On Race and Family

I just finished reading this article that was written by a transracial adoptee. I encourage you to read it, whether you are adopting, adopted, a parent, or a child. If you’re a human being, and ever interact with anyone who doesn’t look like you, read it. Of course, I began reading it knowing that we are adopting a kid of a race different than our own…well, at least mostly. But I was surprised at how much resonated with me from my own experiences. Though not an adoptee, I was made up of all kinds of minority, and even in the melting pot that is California, my family stood out in our small town. Not because of our accomplishments, manicured lawns, or jobs, but because of our faces. As a child, I experienced a lot of what this young woman writes about.

Chris and I have talked about this topic many times. With him being a part of the majority, and me being a minority, our experiences and the way we look at things can be very different, whether we realize it or not. And we realize that our kids will deal things unlike what we have dealt with, especially with us adding adoption to our mix.

“Race is on your son’s radar,” I promised him. “Even if you think it’s not an issue for you, it will be for him.”

One thing we all forget to do is remember that people’s perspectives are different, and they are different for a multitude of reasons. I think a lot of times, we try to pretend like race doesn’t matter, and we wonder aloud why people are making such a big deal of it all the time. The truth is that race does matter. And that’s ok. But we have to be aware of it. For parents, that means not being afraid to talk about race issues, even if you don’t know that there is an issue. It means more than just taking your Chinese adopted child out for Chinese food and celebrating Chinese New Year. It means exposing them to people with faces that look like theirs, and while you’re at it, to other races, too- and often. It means facing issues instead of turning a blind eye to them, or making excuses for them. It means being an advocate for your child, as every parent should be. All. The. Time.

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