Things are about to get touchy here, Little One.
I’m going to bring up a very sensitive subject. But I feel its a subject that needs to be explored.
I’m talking about race.
Many adoptive families have to make a sensitive decision very early on in the process. When filling out a homestudy application or an agency form, there are a lot of tiny boxes waiting to be filled with answers. They ask about your job, your marriage, your siblings, references, how long you’ve lived in your current home. They ask you why you want to adopt (It was really hard for me to narrow that down to a few words. You know me and words. I could write a novel on why we want to build our family through adoption, but I digress). They ask you about your social security number, your past criminal history (that would be none for us), your high school and college names. Then you scan down the page, exhausted by all the tiny boxes, and then comes one you never quite expect.
When genders are you open to adopt?
What race(s) are you open to adopt?
Your head rushes with information. You begin to picture your family, in the flesh, for the first time in filling out this mundane piece of paper. You have to delve deep into your soul and really question yourself…what am I open to?
We looked at each other.
Any? I said.
RB nodded his head. Any, for both questions.
Yesterday I was reading an adoption message board, and one woman was venting that her husband was not open to adoption outside of their race. She wrote the words that are so hard to say out loud, Do you all think my husband is racist? Her question was met with a resounding no from everyone on the board, just that he has trouble adjusting the picture in his head of what he thought his family might look like. Its a normal reaction, and it has nothing to do with preconcieved notions about a certain race or culture, its just natural to desire children that share the same race and culture as you.
And I will be totally honest with you little one, I’ve put a lot of thought into race. I’ve thought a lot about the challenges that we’d face being an interracial family. I’ve done a lot of soul searching, delving down into the depths of my very identity to see if when I resurface this is something we’d consider.
And it most definitely is.
I am of the camp that the skin we are born in is not who we are. Our bodies are not who we are. Who we are is our souls, our personalities, our families. I find the most beautiful people to be the people with passion and kindness and big hearts, not the pigment of their skin. I will love you, Little One, no matter what genetics say your skin color will be.
I’m not niave, however. I know this may be met with some challenges. For example, if you are a different race people will automatically know through asthetics that you are adopted. I am okay with this. I will embrace the sidelong looks, the questions, the wonderment. People are curious by nature, and there is nothing wrong with being curious. People are going to be rude, and I’m expecting that no matter what race you are. People are rude for so many reasons, so of course they are going to rear their ugly rude heads about an interracial family. That, in my opinion, is their problem and not ours.
We don’t live in a small southern rural town where its more likely to be an issue. We live in a suburban neighborhood woven together with all forms of modern families. If we had a biological child we could not pick and choose which features go where, so why think we could have that option when adopting? You’re going to be who you are, Little One, And who you are is just fine by us.
If you are not from our racial background or culture, we will teach you about your roots. We will fold our family traditions into the fabric of what makes up our family.
Your body is merely a vessel to carry around who you are. We don’t care what your vessel looks like in comparison to our own. We don’t want to be parents to have little clones of who are. We want to be parents to nuture, love, create memories. We are surrounded by an extended family who will also not pass judgement on the color of your skin. If we meet any potential friends who do pass judgement, they will not be welcomed in our lives. We will protect the sacred bond of our family at all costs.
It might not be easy. It might not be traditional. But our house will be filled with more love than most.
And that is what will make up our race. Our family.