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Bi-racial/Transracial Adoption: Fears, Prejudice & Praise


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I've been reading this topic for the past couple of days. As most of you know, we are a transcultural family. Yes, sometimes we get those "weird stares and off color comments". We have learned to respond positively and move on and not let those comments be barriers to our family.

I must share an experience with you that happened recently relating to our son. He is playing on a basketball team and one of the children on that team made a rude comment to our son. The comment was directed to imply that due to our son being a different color he was not an "American". It hurt, but after some tears and loads of hugging time between our son and us his parents, we decided to make the best out of the situation. So the next week (game day), our son took an extra $1 and bought his teammate a Gatorade drink and began talking with him and invited him to attend AWANA (Bible class at our church). This past week our son's teammate attended the AWANA class and today told our son he had a great time and wants to come back this coming Wednesday. The barrier of our son being a different color was no longer an issue between our son or his teammate and it's all due to how we as a family reacted to the comment. Yes, we were upset by the comment and yes, we were hurt cause our son was deeply hurt. We could have made a HUGE scene over the comment, but decided as a family we would move forward with the love of Christ. It has made all the difference. My son has seen how reacting in a positive way is much better and more effective vs. reacting in a negative way and the beauty of it for our son and his teammate is they each have made a new friend! :)

There will always be those that live on this earth that don't agree with the decisions on how we grow our family but it's up to us (as parents) to seek within our own hearts and find the peace that passes all understanding on how our family is to be grown.

I will be praying for those of you that are making decisions as you consider Elizabeth's request.

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I am so glad to see all of the positive dialoge on this subject. It is never easy to step out of your comfort zone. It is the miracle that may happen once you do ...that makes it all worth it. Everytime I look at the forum gallery I see a sea of transracial famlies. It warms my heart! I know for me the idea of adopting children who were AA was never a problem. I know I am in a totally different situation than most.....because I AM biracial. It's funny however, the box that I did NOT check was boy. I know weird now that I have two boys. I thought as a single woman I would not be allowed to adopt a male. Little did I know. Again ...fear of the unknown.

Racism is everywhere. It is a sad but, true fact. It is only when we educate ourselves that this will help. As some of you know I grew up with an extremley predjudice maternal grandmother. She did not in any way try to hide her racism. She would buy my other cousins $200 christmas gifts and she would buy me $5 earrings from Kmart. She would talk about my "nappy" hair when no one was around. My big lips and nose...when no one was around but, me. It was very hurtful...yet I succeeded in spite of her. My mother was such a strong force in building my self esteem...that I KNEW I was more than she (GM) said I was....which was nothing in her eyes. She would not attend my wedding...because.....My husband was biracial, one bridesmaid was black, I was biracial, one bridesmaid was white(but, my grandmother thought she was gay). She never accepted ME! But, the funny thing is ...is she LOVED my two boys! She died last year at the age of 87. I guess I can say...she never loved me or cared to show it ..! But, through the grace of God my precious boys were never victims of her Racism. She welcome them with loving arms. They LOVED her in return. It is still hard for me to see her in a positvie light. To my kids however, She was the greatest. That is all I can ask for!

In the face of my sweet brown faced boys...my grandmother was able to see good even though it was in the form of her biggest hatred and fear!

So, guess the whole point to my rambling is that things do get better, eyes do come open, and at the end of the day ......EXPECT A MIRACLE!!!!

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Thanks for your post Sabrina.

It makes me sad to think that your grandmother treated you the way she did. It makes me sad to think that people in my own family in the past would do the same thing. I would like to think that my family members would embrace any child of mine.

I like to think that it is our generation that will make the difference.

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Wow, what an inspirational thread. The ignorance of others is sometimes quite overwhelming. We have matched with a birthfamily in Texas...she is hispanic and he is caucasion. We have rejoiced in sharing the news. I must admit that one of our friends and neighbors is somewhat a prejudiced. There have been several instances when my husband and I left the room when he was talking. It doesn't matter the ethnicity... he has something to say about everyone. We finally had to tell him how uncomfortable it made us. While he made no apologies, he is not so boisterous when we are around anymore (thank the Lord!). The worst part is his 10 year old son is just like him!

He and his wife were so excited for us when they found out we matched. They went overboard on the "it doesn't matter what ethnicity the child is". Of course we didn't even think about that. My husband was so upset yesterday. He had taken a different neighbor and his two daughters and our neice to the boat show. The youngest daughter informed my husband that our prejudiced neighbor's son told everyone that we are "gettin us a little Mexican baby and anyone can do that."

