I am almost embarrassed to say that I didn’t read anything specifically having to do with parenting a child of another race. Call me naive, but I didn’t see that there would be a problem. Love covers everything, right?
I know that everyone has prejudices. If you are walking down the street and see a guy walking towards you, and he is scruffy or whatever, you tense up a bit. We all make judgments about people based on how they look – not just what color their skin is.
I have written previously about my girls and the fact that they were looked down upon in India for their dark skin. I seriously find it fascinating that all around the world, light skin is prized. Why is that? Aren’t there really more brown or tan skinned people in the world than white?
I have been reading a book that we were required to read for adoption education. It is called “Inside Transracial Adoption” by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall. I am not finished with it, but I am starting to process some of what I am learning.
According to the book the world is ruled by whites. They have the power and everyone knows it. I guess I didn’t really know this because I am a “white” and as part of that group I am privileged and looked upon in a positive way. Is that really how it is? I only have my very narrow experience and perspective and it is very white.
I honestly thought that I could raise the girls to be proud of their heritage, culture, and skin color and everything would be fine. The trouble is it isn’t that easy. Because of racial prejudice the girls will be looked at differently than I am. It isn’t good enough for us to help them feel good about themselves – although we will and should do that. According to the book we need to prepare them for the fact that they will face people looking down on them, making false assumptions about them, and possibly even disapproving of our adopting them.
I just don’t want to even believe the human race is that horrid. I know there are skinheads and white supremacists and Hitler, but I really thought that was aberrant. I have a lot to learn about racism and how I can lovingly prepare my daughters to possibly face it.
I haven’t felt at all that we have faced negativity for adopting the girls. The only comment I got that I wasn’t sure how to respond to (since it was in front of the girls although their English wasn’t that great at the time) was, “Do they realize how lucky they are?” My first response was to think that he was complimenting me as a good mom for them or something – I really try to think the best of people. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it wasn’t really rude. Like he was supposing the girls wouldn’t be grateful – as he assumed they should be. Think about it. They are kids. They lived for 10 and 6 years of their lives in a way that we could never imagine. They have been taken away from their culture, they have no connection with their family, and everything that was familiar to them is gone. Yes, their lives will have a better outcome than if we had not adopted them, but if they could choose don’t you think they would like to be back in India with their family?
I don’t want to start imagining racism around every corner. I want to assume the best of people – that their comments are just thoughtless and not hateful. I know racism exists. I want to learn more about it so that I can prepare the girls to face it but, mostly I want to concentrate on teaching the girls to see themselves as God’s children – precious and beautiful – exactly the way He made them. I don’t want “real life” to come along and ruin that for them.
I would love to hear your experiences or thoughts on this subject. I feel like I am just scratching the surface and have MUCH to learn.