Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

Are view of interracial adoption different in various parts of the US?

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my husband and i are white, we are looking to adopt. the race factor isn’t that big of an issue to us.
we live in central california, and we see bi-racial couples and childeren all the time, and no one seems to be bothered by it.
is it different in other parts of the US? and why
because it doesn’t seem to make a diffence in our area, what is you opinion on us adopting a child of another race?
and does the race matter?

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sadly, i think the fact that it’s even up for discussion indicates what an uneasy relationship we all have with the topic of race, much less when we are forced to deal with it’s ism in our lives…

i do not believe racism can be narrowed down by region anymore. we live in a mobile culture, and people with bias have been broadcast from sea to shining sea. and the nature of racism has changed, because it is aware of it’s public face, so its manifestation is more subtle and nuanced. you never can know when you will meet it or what form it will take. but it lingers. it is everywhere. in practice, we have not caught up with the ideal of “we are the world” yet.

even in a cosmopolitan city your children will encounter racism. but in a cosmopolitan city, there too will your children encounter more people to identify with. even in a city, there are regional differences. i live in a major city, but its cosmopolitan has moved to the edges of the urban center, so the center is now predominantly an economically advantaged racial mono-culture, while various races are forced by economics or by choosing community to hug the city’s margins. the racial divide is now a fifteen minute drive by car. it is the inverse of the white flight found during the genesis of surburban developments.

and if you travel to the rural areas, an hour drive by car, race and economic class become even more distinct and separated. i don’t believe there is more racism there, just that it is more obvious.

odds are that, even with your best efforts, you will never be able to offer an experience that can give your child adequate access to their race’s experience, as your race might be the limiting factor for entry into a racial community. no matter how open and supportive you are with your children, you will not be able to shield them from society recognizing and remarking on how different they are from you. this will come in the form of celebrity, curiosity, criticism, hostility, or second class status. and no matter where you live, your child will encounter subtle and sometimes overt racism. nor will your experiences dealing with race differences in any way match or effect you in the same way it effects your child. this will take its toll, but it will be their own private burden to deal with. so yes, race matters. it hurts a lot. it hurts in ways that deeply alter your self esteem, and the subtle variety takes years to recognize and dissect in order to understand why you feel bad.

i will not speak about my own experience at this time, but i will share the story of an african-american male adopted friend. his well meaning caucasian parents adopted him believing their love and understanding would cancel out the race factor. he was considered too white by the black minority where he grew up. he was considered too black by the white majority where he grew up. (this was a liberal, open-minded community) and though his parents tried to be color blind and provide a color blind world view for him, the truth was his world was color focused. because even if there is no hatred and the society is accepting, the fact is that people still address and relate to people of color differently. it wasn’t until he was in high school where some african american sisters took pity on him and helped TEACH him how to fit in better as an african american male that he began to stop feeling like an alien. all of which was to the detriment of his place in white society and to his relationship with his adoptive family, both of which he rejected to be more fully black. he spent his adult life very angry over having been put in this avoidable situation, and it wasn’t until a nervous breakdown that he finally came to terms with his adoption and forgave his parents.

this is a stark example. however, most of us transracial adoptees have parallel paths. i believe, if given a choice, most of us would have preferred to be placed in a home that matched racially.

here’s some interesting commentary on YouTube:
struggles for identity

struggles for identity 10 years later

Written by girl4708

September 21, 2008 at 8:46 am

Posted in Q&A

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