Sunday, January 13, 2013

Confessions Of A Transracial Family

 This is kind of a hard deep subject but I wanted to share some of our experiences on transracial adoption.  I have had many question through the years so I thought I would share some of the feelings and experiences we have had. When we first went into adoption it was something I wanted to do my husband was more of the realist and had more concerns. Though prayers and long talks we both decided this was where the Lord was leading us. We decided to be open to any race. I don't know how to explain it but we just felt like this was what God wanted and we did not want to limit who or what he had planned.  I read some books and felt comfortable with African American people and thought it will be fine if this is the direction we go. Here is the the real part that isn't always the easy perfect feeling part.  Our call came quickly, nine months from start to finish to be exact. We went to pick up Lauren after our big phone call about a healthy baby girl who was born. There she was a beautiful little baby, she was very dark and had stick straight black hair.  Adoption is not like pregnancy because it comes quick and there is not a lot of time to let it sink in. We left the adoption agency being a normal white family living in small town Arkansas with two little white boys to a new family with a little black baby.  It was defiantly new territory and it was kind of scary.  I realized really fast my dream/ God's plan was not accepted by everyone we would encounter.  The stares at first and ignorant questions were enough to cripple me.  I felt depressed and so overwhelmed if I did the right thing for this little girl, my boys, and our family.  I also had wonderful friends that did love on our family and made us feel accepted so this was not from every corner but when we had the stares, confused looks, and silent judgment it hurt.  I will not lie it feels isolating and you feel like staying at home so you don't have to deal with the heaviness of all of it. My experience will not be every ones depending on the area of the country you live in and your mental state. I also had two other children two and four at the time. Laughing now but can you imagine how crazy that must have been!! Maybe it was my fragile state of not sleeping and a new change to our family but one of the most hurtful comments that stuck with me was..."I don't think I could every do that." "That" and I knew what "That" meant. At that moment a congratulations would have done.   
I have grown so much as a adoptive mother to a black child. I have faced some emotions that I never knew I had and have felt glimpses of how God loves all of us though this process.  The silly comments that honestly I hardly ever get don't bother me much at all. I don't worry so much about what people will say, or  if Lauren's hair is not perfect every time we go out. Appearance is big in the black culture, hair is huge. I always want Lauren to feel comfortable with her culture but I am not going to let her hair define who she is. White, black, or rainbow she is a child of God and I don't see her as anything but my daughter. God has really shown me how we all have hidden racism deep in our hearts and not all of us have figured out how to love like Jesus loves. There are times that I see the racism in the world and I think shame on all of us for letting this be. If your looking for it just like anything you will see the ugly of the world but you can choose to see the good and focus on the best of life. We still get looks but most people see this little face and smile and assume I am mom which I am so proud to be Lauren's mom!  I feel it is such a privilege to be a mother and it is a awestruck feeling to be given a child out of the goodness of a birth moms heart. 
 What is it like for my kids and do I worry about if it will affect them having a black sibling? I can't wait to tell you my thoughts on this common question I used to get a long time ago.  Now I can answer it accordingly since our family is completely comfortable with our diversity.  Yes!  It has affected my children in the best ways possible.  Oh my goodness, I wish everyone would adopt  transracially or become close friends with a different kind of family then their own.  My boys have been exposed to Black History, Soul Food, Black Hair, and the best one yet... loving someone who looks completely different and not caring. They have friends who ask them if Lauren is their sister and they say yes, we adopted her and don't think twice. There will not be any weird issue when they go to college someday when they have to room with someone who is from a different culture. They won't have to change who they are depending on who they are with, there will not be any hidden racism in their minds.  It is so different growing up this way and it is absolutely amazing.
In closing I know we still have many years ahead and experience to be had good and bad but if your thinking about adopting transracially I want to encourage you that you will be blessed. It is not easy and you will face things that other families will not.  Sometimes your heart will hurt and when you see peoples ignorance you will want to turn around like in the movie the Blind Side when Sandra Bullock yells at the football game to the racist hillbilly she calls Deliverance. Oh, and don't be surprised if you do step out of your comfort zone with people Mama bear always protect her babies. It is an amazing way to build a family and that child will bless you.  If there are any new transracially families reading this I hope this encourages you to know that you don't need acceptance from everyone to live the life you have been called for.You will gain confidence in time and that will carry you to be the difference this world needs. I am always here for anyone with questions about adoption.

5 comments:

  1. Lauren is beautiful. . .just like her mom.

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  2. Since I didn't know you without Lauren..this post doesn't fit for me as I don't see her as anything but your daughter and you her mother! I am glad you wrote this out. It's sad how people are so harsh on new mothers! Or just mothers.

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  3. I love that you took the time to write this out! ♥

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  4. As you know we have "our Alex" who is from Haiti... We have a lot of the same feelings and comments made to us as well.. we love her as much as our birth son. She has made our family complete :) I can honestly say with this same experience, we wouldn't know what to do without her. Thank you Katie for reminding me just how blessed we are.

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  5. A glorious post! So important that you wrote it too. We had an African American foster baby for a year, many, many years ago. At the time we had a young teenager of our own and I can't tell you how her having this little "baby brother" opened up the eyes and hearts of an entire generation of high schoolers. It would be an entire post! My daughter later went on to adopt an African American daughter to complement her already huge (7 kids) brood. They are a living example of the sacrifice it is to be a parent. A sacramental life lived for all the right reasons, with all God's grace pouring back in to you. They get all the comments, even from other African American's (especially hair judgement!) They learn each step of the way and learn how to live a better life, more open and more for God than they ever would have without their little Emma. I wrote a blog post called, "Some people think that families happen by chance" about just that. I hope you'll read it. Congratulations on your beautiful family and Slaìinte to a wonderful future!

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