Sunday, May 4, 2008

Racial Considerations

I have had some, a few, complaints that I do not update the blog enough. I guess I try and wait for big news. I still feel like I am bugging people somehow. It's me. You know me. Are you really surprised?
So all of the paperwork is turned in. We are waiting on a call from our social worker to set up a home study. She is currently getting over pneumonia, so it will probably be a couple of days. As I have spent this week trying to keep my lungs in place despite my body's attempts to cough them up, I feel her pain.
OK, what else...
I have been reading. I read a very good book, I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla that deals with how children perceive skin color, race, and social ideas about skin color and race through their developmental stages. I found it very straightforward and full of common sense. Children are not born with any prejudice, they are learned, something I think we all know. Dr. Wright, the author, discusses way to preserve that lack of prejudice for as long as possible without shielding children, especially children of color, from the truth of American culture. The other book, Inside Transracial Adoption, is not as good. It is not well written or edited, and while it has some good ideas, the authors take 300 pages to get a 50 page point across.
John and I have been talking about raising a child of another race. We can't pretend that the fact that our child will look different than us will not be a challenge to overcome. We can't pretend to understand the discrimination our child will face in his or her life. His or her life will be more challenging for no other reason than the amount of melanin found in the skin, and other people's ancient, backwards ideas about the importance of that compound. Without having ever experienced what that is like, we have to give our child the tools to overcome obstacles without truly understanding what those obstacles are. It is daunting yet exhilarating too. I feel like accepting this challenge will make me a more aware and stronger person. I hope it will make us an extremely close family with ideals that can help improve the world.
There is a grieving process that all adopted kids go through. Transracially adopted kids have another layer to that grief. They are also grieving a culture or society in which they might have fit better.
Adopted kids can resent being adopted. No matter how supportive the adoptive family is, adopted kids have to come to terms with a certain amount of abandonment, and for each kid, the level of grief is different. Some don't dwell on it at all, Others never completely accept it. Transracially adopted kids can resent being raised by people they don't look like, especially if their parents don't acknowledge that difference.
So while I am really excited about taking on this challenge, and I feel that we are strong enough to succeed as transracial parents, I am also scared of my child someday resenting us. I guess that is really a fear a lot of parents, biological or not, have. We just have to face it sooner and more openly than most do.
However, it can't all be about race. First and foremost is being a loving and supportive family that has lots of fun together.
Last weekend was Greaster, and true to form, Barbara showed up with several fabrics to choose from for the curtains. I love giving my mother-in-law a new project. It is enthusiasm in it's raw form. Anyway we went with a striped fabric that matches the yellow on the walls and the blue and green rugs. It has the word doggie across the stripes. Very cute. We are going to pick out flooring hopefully this week, and I hope to find someone to do the mural before the flooring is laid. That will probably be the end of baby prep until there is an actual fetus/infant to prepare for.
Was this post too long? Too deep? Did I waste your time? Why would anyone want to read this?
See, I knew you knew me.


Marc said...

I don't think it was too long. It covered some really good points.

Allison said...

I liked the post. Plus I think you are a really good writer and could probably write about the pizza you had last night and make it interesting. Do you really think people want to read all about every boring and sometimes stupid thing I do (with Grayson's help of course)? Probably not, but hey, who cares. It's fun! Plus for people like Marc and I who don't get to see you guys very often it's a nice way just to feel connected and know whats been going on in the brain of yours!

Barbara Batzer said...

I love to read your blog, I find out what is going on and I get a different feel about things. But mostly becasue I just love you and John. Love, Barbara

Donna said...

I love reading your updates and I share every emotion your having. I also have the same fears for future questions. Hang in there, it is worth it! Believe me. Love ya both, Aunt Donna