Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Transracial Adoption

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for responding. I just want to take a moment to tell you that I certainly hope you don't feel like you can't comment here--even when it might be a difference of opinion. My blog is welcome to all comments. I appreciate the fact that I got to respond and, hopefully, clear up some misconceptions, even if we don't ultimately agree. I realize that your comment spawned an outpouring of defense. I started this blog as we prepared to move away from all of our family and friends. I wanted loved ones far away to be able to come here on an almost daily basis and get a glimpse into our lives. The number of readers grew to include new friends here in Utah as well as friends of friends and extended family members and then, incredibly, to people I've never met and have no association with anyone I know. Being that so many of my readers are dear friends and loved ones, I think that their love for me ignited their emotions. I really do appreciate that you voiced your opinion. It allowed me the chance to address concerns that others may not have voiced. Again, I hope that you would feel free to comment in the future.

Dear Friends & Family,

Thank you for all the extremely kind things you said about my parenting skills and the hard work I do on a daily basis and don't get paid for. I appreciate that you understand that Troy and I are a team making one salary. You guys are the best.

The other day I experienced my first blatant encounter with prejudice. Honestly, I haven't been looking for it. Perhaps it's happened before but never so that it couldn't be overlooked. Several days ago I took the boys to the pool. As I was unloading our stuff onto a lounge chair, I noticed that the woman next to us was staring at us. This is not a big deal. A lot of people stare at Matthew. If we're out in public, he's usually smiling. His giggle is infectious. And he's just so chocolaty delicious. I'm used to the stares. They always end in giant smiles and conversation often follows. As the woman stared at me I caught her eye and smiled. Then she made an extremely disapproving face and turned her back to me. I don't know if she was upset that I had an African-American son or if she disapproves of transracial adoption or if she was curious as to whether or not he was my biological son. I think the third option is pretty impossible. He doesn't look like he has any German blood flowing his veins. I shrugged and took my boys into the water.
We walked back up to our chair to have some crackers. My son refers to them as "Grandma crackers" because my mom sent them to him in the mail. As we sat down I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that she was staring at us again. I turned my full attention to her and smiled again. She returned my smile by locking in to my eyes and shaking her head, slightly, in disapproval. Then my husband walked in. He was on his way home for lunch and was taking Matthew with him so that I could have one on one time with The Rock Star. I watched as she pieced together that clearly, Troy was not black. I suppose this left her with one of two conclusions.

1. Matthew is, in fact, adopted.
2. I was unfaithful. With a very dark man. And none of my whiteness came through. None at all.

Either option clearly appalled her. She didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. I let her have her rude look. It was the first that I noticed. It won't be the last. Transracial adoption is a hotly debated topic. I'm currently reading anything I can get my hands on about it. Maybe I'll come across something that will help me deal with unreturned smiles.

Although, to be fair, maybe she just hated my bathing suit.

Coming soon: Five month letter to my son.


  1. I agree that she just didn't like your bathing suit. :)

    It really is interesting. My husband and I live in Harlem and are very, VERY white. I myself am almost translucent. And sometimes the comments...

    If people would just let others love. I think you're doing a wonderful thing, either way.

  2. Maybe Matthew needed to be changed ;-) she could have been appauled by the grandma crackers - feeding your son sugary anything.

  3. My sister and I were just talking about this topic the other day. I happen to spend four days a week with Holly, from Africa. We take her everywhere with us and do everything with her. I am glad you haven't encountered prejudice thus far because we have HUGELY. We get disapproving stares, frowns, and people shaking their heads at us almost everywhere we go. And if we don't receive the above mentioned things we just get stared at.

    I haven't researched transracial adoption. Maybe someday I will, but I agree with Divine Mrs. D Let's just share the love!

    Your stories are so cute and you handle things so well :)

  4. Here's to one of the silent readers!!

    I love glimpsing into your life, it really is a blessing. Not that I look forward to the challenges, you might have but I look forward to finding out, how can I pray today.

    Just know that God is using you!!

    thanks Di

  5. I was going to comment that she probably didn't like you swim suit. I had to laugh because Divine Mrs D had already said it. Matthew is too cute not to make you smile. He brightens up the room and can make someone in a foul mood smile and giggle. So if she couldn't look past color and absorb his beauty and happiness then her loss.

  6. Oh. Man. Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a world far enough in the future where we were all so over the ridiculousness of racial prejudice and when Matthew grew up he could call your Mom "Grandma Crackers" and you could all just have a good laugh.

    Sure, it would be, like, really, really wrong and completely inappropriate. But this would be the future remember? And the world would be over that sort of offensive stuff. And could laugh about it.


    (I wish!)

  7. I am glad that most of your experiences have been smiles. We live in South Africa and both of our babies are African. My hubby and I are white. Most of our encounters with people are negative!!! Most have a racial comment or look of disgust. I know just how this made you feel and I am sorry that you had to have some one act like this towards your beautiful family. It used to make me angry but now I just feel sorry for people who have this kind of mind set.
    I hope that this is a one off for you and that the smiles keep coming!
    Have a blessed day.

  8. Oh Lori. :(
    Perhaps she didn't want little kids near her.

    Or perhaps she doesn't know the true deep meaning of love, the way Jesus meant it, and how in the New Testament opened up the whole world as one people......

    This brings up a really good blog story for me. Read it tomorrow. I'll link back to you in it.

  9. Michael Jackson (R.I.P.) said it very simply. "If you're thinkin' of being my baby, it don't matter if you're black or white." My personal favorite Michael Jackson song. If only everyone could have his attitude, the world would be a better place.

  10. Could you maybe share with us some of your research in a future post?

  11. Jen is on to something. Think Star Trek. No racial problems (okay, maybe some "alien" racial problems, but work with me here). Better yet, it is a NO MONEY society. All problems solved. :) J

  12. It wasn't the bathing suit. It was the body in it! Just for the record, I hate the way you look in a bathing suit cuz it makes me look like Bertha next to you.

    Seriously, just continue to look the other way and love your boys.

  13. Oh please...she saw your two kids and realized that her own kids actually weren't the cutest kids in the universe.

    That's a bit hard to take. But I understand...for years I didn't show my kids pictures around because it just made other people jealous.

  14. You may want to check out "The Color of Family" on Facebook! It's a page for Transracial Families to talk about life and to educate each other. You'll find a link on my blogspot.