Needless to say, we are processing this information so that we can deal with the situation in a logical manner. I thought my husband's head was going to absolutely pop off. We may not have our baby in our home yet, but the defenses came up immediately. This will probably cause the end of a friendship, but as the old saying goes, "with friends like that, who needs enemies?"

Suggestions are welcome...

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What an interesting topic! When I think back to almost 6 (oh my gosh) years ago that my husband and I were anticipating our first adoption, I shudder to think of what would (or wouldn't have) happened if we had not been willing to "check the boxes" and allow a child of any race into our family. I honestly believe that had we not been open minded as to race, we would have missed out on our three precious children. They have blessed our lives and made our lives more complete than we even thought possible.

Please, if you are a parent in waiting and have any questions/concerns about what it means to be a transracial family, don't hesitate to PM me. The unknown is scrary, and I know we still have many "unknowns" in front of us in regards to racial issues/prejudice. I do believe that God will not give any of us more than we can handle. Just have faith that the child meant to be a part of your forever family will be lovingly placed in your arms.

I thank God every day for our three miracles with their light brown skin and sparkling brown eyes.

Tamra

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I can say that 4 years ago when we started trying to get pregnant it never crossed my mind that my child would not be caucasian. Who knew I wouldn't get pregnant!!!

Anyway, when we started considering adopting we thought international (China or Russia). At first I leaned towards Russia since most of the kids are caucasion. I quickly realized that didn't matter to me. Anyway, we decided that international was not for us and started looking at domestic adoption. We had decided on Abrazo when I found out (HUGE SHOCKER) I was pregnant. Infertility treatments had worked. However, I miscarried at 8 weeks. I told my husband I was through with treatments and back to adoption.

Our private adoption happend by a strange twist of events....God is creative at times...When we spoke with our birthmom she said that the birthfather was cajun. We really didn't care, but we were happy to know. Our birthmom is hispanic.

I personally think we have the most beautiful little boy that is going to break hearts in about 20 years.

I love my little hispanic/cajun guy and couldn't imagine my life without him.

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I must say that I can't wait for mine and Keith's one year anniversary to come so we can start the process of adoption. We are having a homestudy done very soon because of our foster parenting also. Every"box" will be checked for us. I can't wait. :P

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I can't help it, but I have been thinking about this topic alot over the past few days. 1st of all, I live it everyday, it is my life and I wouldn't change a thing... and 2nd of all, I keep asking myself is there anything I could do or say that might change someone's mind about parenting a child outside of their race.

I keep thinking about how I felt at the beginning of my adoption journey..I was open to a child of any race, I hardly gave that box a 2nd glance but scared to DEATH about open adoption. Honestly, I only checked YES in that box because I thought it would get me placed sooner. I had never heard of an open adoption, I had no idea how it would work, how I might feel and the impact it might have on my child or my family..or on the birth family. At the agency in California, it wasn't even called "open" adoption, you checked off your willingness for contact..ei..meet face-to-face, letters/pictures, identified placement ( meaning last names exchanged) stuff like that. I was scared and so was my family - honestly my family had zero issues with the color of my child, they were freaked by the whole meeting the birth mother, staying in contact ect.

My Mom and I dropped off pictures to the agency, at the request of Gabe's birthmom when he was about 10 days old. They had called to tell me that LaTonya was greiving ( duh...) and would I mind dropping of some picture. BTW...I was over there in about an hour and we had lunch when Gabe was 3 months old...it was awesome. And then we had lunch again a few months later. Its been 4 years and everytime I mention to my Dad that we saw or are going to see Latonya he asks the same question: "Do you really think that's a good idea?" YES I do...

But some how..I knew on some level that contact is good for everyone, and that secrets, questions, wondering can be harmful, or painful or even damaging to all. So I pressed on even though I was scared, unsure even frightened that an open adoption might somehow back-fire and I would be left heart-broken.

So I wonder if transracial adoption could be the same enlightening process for some. I wonder how many adoptive parents initally "checked" YES to that box - biracial or AA because they thought it might "get them placed sooner". I would bet ya - that not too many would give back the children they now love and adore. I am sure that they must have been scared, unsure and frightened when orginally "matched" with a child of color and his/her birth family, but I know that its scary period..no matter what color the child will be. Until you look at the face of your child, and your heart tells you its okay to love THIS child...its a hard process.

