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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Throughout our adoption/home study classes we had to do a lot of research and learning on the topic of “Transracial Adoption” – is it right for you? Are you a couple able/willing to adopt a child of a different race? We read books, we had to watch videos (the same one twice at two different classes!), and we had to take an entire three hour long training class on “Transracial Adoption.” The training was held at Amara and was excellent, but by the time we got to it, we’d already done all of the other reading, watching, learning, so it was mostly review. The best (most entertaining) part of the training was the Seventeen-Magazine-Type Quiz that we got to take. Instead of ‘which kind of boy should you be dating?’ questions it was all “can you handle transracial adoption?” And “just how much do you hold on to racial stereotypes?” etc. It was a little amusing because it was pretty obvious what the correct answers were. But it was good in thinking not just about how you feel about it, but how you’d handle a situation when others don’t react well, and just being aware of the area in which you live…is transracial adoption really a good idea for your family?

Mike and I have always believed that we will get whatever child (girl-child!) we are intended to have. No matter what she looks like, what sort of family she comes from, she will be OURS. We’ve also talked about adoption with the boys WAY before we even told them that we were planning to adopt. A couple of years ago, Matthew even showed me his stuffed animal family on his bed; they were all bears except for the sister bunny. “She looks different ‘cuz she’s adopted,” his four-year-old-self explained.

Well, now that same boy may need to take a few of the transracial adoption courses with us. We live in a somewhat diverse area – our immediate surroundings (neighborhood/shopping area/school) aren’t hugely diverse, but just south of us where we do preschool, the gym, and a lot of our shopping has a lot of diversity. Matthew. Ahhh, Matthew. Ever since Barack Obama was elected president he’s had some confusion, and I don’t know how to PC-ily correct it (even with all these classes)!

Basically any African-American man on my computer screen (when looking at the news, etc.) is Barack Obama. There happened to be an article about a rather infamous man lately – Tiger Woods – and Matthew, walking by, all nonchalantly pointed and said, “Oh! There’s Barack!” (He’s even on a first name basis). I always explain – as delicately as possible – That, no, actually, that’s not the president…Matthew even gestured toward a man in Costco once and said (thankfully, quietly), “Is that the president?!”

And yesterday, I learned that this Presidential-Profiling, if you will, is not limited to Mr. President. When we were walking home from the school bus, I waved and said hello to one of our neighbors who happens to be a very attractive African-American woman. Matthew (again, not too loudly, I think, I HOPE), said, “Is that Mrs. Barack Obama?! I didn’t know she lived here!”

We may be open to transracial adoption, but our six-year-old? Hmmm. Maybe not so much.


SalernoStrings said...

Growing up in a multi racial household I too had random interactions with people trying SO HARD to make a genetic connection between us and my sister. I was once at Cucina Presto and I wanted to order the kids small pizza because it was cheaper and smaller and just exactly what I wanted. The guy said "You don't look 11" and I said "Well I probably don't look like HER sister but I AM!"
Alex's little sister (also adopted from Korea but as a 3 month old baby) started to notice differences between her and her family at about age 3 and went up to her mom and said "Mommy, am I black?"
As for my sister, you'd think teachers would realize a Korean with an Italian last name was PROBABLY adopted, but it was so funny to see how much people automatically went to the biological genetic solution first before contemplating she might have been adopted.

Julia said...

That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Ever. I adore your child.

Morgan said...

haha, my 3.5 yr old son does the same thing re:Obama. Just today he was watching The Electric Company and was like "Mommy it's Obama!" haha yeah no, we need some more diversity in our lives, even though we are already a multi racial family but in our surrounding community it's almost all white, if we end up adopting we would definitely need to work on expanding those horizons quite a bit. Lots to think about. Great post..