Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

What if You Were in the Minority? January 12, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Race — Lori @ 4:25 pm

I have mentioned before that we have been going through some adoption education through our adoption agency.  Part of our education focuses on racial issues as we are adopting a child from a different ethnic background from our own.

From reading books on the subject I have thought how little I really can understand how someone in a minority group feels because I have never been a part of a minority group.  Kevin and I have joked about our trip to India and that we were definitely in the minority as far as we saw very few people with white skin while we were there.  However, we were not treated badly because we had white skin – we were actually treated with reverence, stared at, looked upon as better.  That was not racism in the negative, but it certainly made us feel conspicuous and uncomfortable.  We did not deserve to be treated better just because we have white skin.

I just finished watching a PBS Frontline show called A Class Divided.  This was something we were asked to watch for our adoption education.  In 1970 a teacher in Iowa conducted an experiment with her third grade class.  She segregated them into a blue eyed group and a brown eyed group.  She told the class one day that the blue eyed children were better than the brown eyed kids.  She did things to give them privileges and to make them feel superior.  The brown eyed group were told they weren’t as smart and had privileges taken away.

It was interesting to watch the dynamics of what happened in that class.  The kids who were told they were superior started to behave that way and put down the other kids – solely based on their eye color.  These kids were friends and suddenly they were enemies.  They also took tests on material they had already been tested on and the kids in the discriminated group had lower scores than they had just the day before.  The kids in the revered group had better test scores.

As a white person – the people with power in our society – we really have no way of identifying with a minority group.  We do not understand how they feel or how they are treated.  Watching this show will help you to understand and could change the way you think about or treat people of a different ethnicity from you.  I encourage you to take a half hour and watch this show at the link I provided.

 

Multi-Racial Families October 21, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Race — Lori @ 3:03 pm

With all the thinking that I have been doing about race and adoption and how sadly our world in general gets along with and treats others that are different from themselves – it made me wonder something.  Don’t you think that transracial adoption could be a great step in breaking down racial barriers?

I mean, how better can we understand other cultural or racial groups than to bring a child of another race into our home and community.  For every adoptive family I know, maintaining or even in some cases increasing the child’s knowledge of and connection with their racial heritage is a high priority.  And, in that process you learn things about a country and its people who you never would have known.  I feel a connection and a burden for India that I never would have had.  Your circle of friends is widened and your view of the world is forever changed.

I am certainly not advocating adoption just as a cultural learning tool, but it is a wonderful benefit.  I hope that transracial adopted families are slowly changing the perception and understanding of those around us to look for opportunities to expand their boundaries to include other cultural groups.  And not only that, but to look at people from different cultures with eyes to learn and understand their background and life stories and to embrace them for who they are.  We can learn so much from each other and it enriches all our lives to be exposed to it.

Adoption update:  My dossier is in the hands of our agency.  They will be checking it and sending it off to India soon!  I can’t wait to hear that it has arrived and entered that process.  We are in the process of clearing out the room that will become Levi’s.  My house just needs a bit of readjustment and organization so that I can find a place for everything that has been in that spare room.  We are making a good dent in the project!  I am also preparing our photo album that we will soon be sending off to him to introduce him to our family.  That is always a fun project and the girls will enjoy helping me choose photos for that.  We will also be able to send a small gift.  Please continue praying for God’s hand to guide our paperwork and to be on Levi as he waits.  He is still unaware that a family is working to get him home.

Lori

 

Transracial Adoption October 20, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Race — Lori @ 12:15 am

trimmed girls

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.

Lori

 

 
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