Sunday, March 30, 2014

Family Updates

Hey there everyone! My board exam is FINALLY over, wahoo! It was really hard, but I honestly don't know what more I could have done to prepare, so now I'm just waiting the eight weeks until they send me a letter telling me whether or not I passed. Hopefully the answer is yes ;)

So now that I'm done with that, I have more time to devote to other things - namely our adoption proceedings. All of our paperwork is in with the home study agency. Our paperwork for our FBI clearance and the Nebraska sex offenders registry is in (fingers crossed we pass both of those :)). We have our first meeting with our social worker on Wednesday in McCook, which is about an hour from North Platte. We have three meetings with her, two in McCook and one at our house. The last meeting with her will be April 30th. Then we're hoping we'll be cleared by the end of May. We both have to go to the doctor to get physicals to make sure we have a normal life expectancy. The adoption agency should be contacting us again in the next week or so in order to start setting up our webpage. That is basically a place where birthmoms can go to look at pictures of us and learn more about who we are and what kind of a life we could offer to their baby.

I've also been doing A LOT of research into transracial adoption and raising kids that are a different race than you, especially black kids. There are several good blogs out there, as well as many books. I've ordered two on my kindle already, so once I finish I Am Malala (the book we're reading for the book club I joined), I'm planning on diving into those.

I reached out to a few women on the blogosphere that parent transracially. It's really a difficult situation. As a white person living in America, I think many of us naievly think that being a person of color raised in a white family in a white community would not be a big deal. Yeah, you might have some people say things, but don't we all have people pick on us as we grow up? As long as your child has a loving home, that is enough, right?

What I'm learning is that is wrong. Very wrong. Yes, love is very important. But it is also really important for your children to know and associate with people of color of all ages. It is important for you to have friends that are black and for your children to have friends who are black. There is a significant body of information that this is really essential for your child to grow up with a strong sense of self, as well as a healthy self-esteem. This is especially true for black males. Being a black man in this country can be difficult. As much as we would like to think it is not true, black men are hasseled by the police more and they are looked at suspiciously by many people. And it is important for them to have other black men to talk to about this kind of thing as they are growing up.

To say that we live in a colorblind society is not true. And to treat your kids as if they are not black, or to not mention it or talk to them about it is a terrible misstep. One of the things that I keep reading over and over is that as white people, we do not talk about race enough. Whether we have white kids or black kids, we often pretend that race is not an issue, we don't talk about it with our kids, because we want to portray that it doesn't matter. But it does matter, and  by not talking about it, what we are really conveying is that it is something scary or something we don't talk about. Kids segregate themselves by gender, and they recognize that people are different colors and they will naturally segregate themselves based on this. As parents it is our job to nudge them in the other direction. To talk to them about it and teach them to be more inclusive.

Anyways, I am still in the beginning stages of learning about it. I think there is a lot to learn. We have not changed our mind about adopting a black baby, but we are beginning to see what a challenge it may be to raise our child in this tiny town. There are approximately 450 African Americans in North Platte. And we will need to find a way to somehow engage our children in their community in some way. Whether that is signing our kid up for cub scouts through the black church, going to the black church, I don't really know, but I'm learning that it is very important.

In the end of the day we are open to the child that God has for us. Whoever or whatever color that baby may be. And just like we would move if we have a baby with terrible breathing trouble who would do so much better with his/her breathing if we moved to Arizona, if we find it's too difficult to raise our black kids in this white community, then we'll move. It will be our child, and they will come first when they need to. Because once you are a parent, there is little that is more important that making sure you raise a kid that is well adjusted with a healthy self-esteem.

If any of you out there are intersted in the blogs I've found most helpful so far, one is Rage Against the Minivan. Another is White Sugar, Brown Sugar. The first book I'm going to read is In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories.

It will be a journey, that is for sure!

1 comment:

Tammie said...

So, I just came down to send a copy of the baby shower invitation to you, and I read your new blog posting! So much of what we have been communicating about over the past few hours is right here. Good to hear your thoughts more completely. Love you MOM