Thursday, September 4, 2008

Article about families with caucasian birth children, adopted children of color

My Google News Alert just popped up another interesting newspaper article: Combining Colors: Blending Race and Biology is a Balancing Act for Parents. What it has to say about adoptive parenting and transracial adoption seems to me to apply whether or not there are biological children in the mix. But I bet things get much harder with "blended families." Would love to hear more about it from those who are saying been there, done that.

A few key paragraphs from the article, but click on "Combining Colors" above to read the whole thing:

But questions of identity can nag, even into adulthood.

John Raible and Lisa Gordon are grown-ups now, both raised by parents of a different race. With their “born-to” siblings, they’re part of a blend created through biology and transracial adoption.

“Even in adulthood, the question lingers, ‘Where do we fit in?’ ” said Raible, who is biracial and was raised by white parents in a predominantly white environment, in the documentary “Struggle for Identity.”

Raible, a transracial adoption researcher and multicultural educator — and himself the dad of two black sons — focused on the issue for his dissertation. He concluded after in-depth interviews with a dozen families that they “can minimize race and try to remain safe, oblivious and colorblind, or they can embrace racial and cultural differences and educate themselves about, and eventually take up in a principled way, anti-racism and multiculturalism.”

Gordon, 26, grew up in Fairport, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester. Her parents adopted her from South Korea at age six months after her sister Megan was born.

“It was a very cookie cutter, suburban white town,” Gordon said. “I was always very much a Twinkie, yellow on the outside and white through and through. I do remember feeling different and my sister thinking a lot of the time, ‘People don’t know we’re sisters. They think we’re friends.’ Today people ask me, ‘What are you?’ and I’m, like, ‘What do you mean what am I?’ It takes me a while to figure out what they’re talking about.”

* * *

Gordon advises families that are blended like hers to “be as open as possible. Really talk things through” when issues arise.

* * *

Experts urge parents to be prepared for the journey.

“The old school is, ‘I will adopt my child and keep going just like we gave birth,”’ said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and father of two adopted children. “Well, that’s not the case. It’s right there whether you as a parent feel like dealing with it or not. You have a big job to do. It requires more education for the parent, and in a sense more parenting.”

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thanks. I also found an audio interview with the girls (it is only four minutes) that I linked on my blog.