For me and my family, transracial adoption simply adds another layer to the entire adoption story - but its not the whole story. I have NO idea what will be the issues that my children will face surrounding their adoptions, but I prepare for them all. Being adopted, having full birth siblings or 1/2 siblings, contact vs no contact, birth fathers, being raised black and Jewish, being raised by a single women..the list goes on and on...I think race is only a part of the whole "matza ball". I know most of the PIW wonder what issues their child might have, and I think a few might choose NOT to transracial adopt believing that its better for the child. My heart tells me that those that leave boxes "unchecked" have probably never really loved someone that was another color, or another race and are unsure of their capacity to do so.

I have heard from some that parents, siblings, friends ect would have "huge" issues if I/we adopted a AA child. I ask them is that what they "think" or is that what they "know" as in having had a frank and honest discussion with the person(s) in question. I think people might be surprized if they asked the "rascist" family members flat out to discuss it with them, I really think more would be supportive and be ready to welcome a child into the family than you might think. Or at least that has been my experience. Again, if you fall in love just once with someone who looks different from everyone else you have ever loved or held close....color issues melt and become another layer of the story.

So - fall in love!

Lastly - I had a wonderful patient named Griffin, and he met Gabe and I for lunch (his Mom too) when Gabe was a few weeks old. Griffin at age 4 took one look at him...and said to me..."cool Heidi, you have a chocolate baby...but it doesn't matter the outside color, cause the blood inside is always red" As a nurse - I will tell you he's right

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So - fall in love!

Lastly - I had a wonderful patient named Griffin, and he met Gabe and I for lunch (his Mom too) when Gabe was a few weeks old. Griffin at age 4 took one look at him...and said to me..."cool Heidi, you have a chocolate baby...but it doesn't matter the outside color, cause the blood inside is always red" As a nurse - I will tell you he's right

Heidi, we certainly have!! I have to say that it was awesome of Griffin to make that observation. If we as adults could be so bold to speak out like that.

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I have heard from some that parents, siblings, friends ect would have "huge" issues if I/we adopted a AA child. I ask them is that what they "think" or is that what they "know" as in having had a frank and honest discussion with the person(s) in question. I think people might be surprized if they asked the "rascist" family members flat out to discuss it with them, I really think more would be supportive and be ready to welcome a child into the family than you might think.

I would add that (at least in our experience) sometimes the reservations that our close family members have, spring from concern over our welfare - perhaps like the question Heidi's dad asks when she visits Gabe's birthmom. The people who love us don't want to see us hurt, and not having had the privilege of being educated about transracial adoption and/or open adoption, they can only draw on the stories they have heard (and we all know that the bad stories are more publicized than the good ones!)

I remember as a teenager asking my dad about dating or marrying transracially. His response was that he would not be opposed (he cared far more about the condition of my future husband's heart than the color of his skin, and rightly so!) but he would want me to be fully aware of the issues we would face. Because my dad loved me, he wouldn't want me to be blindsided later - and I loved and respected him for it.

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What an awesome topic!!!

I love that the adoption process gave me the opportunity to ask myself some of the difficult questions that it did....and still does.

Back when we were checking those boxes, for us it came down to the fact that "We wanted to be parents" - NOT "We wanted to be parents of a _____ (perfectly healthy, anglo, girl, etc) ___child". The "cringe-factor" was just too overwhelming for us to not open ourselves up to the possibilities. I believe that a power beyond myself (God) was very capable of making those kinds of decisions for me. He knows what He is doing.

As far as the fears that popped up (i.e. reactions of family members, how the child would adjust, are we capable of giving what is needed, etc), I believe to be necessary and valid questions because we want to go into things with eyes wide open and do the things to prepare for the possibilities; however, I don't want to live in fear or make decisions simply out of fear. Too many blessings would be forfeited. There may be some things that, after truely considering them, you choose to say no to; however, it shouldn't be because of fear.

I am so glad we opened our hearts.

Edited by MarkLaurie
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I believe that a power beyond myself (God) was very capable of making those kinds of decisions for me. He knows what He is doing.

Great point! I think alot of times I know what is right for me or our family but I have to remain open to what He knows is best. Sometimes what we have in mind is not His perfect plan.

As far as the fears that popped up (i.e. reactions of family members, how the child would adjust, are we capable of giving what is needed, etc), I believe to be necessary and valid questions because we want to go into things with eyes wide open and do the things to prepare for the possibilities; however, I don't want to live in fear or make decisions simply out of fear. Too many blessings would be forfeited. There may be some things that, after truely considering them, you choose to say no to; however, it shouldn't be because of fear.

