Last week I had an interesting conversation. A writer friend asked me if she were a prospective parent considering adopting a multiracial child what would be the top three things I would say to her. In some ways this resonated with a recent talk I gave at Feast which you can read about here. Speaking at Feast allowed me to boil down the key things I wanted to communicate about life as a multiracial Blended family. Not surprisingly I have written before about these top three but thought I would share with you in a nutshell how I answered her question.
The first and most critical element for families who are considering Transracial Adoption is in understanding that the colorblind theory does not work and is simply not true. If you are thinking about adopting outside of your race you need to begin thinking about and processing issues of race immediately. We must seek to honor our children by recognizing who they are which includes race. If you are unable to aid a child in developing their own ethnic identity, apart from yours, then I would strongly encourage you to wait and continue your own personal journey with race before embarking on the Transracial Family journey.
The second follows closely on the heels of my first point. The idea that love is enough to overcome all obstacles, and specifically race issues your child will face, is false. Transracial families must make a commitment to live a life that is inclusive of people who look like their child. This means your neighborhood, school, friendship network, and place of worship need to reflect the diversity that is found in your own home. This undoubtedly leads me to my last point.
The third thing I would say to you is that your life as an adoptive family will revolve around choices; which my interview with Rhonda Roorda, both Part 1 and Part 2, detail so accurately. The choices you make in terms of how you affirm your child, what their learning community looks like, who comes to your house for dinner, their mentors, and ultimately where you live, will define how they move forward confidently in life believing and valuing who they are holistically in a Transracial family.
At the beginning this process may be daunting. But once you live life in a way that embodies these truths it becomes your family’s way of life.
This is what I would say to you.