Recently, I joined a new online social networking group called Adoption Voices. Yes, I know there are SO many social networking sites out there...so, why should I join ANOTHER one?
Luckily, this one has led me to a wonderful blog by John Raible (pictured) and a great article about "Same Story, Different Decade." John shares about his experience hearing a teen transracial adoptee (who happens to be Latino adopted into a White family) and the adoptee's experiences with racism and isolation being the only person of color in their neighborhood, school, etc.
It took me a moment to get into reading this lengthy post, but I'm so glad I did. He and I agree with a simple point in this day and age: adoptive parents need to be well-informed about transracial adoption.
"...We cannot afford to let white parents go on thinking naively that love is enough, or that it is color-blind, while the rest of society continues to react to our children of color as inferior deviants and as potentially threatening competitors in the high-stakes game of life. It’s not about providing loving, color-blind homes, it’s about facing racism squarely, and preparing children to function—and thrive—in hostile environments.
For parents who are still in denial about racism in 2009, and who think that just because a President Obama occupies the White House that our society has somehow transcended race and racism, the remarks of this recent teen panelist come as a stark reminder of how far we have yet to go. It does not matter what decade adopted children go through adolescence. It does not matter what country they were adopted from. What matters is the social context. If transracial adoptees experience adolescence as the lonely kid of color in oppressive, overwhelmingly white environments, then they are having the same experience as children adopted in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
The point is, WE KNOW BETTER. And knowing better, we have an obligation to do better. Adopted children of color deserve no less."
My thoughts exactly.
I am pro-adoption, but I am also pro-education. It hurts adoptees (and our society-at-large) if adoptive families go into a transracial adoption with "color-blind blinders" on. Or with their overwhelmingly strong desire for their "own child" clouding their idea of the big picture.
Whether your child is born biologically or you are adopting, all responsible parents should think about the big-picture, 18-year plan (however long the child will be with you until they are an adult). Responsible parents must consider how to provide for their child physically, mentally and emotionally...as a parent, I think about such things. In light of these parental concerns, the adoptive family of a transracial adoption must also consider "What racial environment am I providing for my child?" Even if your adopted child NEVER talks about race, believe me, it IS the elephant in the room.
I applaud my parents for raising me in a racially diverse neighborhood and sending me to a Quaker school. I also lift up my friends: the adoptive parents of transracial/transnational children who are constantly taking the initiative to learn more about how to support their child in this race-conscious America we live in. They give me hope for the future of adoptive families everywhere.
I am confident that this is the beginning of change.