Note: I write this post with my “parent hat” on, instead of my “educator hat—” although that hat is always with me…
2010 has is only weeks away from being over. We move into a new decade, full of hope opportunity and promise. This year I again filled out a census for our family. In doing so I reflected on the significant changes that occurred over the short ten years. The last time I filled out a census, I had two children. I was ten years younger, void of gray hair, had wrinkles (although not so deeply embedded), and more than ten pounds lighter. I was a white woman married to a white man. Mother to an active inquisitive son (biological) and a daughter who quietly absorbed her new world (adopted from China). I was less…”seasoned.”
Ten years brought many changes and greater diversity within my family. I am still married to that same marvelous man and mom to four kids, one biological and three who were adopted, from China and Guatemala. We are multiracial. We are multi-ethnic. We are multi-cultural, in that wrapped up kind of way we have of doing it in America, embracing other cultures along with those that are ours. We also embrace adoption, choice, differences, and life.
By adopting internationally and transracially, I stepped into the role of advocacy, forever. About adoption and the choices I (we) made in my decision to adopt—transracial instead of same-race, international instead of domestic, boy versus girl and girl versus boy (I am mom to two of each sex). I began to write, teach and coach.
By adopting internationally and transracially, I chose to focus on the strengths of an interracial family created through marriage, biology and adoption by:
- Preserving the richness of our composite traditions, customs and cultures
- Encouraging my children to claim their birth and adopted heritages
- Teaching my kids about diversity by instilling a tough-minded acceptance that the world is a racist world, they are stereotyped because of their race, and that our family is one of many that is evidence that races can coexist, with understanding, respect and love
- Educating them about adoption perceptions, that it is typically stigmatized, seen as “second best”
- Encouraging an openness, respect and understanding for others
- Helping my kids understand that biology has little to do with us being a family
Ten years ago I didn’t fully realize what advocacy meant. I do now. And I want to be heard:
- For my children
- For my family
- For other adoptive families
- For parents who have adopted transracially and domestically
- For parents who have adopted internationally
- For those considering adoption or are waiting for their child(ren) to join them
- For myself
I wonder what the next ten years will hold…
Parents: What has taken place during your past ten years? How have you adjusted to advocating for your child, family and adoption?