I am still quite torn over the issue [of transracial adoption]. Even more so since so many of the children needing homes in this country are dark skinned. Sometimes I think, “Why am I making this such a big deal? Doesn’t this really come down to making sure my child knows their self worth regardless of skin color? Surely I could teach them the proper ways of responding to racism.” Then I read a blog like yours….
To be very honest, I felt after talking to you about it that I should never consider adopting a child of color. They really would be better off in foster care or in an orphanage.
Above are a couple of comments I’ve received after posting about transracial adoption. For those who didn’t grow up with me or don’t know much about my childhood or my adoption history — which would be almost all of you, I guess — I used to feel a great deal of personal responsibility to present adoption in a positive light. I was this little self-appointed poster child for adoption, particularly transracial adoption. I always spoke of it in the most glowing terms, and minimized any possible issues arising from it (in my own life and in the lives of others). I learned this from my own parents (who always insisted they were “colorblind,” and told me that was how I should be, too), but it was as much for their benefit as for my own — I thought that people might misunderstand or, worse, pity me if they thought for a second that adoption wasn’t all sunshine and roses for all concerned.
There was a time when I would have been racked with guilt if anyone told me I had dissuaded them from considering adoption, or thinking well of it. Truthfully, it still brings me up short, because I still feel that sense of responsibility, though now it’s more from the time I’ve spent working in adoption advocacy and education. I don’t walk around with my parents on a daily basis any longer; no one knows I’m part of a transracial adoption unless I volunteer it, and so I feel less pressure to present myself as evidence in its favor. I think that’s a good thing, and much healthier for me.
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Despite its flaws, and the times when it doesn’t work out “perfectly,” I am still about as pro-adoption as you can get without turning a blind eye to potential problems and abuses.
Still hoping for change
3 weeks ago