Friday, February 5, 2010

"Embracing Your Child's Cultural Heritage"

Last night we had to drive down an hour to attend our first of three adoption "electives"...This one was all about trans-racial adoptions. While we aren't positive we'll get a child that isn't "white," we're kind of expecting it since non-"white" kids are more common.
And to be honest, I'm kind of hoping we will.
For some reason, I've always pictured our family as multi-racial. It could be the black baby doll head I picked out for a prize from my piano teacher when I was a little kid. Don't ask me why. For some reason, my maternal instinct goes into overdrive when I see a little African-American baby or a hispanic child, but for caucasian kids, well, it's like...ho-hum...My Italian great-grandmother called me (excuse my frankness) a "nigara-baby" when I was born thanks to my darker skin and dark curly hair. She accused my mom of being, well, you know...So maybe that's what started it?...Anyhow...
Last night was interesting. Besides the fact that the other members of the class included two single parents (I think their spouses were both at home), one bi-racial couple, two different "alternative" couples, and us--so Jim and I stuck out like a sore thumb!--the class also just seemed to be more of a venting of racism and stereotypes and intolerance in our society than a training of how to be the best parents we can be in a mixed family. I'm probably just naive, and once I actually start experiencing it I'll be more sympathetic to their discussion, but for me, right now, I look forward to the stares and comments as an opportunity to educate people.
However, I will admit I'm concerned for our child. I can handle the criticism, but a child isn't ready to and shouldn't have to!
In the class they asked us what our fears were. My fears are that by adopting trans-racially, I am setting up our child(ren) for a lifetime identity crisis. (You should have seen the video!) I would hate to ruin our kids' lives because we didn't prepare ourselves enough. That being said, I have high hopes that our love and God's love mixed with honesty and openness are going to create a wonderful atmosphere for our children to thrive--no matter what the color of their skin is!
I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

1 comment:

  1. I *so* know what you mean. I remember having those exact same feelings before we got Joshua. I kept worrying that he would never feel like a "real" part of society...that he would be conflicted about whether he should be "black" or "white," and how to ensure that he is accepted and confident in either "world." I finally just gave it up to the Lord and accepted the fact that I can only do so much. The Lord is ultimately in control of all our kids, and we just have to do our best to provide them with a well-rounded childhood, exposed to all sorts of different cultures and experiences.
    Oh, and I know what you mean about having a connection to kids with some "color" in them. =) Chris and I both were anxious to adopt a bi-racial or black child, but never felt any desire to adopt white ones...kind of backwards...and probably sounds kind of racist. But, that's how we felt. We would have adopted whomever the Lord wanted us to, but He just happened to bring us mixed kiddos!
    Sorry that got so long!