Ohhhh, I should not be blogging about this. This is the class where our social worker showed a video of several adoptees who were now adults and had grown up with the experience of being the only one of their race in their family because of trans-racial adoption. It left us tossing and turning. And let’s be honest about the most common scenario that we discussed: statistically-white parents adopting children of other races. Believe me when I say that people were doing this before Angelina Jolie made it cool.
The video was upsetting because it was several young adults, complaining about their white adoptive parents. Who raised them. And loved them.
The whole thing stunk of the ungratefulness and narcissism that every child harbors if nobody whittles it out of them. These kids just had a very socially acceptable complaint.
Please understand that I have actually taken the time to research and understand the real issues that come with trans-racial adoption. I think that if we adopt a child of another race, we have to be prepared for the fact that we are then setting our family up for a lifetime of spotlight. We will no longer blend in. Our family will scream, “WE ADOPTED!! WE ARE DIFFERENT!!” I hope that there will be so much joy and overwhelming love in our family that we won’t give a flying flip what anyone else thinks, but I’m not dumb enough to think it won’t be hard on a child. Being different is hard!
Here’s what else I think: If everything else is equal, kids obviously do better when they get to grow up in families that look just like them-the same race and culture. That’s the best thing for them, as long as they are being loved and cared for. The cold hard fact is that that’s just not life. There aren’t enough families waiting at just the right time to adopt these kids so that they can all grow up in families that look just like them and the next best thing-the VERY MOST IMPORTANT THING- is that they get to grow up in families who love them like crazy.
What got me about the video is that these kids, one girl and guy in particular, were so…extreme. I hope. I don’t know. If it’s not, if there are tons of adopted children out there that resent their parents to this extent, then I don’t know if I want to know. I was waiting for them to give me the story, like, here’s the horrible thing my parents did to scar me and make me so angry (so I would know what NOT to do!). It never came. They admitted that they were well-loved by their white parents. And yet this girl sat and talked about white people adopting black babies and essentially said that ‘white people get to do it because they have the money, so they can just have the next baby in line’. Like we’re here to pick up a puppy. What a slap in the face. To me? Sure. But how about to her mother? I really hurt for her. I know there are people who believe that. But this girl, who came from a loving family? I’m sorry, but she was angry about something and I just don’t know if it had anything to do with her adoption, exactly. Maybe she’s mad and hurt about race for some reason. But adoption… I don’t know.
I get that some people are worried that we are doing it to look cool. I know that our social worker wants us to see the worse case scenarios of every aspect of adoption to make us aware of what to expect. The video ended with the guy, who is African-American, looking straight into the camera, telling us that if we adopted trans-racially, we needed to be prepared to explain to our son or daughter why we chose to adopt him or her. “Because he’ll ask”, he said.
I exhaled, and thought that I knew exactly what my answer would be, but I waited until we got in the car to ask Stu. I had already decided that that one thought-provoking question was possibly the only useful thing that had come from the whole video.
Me-“So, when your (for the sake of argument) African-American son asks you one day, ‘Dad, why did you choose to adopt me?’, what will you tell him, Stu?”
Stu-“I’ll tell him that God put him right where he belonged. I didn’t choose to adopt an African-American boy. Your birth mother chose me, I got the opportunity to adopt you. We listed no preference. I did not choose any race. That is in God’s hands, but any child that He places in my family will then be my blood. Forever.”
YES. That’s my man. That was my answer. I love him.