Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


Questions of Color

Question 2: The Question of Color

The following comment arrived in my hotmail account yesterday and I asked the writer's permission to share here so that I can blog on this topic.

"I don't know if I could love a black, brown, green or blue child when I am so white. If we were in Walmart and we got separated, would I automatically always look for a white little boy/girl or could I learn to look for a child that is a different color than I am? If I were braiding her hair for a school picture, would I secretly wish that it wasn't so kinky? Would I have any desire to visit their homeland or understand their culture when the only places that I want to visit are populated by Caucasian cultures?"

Boy was I surprised to get this email. And then I realized, yet again, that maybe others feel this way but are embarrassed to put the thoughts into words.

I don't think there is anything embarrassing about these questions. We live in a society that while no longer segregated still has a long way to go before we could consider ourselves color-blind. According to the website Rainbow Kids, these are questions that come up frequently. Here is an article to prove it!http://www.rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=601

So here are my thoughts, which work for me, but I bet that different families would answer these questions in different ways.

First, I have learned, through experience, that when you intertwine your life with another person's life, you begin to see them with a different set of eyes. Maybe we could call them the heart and soul eyes.

An example from my foster care days:

One day my officemate and I were preparing a toddler for her visit with her mom in our office. Our supervisor was standing in the doorway and when the toddler left with her mom we continued to praise the child's beauty and charm which led to praise for ALL of our little foster kids' adorableness. Our supervisor said something that struck us as so strange. She said "I don't know why you think that little girl is so cute. She's just average, not a beauty queen or anything." We were SO surprised. We honestly thought she was lovely. But we realized that we thought "our" children were all so cute because we knew their little hearts. We knew which songs they wanted to sing in the car, how to cheer them up when they were sad, and we knew they thought we were safe and fun and looked up to us with big adoring eyes. It was a heart and soul connection.

Second, just like ducklings imprint on mommy duck, I believe that we will "imprint" on our child and vice versa. I don't imagine we'll ever get confused and look for the wrong child in Walmart. I think our child will be so imprinted on our hearts that it will be impossible to get confused.

As for the culture question I think that for some people this is also a question of experience. (For others maybe there is a natural interest but this probably is not the norm.)

We naturally think that what is normal to us is best. We've been raised in a culture that says America is best, English is all you need to know, the rest of the world is a scary and dangerous place. And if I never got on a plane to see it for myself I might think this way too.

Fortunately I have had half a lifetime of travel, particularly to developing countries, so in some ways I am a little ahead of the curve at least in terms of knowing for a fact that I can appreciate and celebrate diversity in people, song, dance, food, religion, language, norms, climates, animals and landscapes. We are designed to appreciate the difference but without seeing the world it can be easy develop a barrier of fear.

As adoptive parents we will see the heart and soul of our child and I feel sure that will help to create love and bonds. We will travel to his/her country to explore and appreciate so that there will be no fear. We will encourage our child to return. We will seek out other families that will appreciate our child's culture, language and even hair and will be able to give us advice and encouragement. For those that can't automatically appreciate I hope we'll be able to help break down that barrier.


No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.