Friday, May 21, 2010

Transracial Adoption: a family's experience and advice to those consider...

(This video clip is from . They have a whole series of video clips and an informative website about adoption)

I really can relate to this mom's experience and her reflections about "seeing the whiteness around her" as an important part of mothering children of color. She starts the interview off slow, in my opinion, but her words quickly gain strength and power. She "got me", of course, when she summoned the words "white privilege." Hello girlfriend!

I noted the other night we had a house full of teens and I found myself "counting color." It was an odd moment, but I was aware that my youngest son, who was in all his glory, was in the midst of a moment. I wondered how the room "looked" to him - was he seeing himself in the Little Tykes slam dunk contest, or the pick up game of home-run derby? Did the laughing faces look like the world to him? In fact, the house was filled with 7 people of color and 6 white people. (FYI: It looked like 8 English first language speakers and 5 English as a second language speakers).

I WANT Blueberry to feel the centered love and identity that this young man so eloquently articulates. I know (I mean I REALLY KNOW) that raising him with love and with opportunity isn't actually going to be "enough" - it's not enough if we don't talk about race and identity and adoption and belonging and being and becoming. It's not enough if we don't "see" our own whiteness in the context of his blackness. Or, his blackness in the context of our whiteness.

Of course, living in the midwest, I take the smart young man's words about "living in a diverse setting" to heart. I'm concerned about raising Blueberry in a neighborhood that is middle/upper class and mostly white. In fact, the non-white families in our neighborhood are mostly not black families. I'm accutely aware of this dynamic. Mr. Silly Pants and I think about what's next - and at the moment we think we'll wait to engage this question in a serious way until Waffles is well into his college life (he'll be a HS senior next year - so we have about 3-4 years).

So, yeah, this gave me a little tap on the back - a reminder - don't lose sight.


Mindy and Baldwin said...

This is why I love your blog. I love this mama and son in the movie, too- I notice how their sense of humor and ease with talking about the truth are what sets them apart...and I strive for that especially.

jayme said...

That's Judy Stigger. She's the Director of International Adoption at our placement agency. She led a bunch of our pre-adoption trainings. It's definitely cool to see her with her son. Thanks for posting the video!

I have no idea whether you were aware of or followed our earlier blog, but wanted to pass on two of my posts from the beginning of our adoption journey that speak specifically to issues of race / racism / white privilege:

Obviously I'm very opinionated on the subject...

Anonymous said...

what a sweet interview.