I am so glad we opened our hearts.

We cringed too, when thinking if we didn't check a certain box, that we might miss out on what was truely meant to be. I think maybe the decision to check those boxes was, in a way, made out of fear. The fear of, as Laurie put it so well, forfeiting too many blessings!

Just another way to look at it the same way I guess. :)

Amanda, Hugs to you! I hope all is well!

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I wrote a poem tonight when I was thinking about my boys and how blessed I am...

(not sure if this was the right place to post it)

Isn't it beautiful?

How was I to know how beautiful the painting was to be?

You see a masterpiece was being created for me...

with each stroke of his brush done lovingly

the artist used a rainbow of colors for my family.

Isn't it beautiful?

Van Gogh and Monet were some of the greats....

But, it was for the master I decided to wait...

A painting so divine...the colors so grand...

done according to the master's plan

Isn't it beautiful?

There are so many choices in this rainbow of life

How could he know which colors were right?

I did not choose the time or the day...

I sat back waited for the Father to say...

your masterpiece is complete now handle with care...

Isn't it beautiful?

As I look at this painting done for me with love

I give thanks to the Father from up above

This masterpiece was created for me...

It's a rainbow of love called my family...

Isn't it beautiful?

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Sabrina...you need to publish your poems!!! They are BEAUTIFUL! I am blown away by the gift you have!!!!
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I wrote a poem tonight when I was thinking about my boys and how blessed I am...

(not sure if this was the right place to post it)

Is'nt it beautiful?

How was I to know how beautiful the painting was to be?

You see a masterpiece was being created for me...

with each stroke of his brush done lovingly

the artist used a rainbow of colors for my family.

Isn't it beautiful?

Van Gogh and Monet were some of the greats....

But, it was for the master I decided to wait...

A painting so divine...the colors so grand...

done according to the master's plan

Isn't it beautiful?

There are so many choices in this rainbow of life

How could he know which colors are right?

I did not choose the time or the day...

I sat back waited for the Father to say...

your masterpiece is complete now handle with care...

Isn't it beautiful?

As I look at this painting done for me with love

I give thanks to the Father from up above

This masterpiece was created for me...

It's a rainbow of love called my family...

Isn't it beautiful?

It is beautifully glorious!

Sorry I missed your call this evening. I'll catch up to you in a day or two.

Hugs,

Jean

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Sabrina I loved your poem!

I have been lurking on this post for sometime. We were weighing our hearts and options. Shawn and I came to the conclusion that we will think outside the box and open our hearts to a child of any race. I feel better that we are not limiting ourselves. Thank you all for your inspirational thoughts and comments.

Heather :)

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oh heather....i literally got chills when reading your post!!!!!

you are so special!!!!!

and sabrina, hoow about putting all those poems of yours in a book and giving us abrazo famiies the opportunity to buy them? along w/your photography....you are so gifted my friend!

lisa

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Sabrina I loved your poem!

I have been lurking on this post for sometime. We were weighing our hearts and options. Shawn and I came to the conclusion that we will think outside the box and open our hearts to a child of any race. I feel better that we are not limiting ourselves. Thank you all for your inspirational thoughts and comments.

Heather :)

Heather and Shawn,

I am so THERE for you guys...........

Hugs

Heidi

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I wrote my senior term paper in college on transracial adoptions and after months of researching and reading nearly every signifigant study done on the topic the general consensus was that children adopted transracially were just as well-adjusted as their non-transracially adopted peers. And obviously better adjusted than children who languished in the foster care system because they were unable to be placed.

There was only one study with contradictory findings but it was later argued that it was flawed and thus does not hold merit.

It was so interesting for me becuase you so often hear people say they can't or won't adopt trasracially because it would be yoo hard on the child. And the evidence shows it's not hard on the children but perhaps too hard for the adults.

If we teach this generation to be more accepting and tolerant maybe we won't have to have this conversation in years to come.

Sabrina, your poem is beautiful.

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Sabrina - That poem was amazing!!! Simply beautiful.

Heather - We are all here for you. Best wishes on your journey.

Renee - Thanks for your input and information on this topic - I'm sure it is helpful. And welcome back!!!

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Yippee Heather. I love to hear those words... they are so freeing! You never know what you could have been missing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are so THERE for you too!

P.S. I'm a bit biased as you can tell. I mean well though!

Edited by MarceloandClaudia
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