I recently met with an expectant mom and prospective adoptive family. The mom was brown and they were white.
In a time when racial tension is at an all time high, I questioned the wisdom in doing an article on raising a black child. The response is every child deserves a forever home. Race should not be a factor. We understand our hope is that with conversation and education we can authentically prepare you and your loved ones for what this adoption process will look like. Our goal in this article is not to make a statement like we are the moral authority on such a complicated subject but to help families understand the fundamentals that go into adopting a child of another race.
This mom said “I went through your family profile book and I knew you were white but I chose you because of your family and not your skin color.” See this mom wasn’t concerned about color, she was choosing a family based on what was best for her child.
Many people still have questions and reservations as to the cultural impact of adopting a baby of a different race. They often times want to make sure they are creating a family dynamic that sets the child up for success. It is a lifelong journey with all sorts of challenges along the way. However, I have personally witnessed the unspeakable joys and deep love that far outweigh anything negative. It is a road worth traveling down if fate presents you with this choice.
Race should obviously be irrelevant when it comes to your decisions regarding adoption. It certainly should not have an impact on your bond and love for the child. Nevertheless, you must develop a veracious appetite to educate yourself and the close friends and family who are the community around you. At Destiny, we know that adopting and parenting a child of another race requires even more education, understanding, and humility.
Educate You and Your Close Community
So you are ready and wanting to prepare you and your family to potentially adopt a child of another race. You (and your partner/spouse) know that you know enough to potentially say yes to creating family in a non-truadional way but you also know you don’t know enough to truly setup you, your family, and child up for a successful life together.
So, I have to say it… preparation, preparation, preparation…YES!! HOMEWORK!! We have some amazing books that you can get on audio, kindle, or hard copy that we not only recommend but have read and used to educate ourselves.
We recommend reading and sharing these books with your family and close friends that will be an integral part of the village that helps raise and pour into your child.
–Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
–How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
–So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The work and time you put in during this chapter of the process will be the most valuable investment into your journey of adopting a child of another race.
Fight to Understand
As you begin to educate yourself, you are going to have moments where what you read directly confronts a solid core belief that you have held closely.
Often times in these moments, we believe that “love should be enough”. In a time when the spotlight is brightly shining on systematic racism and bigotry, we have to realize that “love” looks like something. On this very deep emotional issue we are facing as a nation, love looks like fighting our own inherent bias and subtle racism and keeping our hearts wide open to new information and perspectives from voices of color.
Sometimes a person of color will offer a perspective that is downright offensive or seems like it is coming from an unsafe emotional place. These often times can become the most landmark moments in changing our hearts and minds if we hear the intent and heart behind the statement and voice and push past whatever offends our unbeknownst privilege.
Listen with Humility
“I have a black friend!” “I voted for a black president!” “I don’t see color!” “All lives matter!”
These are all telltale signs that me and you are more concerned about appearing that we are not racist and not actually listening and confronting racism. Now wait, this is not a statement to bring shame or make you or me feel bad if that has been our wall of defense. It is an invitation to realize that we may have skipped the listening part because we were afraid if we had real conversations that we would look ignorant and labeled as a bigot.
I promise you that most people of color would rather have a real conversation and be truly listened to and you accidentally not say something that is perfectly aligned with the modern justice movement than to make sweeping broad statements like those above and never listen to hear.
If you or I truly and honestly want to listen and be educated by the black community, you will find people who are eager to give you grace upon grace in the process of us broadening our perspective and caring enough to put aside our predisposed world view. Actually, the people of color that we have worked with are full of grace and have helped us gently remove our sandals from our mouth many times. Usually, with a soft touch on the arm and a giggle we are corrected and offered an opportunity to yet again through listening put to rest inherent and subtle bias in our language. Yah!
Lastly, your child will grow to a place where you will get the opportunity to see their color and celebrate there color. “I don’t see color”, you will find out is not a good thing. As their is nothing at all wrong that the world is filled with every color of God’s beautiful tapestry and you may just get the opportunity to raise and learn from one of those colors.
This journey is a privilege and truly an incredible eye opening and heart shaping experience that if you are passionate about will be worth the education, understanding and listening required for creating family by adopting a child of another race.
We at Destiny, give the freedom to our birthmoms to choose the right adoptive family for them and their child and we also give our adoptive families the freedom to choose the right child for their family without shame or judgement. It must be the perfect match or it is not a Destiny adoption.