Growing up around grown-ups

Whenever I’m downtown or at the beach lately I’m noticing little black kids of all ages and I think, “that could be my kid in a couple years.” I love it. I see African-American kids on commercials and they make me happy. It is so good to feel good again. Trying to conceive and going through loss is a joy-killer for sure. Thinking about our little blackbird brings a lot of smiles. Love you, little bird.

Just finished Kevin Hofmann’s Growing Up Black in White. It’s making me think about the people our child will be surrounded by and how often I’ll have to be listening for racist jokes or mean comments. Thankfully, I don’t think it will happen very often. We have good people in our life. But I’m not naive enough to think that when we bring a baby of another race home all our friends and family will be magically educated and aware of race issues. Heck, I’m sure I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth sometimes, and I’m the one popping transracial adoption books like they’re candy.

I’ve seen a few adoptive moms talk about that. After they decided to adopt transracially they became a lot more passionate about equality and racism, and sometimes they felt bad for their friends who had to deal with this new person they became. I’ve caught myself a few times lately thinking about something differently than I would have a month ago. Like Paula Deen.

I’m also realizing how much of a privileged life I’ve had just because I’m white. Living in a different country for a year was a great experience to show me what it feels like to not fit in. I felt different all the time. I knew people were watching me when I got groceries. My clothes weren’t the same as everyone else’s. I didn’t understand the jokes, and I felt awkward a lot of the time. I tried to not stick out and be “normal.” But that was only a short time in my life and it was possible in part because I’m white. Plus it was really mild compared to what it would have been if my skin had more color – I saw how much more awkward it was for anyone with darker skin to be in that very white country.

Guess I’m just working through these thoughts and trying to figure out how to help the grown-ups in my life start thinking differently without being a snob or know-it-all. I know I hate it when somebody gets all wrapped up in something new and they try to force it down your throat, so I’m not going after that approach. My community is seriously vanilla-colored, though, and we have some things to learn. I want the best for my baby: a place to grow up with love, a proud history, a strong sense of identity and contentment with who they were created to be. That’s what my parents did for me. Hope I took good notes. Sweet dark-eyed babe of the blue-eyed momma, we’re gonna find out what it takes to make you great.

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