Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On being a trans-racial family

When the time comes and I finally receive the referral I've been working and hoping for and dreaming about for so long it will be amazing and wonderful, of that I am sure. It will also have tinges of anxiety and lots of questions. First and foremost, will I actually be the mother I think I can be or want to be? Will I be able to beat cancer and early infertility only to be beaten by an infant? I firmly believe yes, I will (to the first) and no, I won't (to the second).

One thing I know I will know nothing firsthand about is how to be a transracial family. I can read, study and take classes, but when the time comes it will be a whole new world for me. And my daughter, for that matter! I recently read this quote from the book NurtureShock

How to Raise a Racist

Step One: Don’t talk about race. Don’t point out skin color. Be “color blind.”

Step Two: Actually, that’s it. There is no Step Two.

Congratulations! Your children are well on their way to believing that [insert your race here] is better than everybody else.

My first instinct when I decided to adopt from Ethiopia was just that. If you don't talk about it, it's not an issue. (very midwestern, don't you think?) But I've come to realize that it has to be talked about. My child will not look like me. I will get questions. I will need to know how to respond. Most of all, I will do everything I can to keep my child from feeling any hurt over racism. For now, I can educate myself as much as possible so we can deal with whatever comes our way.

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