In some ways I feel like we have it easier in the TRA (Trans-Racial Adoption) than others. C looks like a blend of us, M is brown like daddy, D is also brown like M and Daddy. Me and C are the only ones that don’t have a match in the family. Yet, in other ways it is still just as hard. I still have all the worries I read about on blogs of other trans-racial adopters. I worry do we have enough people in our lives that look like M and D? Do we have enough role models (or as Mama C calls them People of Power)?
There are a few things that I have sought out that I feel good about.
I started an interracial playgroup when C was 1. I did this for a few reasons, I wanted him to see other families that looked like us, other families that looked different, and make some friends of all different races. I am pretty happy with the long-term result. We made a lot of good friends and we continue to expand our circle and he gets to play with kids that are all different shades of tan/brown. I realized after we adopted Miss M that it was even more important that she also see other adopted kids in the playgroup (which we already had).
The girls’ pediatrician is black. I didn’t pick her because she was, we saw her once for a sick visit at our current large peds practice and loved her, not because of her skin color but just because she was that awesome. Also, the other pediatrician we see there was a foster parent and adopted two of his foster kids. How lucky is that, that we happened to stumble on these great resources?
One place where I tried and failed was joining an “African American Playgroup”. I still feel so disappointed at how I was excluded. I am glad that M wasn’t old enough to see us get slighted. We went to two of the play dates and I mistakenly thought I was welcome. When I asked to join their discussion/planning group on-line I was given the run-around and then finally told “it's just sticky... some folks would not express themselves freely if they saw an "outsider".” There it is I am an “outsider” and not welcome. I was and still am in shock. Aren’t we all just moms with a child of color? Doesn’t M deserve to have friends and be in a playgroup with kids that look like her? Maybe it is only about me and because I am white. Who knows? In the end I decided that it doesn’t matter. M has a best friend that is also adopted and we love their family. We see them a lot. M also has baby D who is only 15 months younger than her and what is better than a sister. So maybe she didn’t need it after all. I do worry as she gets older and makes friends in school that are also black, will she get teased because her mom is white. I hope not.
She has family that looks like her, her grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins. She has her daddy that looks like her. Her birthday party will be diverse. (Yes, that is one of my crazy worries). I can’t help but cast judgment when I see other TRA Families and see their pictures and their kid is the only kid of color at parties, at their own birthday party. I know it has to be hard, but we have to make an effort, right?