Mama Shrink

Episode 25 - Raising Children of a Different Race

January 16, 2020

I want to dive deeper into the topic of adoption and share with you my own experience of raising children of a different race than my husband and I. This often gets flagged as a very heated topic and I have resisted discussing it until now, but it important and I always I promise to be authentic with all of you.

Let me start by saying, “Happy Gotcha Day Thomas!” In honor of my favorite day, the discussion of adoption is perfect. After listening to the episode, please let me know your thoughts and if you know anyone who has gone through transracial adoption, please have them listen to this and connect with me.

  • [03:30] “Gotcha Day”, adoptive parents often celebrate this as it is the day we bring our child home. It is also the day a birth mother decided to do the most brave, courageous, selfless, and loving thing. To me, adoption is the most loving gift in the whole world. It is important for your child who has been adopted to know what a happy day Gotcha Day is. In our home we celebrate Gotcha Day as the day ever.
  • [06:50] Different states have different processes for adoption. Waiting periods can vary from a few days to a month. We have to go through a whole range of things in the adoption world that are pretty scary and uncertain.
  • [09:33] If you are a parent raising children of a different race, you have to do your homework, be sensitive and be culturally aware of the differences. We attended a camp for white parents raising African American children. There were pros and cons to this experience. I would say the greatest pro was that our boys got to see other families that looked like ours. The whole concept of the camp was beautiful but the conversations got a bit sad and hurt my heart sometimes.
  • [15:40] When you are a transracial family, you sometimes don’t know where you fit in. We have faced racial discrimination and for people to say that racism does not exist, does not know what they are talking about.
  • [18:30] Then besides the skill color issue, we also have to deal with language people use with our family. Such as saying the term “real parents” instead of “birth parents.” If you are an adoptive parent and you hear someone ask, “Who are their real parents?”, that crushes your soul. Please be mindful of terms and language that is used when speaking to adoptive parents.
  • [19:35] People think and want to believe that color doesn’t matter. I also want to believe this to be true, but unfortunately it does matter. As my kids grow older I have to teach them how it is to be a brown man in this world and all the things that come along with it. We are lucky because we live in a small community with a good group of friends where people look out for our boys, but the reality is that our community is mostly white.
  • [21:25] One of the things I’ve had to do a lot is politely educate others. We get asked a lot if our boys are twins, “real” brothers, and where they’re from. And as our boys are growing up and understanding more, I need to protect them more. The sad thing is that if my boys were white, I don’t think anyone would ask these questions.
  • [24:23] We’ve experienced covert racism. We do still live in a world of white privilege and believe that we still need to talk about the fact that race is an issue.
  • [28:30] With adoption you always have to be ready with questions, reactions or things that might happen with your children. It’s a beautiful journey but also a hard one. It is not easy to see your child want to wipe away their brown skin and be white.
  • [35:05] One of the things my husband and I want to create is a place where white parents raising kids of a different race can get together and feel accepted. We know how important that is for our children. If you know of anyone who is also looking for this, please have them reach out to me.

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