Monday, March 1, 2010

Adoption Carnival Six

I've been struggling these past few days...struggling with my post for Grown In My Heart's sixth adoption carnival

The gist of the carnival is this:

How do you handle racism? GIMH knows that some of you may not have encountered this in adoption but what WOULD you do if you were to encounter it?

I'm not really sure how to write for this topic speaking as a domestic adoptee...but I'll give it a shot.

My adoptive father was racist.  Phew.  Okay, so now that THAT is out of the way... 

My adoptive sister and I were always told that there was no way in hell that we'd "be allowed" to bring home an African American boyfriend or an Asian boyfriend...(except he used the extremely offensive terms that decent human beings don't use).  We grew up in a predominantly (by that, I really mean that there was one African American family that lived in the next town over) Caucasian area of central Massachusetts.  Looking back on it now, it was a very sheltered existence and not one that really prepared me to be a citizen of the world. 

What was ironic was that we went to church and Sunday school every week and inevitably we'd end up singing this song:

Jesus loves the little children,

All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Sadly, not every parent teaches their children that looking down on someone just because they look a certain way, or because, in their own minds, that particular group does some things differently than what they are used to.  And that's not fair to the kids. 

Honestly, I will never understand why we can't all get along.  Everyone's the same WHAT if we look different...everyone has a heart (although, in the case of my adoptive father, that fact is debatable)...everyone has a brain (except for some of my ex poops (and if you're like my son, that would only be once every two days so that he 'cracks' the toilet so poor Mommy has to plunge the hell out of the thing)...everyone eats...sleeps...laughs...cries...well, you get the picture. 

I hate thinking about adoptees having to experience racism in their a domestic adoptee, I never did.  I did however get treated differently (i.e. tormented, tortured, and teased mercilessly) because of the way I looked.  And I just remember how shitty it made me feel and still makes me feel to this day.  I know it's not the same thing, but it was certainly harassment and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

I'm raising my children to respect the Golden Rule..and to never say or do anything to someone that you wouldn't mind someone doing to you.  So far it's working...fingers crossed that it's enough.

1 comment:

  1. I've been working a lot lately on racial issues, identifying what part of my personal identity comes from my white/British/Anglo ethnic heritage and how to honestly position myself within that heritage as an advocate and ally for anti-racist causes.

    My position as an adoptive mother of an african-american child is a big part of this of course.

    All to say - a lot of what you write resonates with me, I had similar enough experiences with my natural relatives in my biological family to nod my head as I read your entry.

    The only clarification I'd add, or offer maybe, is that not experiencing racism wasn't a function of you being a domestic adoptee, but of you being white. And non-white adoptees don't experience racism because they're adopted - they experience it because they're not white. That experience of racism and alienation from "mainline" (white) culture and privilege can be exacerbated if they're the only person of color in their community, or their white parents don't take intentional steps to be anti-racist and connect their child with adult mentors of their race.

    Good post, I have really been enjoying reading your blog. ♥


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