I sat down here this evening to share a recipe for a really nice pork and veggie stir-fry that I served my family earlier this week. I will share the recipe later. But now I’m totally waylaid by some thoughts perking around in my head after spending a good hour reading a blog written by an African American man who was raised by white parents.
We did a lot of thinking about issues of color before we first adopted. In Idaho there are quite a few Hispanic people, but very few African Americans, and we wondered what it would be like for kids of color being raised in our community. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons we decided to adopt more than one Korean child, and later, more than one Ethiopian child.
What we’ve found in the small circles that we inhabit regularly is that folks have gone out of their way to welcome our kids. We brought our first Korean child home in 1998, and our first Ethiopian child home in 2004. Each of their homecomings was just as celebrated as any child’s, and the adults and the other children accepted and welcomed our children very easily.
These days in our small church there are several other families with African-American kids. I love-love-love that thought that the little kids in our church, and our little grandsons, are used to seeing kids of every color romping everywhere. That is as it should be. It would be even better if there were African-American adults in our church, but that isn’t the case right now.
In the broader world– Wal-Mart, Target, etc– folks sometimes comment on our kids’ hair or ask where they were born, which can be tiresome. (Adoptive families everywhere weary of the repetitiveness of that line of questioning.) But the vibe that I get even from the questioning people 95% of the time is simply one of friendly interest. From what I’ve seen and from what our older kids tell me, hostility is not a normal part of life here in Idaho for our kids. But I do wonder how things may change as our children get older.
Once that I can remember, a man with a shaved head in a restaurant shot hate-looks at one of our kids of color. My child was a toddler at the time. The man’s expression made my veins feel icy–and so glad that people like him aren’t the norm around here. But that one horrid moment did serve to open my eyes to what lurks out in the world, what my children might someday encounter.
That’s why I read Kevin Hofmann’s blog with such intensity when I happened across it this evening. I want to understand my children’s experience, and to be able (as well as a pale blonde girl can do) to help our children navigate life in a grace-filled way while also preparing them for the occasional jerk who seems intent on making them feel like they’re not good enough. Tough, tough stuff. Here are three posts worth reading, whether you have kids of color or not. Guaranteed, you’ll come away with new insight and perspective.
The absurd town of Boysville —What does it feel like to be in the minority?
The power of my skin–what do our kids look for from others as they navigate the world?
Smashing fun-house mirrors– Will our minority kids be able to see their own worth as people?
I’d love to hear how you’ve hashed through these own issues with your children. How do you prepare your kids for racism without leaving them with a chip on their shoulder?Pin It