Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Black Baby White Hands>My take on Transracial Adoption

In 1972 when it was not the norm to transracially adopt,

My adoptive parents shunned the critics and obtained an attorney to make
me their own. I would become the only African American in my city, and in the school system through to graduation. My adoptive mother lost a few friends along the way that unfortunately did not agree with her choice, and just couldn’t understand why she would choose to raise a black child. I am blessed to have been welcomed into such a loving and unconventional family. I was taught to be accepting of others growing up, and to always be genuine and forthcoming with my feelings.

 Here are some brief interview questions I borrowed from a fellow transracial adoptee:

When and how did you first become aware that you were “different” to the rest of your family?

I was aware pretty early on, perhaps 3 years old. I was the only African American in the entire city at the time. It was glaringly obvious to me, I didn't look like *anyone* else, I didn't attend preschool or school with anyone that resembled me in the slightest.

How did this make you feel?

I embraced the fact that I was different, I knew there was a difference in my outward appearance,my hair texture etc. but I never felt alienated or shunned because of it. I made a space for myself in my small community and excelled academically and athletically, I was painfully shy until around age 21, but I definitley learned to hold my own quite well.

Did you and/or your parents ever have racial slurs thrown at you while you were growing up?

I heard the *n-word* thrown about during high-school mostly, being the only African American in my city I knew that there were some known prejudice parents who had passed their ignorance down to their children.
I once humiliated a classmate in front of his friends after he called me a n*gger one day sneakily in the hallway. I called him out in front of the last class of the day, asked him to give me the definition of the word and basically chastised him like a badly behaved child. I never heard that word again from him, and later received an apology, but  I still always remained on guard.

My parents were asked why they wanted a black child, told that they shouldn't adopt me, asked if they knew what they were doing, and the list goes on.They tried to deflect as much evil as they could from me.

A portion of society believes that children adopted by parents who are not of the same race are racially and culturally deprived. Do you agree with this statement?

Somewhat. I was not raised in my culture, I was raised in a Caucasian household. I wasn't equipped with the information needed to put me in touch with my black culture. I was oblivious to some very pertinent information. My parents did the best they could do with what they educated themselves about, they sought out avenues to help me gravitate towards my culture and explore. Sometimes, that just isn't enough, sometimes much more is needed.

Not until I graduated from high school and enrolled in college did I enter into a complete culture shock, Everything there was black or white, if you were black, you hung with black if you were white, you hung with your own. I was excited about what I was learning about myself, pleased to be accepted and schooled by my own race of people, I felt as if I finally belonged. I don't feel I was deprived, I felt privileged to receive such profound exposure to both cultures.

Adoptees generally have a lot of emotional issues to deal with. Did the fact that you are a transracial adoptee add to your “baggage”?

I think that baggage comes with a lot of adoptees, I don't think it mattered that I was a transracial adoptee. There will always be rejection issues with me and the need for acceptance. Knowing you are being treated differently or badly based solely on the color of your skin in unacceptable to me. I know that this has happened more than I care to admit.

Are you in favour of transracial adoption? Please state why you say yes or no.

I f the adoption is handled properly than yes, I am the biggest supporter. Thinking that you can raise a black child as a white child should never be the goal. There needs to be extensive research to connect the child with their own culture. It takes a unique person to adopt tranracially in the first place. Do you have or care what it takes?

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