From all of the reading of books and blogs, and the conversations I’ve had with adult adoptees (many of them Korean, a few of them my age), I’ve learned that it is of the upmost importance to 1) Make adoption something that is talked about freely in our home without it being a big deal and 2) Put them in a diverse school where they will never ever ever ever be considered (or consider themselves) “other”.Be sure to read the whole thing, and check out the comments, too. I can't think of a word to disagree with in this post (and I've criticized RQ when I've disagreed!), but the commenters sure have. The discussion has spilled out into the discussion board , as well as at a follow-up post where RQ encourages readers to listen to what adult adoptees have to say. With RQ being such a trusted name in China adoption, and being someone as about pro-adoption as you could imagine, some of her following is really imploding on hearing hard truths!
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All kids have to form a self identity, that’s part of growing up… figuring out who you are. As a general rule, kid’s who aren’t white have to do more defining than kids who are white. I’m told that my girls are likely going to go through stages of identifying as more Chinese, then less Asian, then more American and try to ignore the Asian part, then go overboard with the Chinese stuff, etc. Eventually they will find a balance and figure out who they want to be, how they want to identify. And we, as parents, need to be okay with their experiments.
From what I’ve been told, if you put a child into a classroom where they are the only non-white child, or one of only two or three non-white children, then they will see themselves as being “different”, and the process of figuring out who they are gets derailed. But if you put them into a situation where diversity is a fact of life, where they are just one of the diverse and multi-cultured crowd and aren’t seen as being “other”, then they can explore their individuality from a much better place.
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Before we adopted GlitterGirl I considered myself open minded, but I now realize how clueless I was. You know the saying, “Things you know, things you don’t know… and then the things you don’t know that you don’t know.” My understanding of racial issues fell firmly into that last category. There is another saying, the one about white people having the luxury of thinking race doesn’t matter. It took me a while to understand that statement.
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