Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 36

Thoughts from our “Trans-racial Families” meeting last night:

I never heard Ben complain (not even once!) about missing the Red Wings Game. He's the best. (I'm secretly thankful they didn't take the Cup last night because I want him to be able to enjoy the victory).

The meeting. As we pull into the parking lot we see several young couples making their way into the building. My ever witty husband started breaking down a game-plan "Okay. See our competition. Know our competition. Don't make friends. Winner takes baby." As it turned out, a majority of the class was adopting internationally, so naturally we won. (smile). It was exciting to talk to so many families that were in our situation, most of them also struggled with infertility.

A couple things struck me. When adopting trans-racially, simply loving a child is not enough. Education is extremely important on a variety of levels. Here are a couple of questions that we were asked:

1) How will you answer your child when asked why you chose adoption?
Before we could answer the instructor said, "Most people have selfish answers to this question. If you're choosing adoption to meet your need of wanting to parent or love, you may not be ready for adoption. Adoption should always be about the child and that's who we are here advocating." We then heard from an adopted child (who seemed to have some angst) that really resonated with me. She spoke of what it felt like to be "plan B." She had nothing but love for her adopted parents and praised them for the life she had been given, yet she went through life feeling 2nd rate, because after infertility, her parents chose adoption as an alternative.

2) How will you handle discrimination?
Quickly, I found myself thinking, "Well we're not prejudice and color doesn't matter..." Wrong. It does matter. People laugh and joke "innocently" or harmfully all the time. We walked through a variety of situations that never had crossed my mind, as well as listened to real life testimonies of those that have walked in our shoes. We learned about "white privilege"...another concept I'd never heard before and was shocked to realize it existed. The following ideas feed into it:
  • When I am told about our national heritage, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  • I can go into the grocery store and find food I grew up with, into a hairdresser's and find someone who can deal with my hair, and into the the drug store to find beauty products perfect for my skin.
  • I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  • If a police officer pulls me over or if the IRS audit my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
  • I can choose bandages in "flesh" color and have them match my skin.
  • I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • I can walk into a classroom and know I will not be the only member of my race.
These are only a few of a very long list of privileges. We were encouraged that although we can't completely change our lives, there are many ways we can implement cultural value so that our child does not feel isolated. There are several easy changes that can be made: choosing a diverse church and school, joining support groups and allowing our child to play with others in their race, driving further (if necessary) for diverse doctors or hair salons, and promoting cultural awareness in the lives of our friends and their children (easy to do with books, dolls, toys, etc). The overall resounding message last night was to live culturally aware, which is a great reminder whether adopting or not.

I walked away from the meeting with a stack of reading and an informed heart. I don't care what anyone says, I do believe that love conquers all. If I could only instill one quality into my child it would be confidence. When a child--or anyone for that matter--knows who they are in Christ, it doesn't matter how hard the wind blows, they will always have a sure footing. The lines of biological and adopted blur; both need confidence and Ben and I can instill it. I know we're embarking on a road less traveled, one that is sure to be marked with some difficulty, but like everything else in life we simply need to let go and let God. I am so thankful for the path we're walking. The lessons I'm learning reflect the very heartbeat of who God is.

All morning I've been singing an old Audio Adrenaline song from back in the day, "My World View." Check out the lyrics.

I want to see the world through Jesus eyes
See through Jesus Tears
I want to see the world through Jesus eyes
My visions' not as clear
I want to feel the world with the hands that made it
Know the pain and appreciate it
hear their cries and hope to understand

My world view
It's how I see the world
It's how I look at you
My world view
It's how I see the world
Would you like to see it to
My world view


  1. Love that Audio A song...you'll be happy to know Maddy has a whole African American doll set that she plays with all the time :). Sounds like a good meeting!

  2. Are you in Michigan? We are in the Chesterfield/New Baltimore area and are in the process of adopting our sweet Sophie (Macomb county is sloooowwwww). We did a transracial adoption as well. And we could not lover her more!

  3. Interesting class. I want to go.

    I too, thought I was culturally aware--even probably more than the average, but Jay reminds me all the time, that being "aware" and being "black" are not the same. I went to Borders yesterday to paroose the children's book section, and couldn't find any "Daddy & Me" books with daddies that look like Jason, or babies that will look like mine...sad. :O( I guess I'd never noticed before...

  4. That's too funny! We said EXACTLY the same thing before our class. We were like, "Crap! They're younger and cuter than we are..."