting black children, but I really don't know if that's good enough. She'll still be one of the less than five. I think on it every day. I have not yet decided what to do about it. I agree it is not best.

Good point about young adoptees needing to be in contact with adult adoptees. I'll work on that.

Good point about what if we lived in a community where we were the only white parent in teh neighborhood. It would be tough. Why should we expect our children to do it?

"While love and stability is the core... there is a duty to provide beyond that. It's false to believe that you don't need to provide those things for your children." Amen sista!

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  1. Great to see you tackling some difficult subjects. I am a tranracial adoptee, author, and speaker and encourage TRA families to talk about the tough stuff.
    You can find out more about me and my book, GROWING UP BLACK IN WHITE, my memoir of my experience growing up as a transracial adoptee.
    I also write a blog to adoptive and TRA families @ http://kevinhofmann.com

  2. Thanks so much for reading my humble blog. I'll check your book out now! I tried to view your blog, but it looks like I need a password.


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