In May of 2009, I recieved a call that would change my life forever. It was the call that my social worker had found a child that matched our family profile. It was the call that led to the adoption of my daughter, Elizabeth. I will never forget that day. I was at my son's karate lesson when I got "the call".
Yesterday I got another call. This time our social worker was calling to tell us she had matched another child to our family profile. We go early next week to a full disclosure meeting. At this meeting they tell you everything they know about the child, show you a picture, and then you tell them if you want to proceed or not. We have already decided, based on the information we have been given so far, that we want to proceed. (We know she is a 5 yr old, African-American female with no behavior or medical problems.) Now all we have to do is get the ball rolling!
I realize that this is a huge deal. I have the same anticipation that I felt when I was pregnant with my son. It's very different though because my "baby" will be 5 yrs old and potty trained. I also realize that by adopting transracially I am allowing my family to become the object of comments, stares, and reactions that might not always be positive. I will have to deal with ignorance, racism, and emotions I might otherwise have never felt. My children may be teased. Kids at school may think they are lying when they say they are siblings. There will be challenges. We will all have to step outside of our comfort zones.
So why would I choose to adopt transracially, knowing that it involves special challenges? I'm glad you asked. My first reason is that there are more African-American children in foster care than there are caucasian children and they tend to stay in foster care longer. Because it doesn't matter to me what color my daughter's skin is, why not adopt a child that would most likely stay in foster care longer. Please don't think I am saying that I am "rescuing" a child from the system. I am adopting because I want to have a child. It is a selfish reason and she will be a blessing to me.
Another reason I am choosing to adopt this child is because her social worker, who knows her better than most, thinks our family is a good match for her. There is more to a person than color. Our family matches her personality and is a good fit for her. Her social worker, for those of you wondering, is also African-American.
The final reason I am choosing to adopt transracially is because I feel that I can raise my daughter to have a strong sense of self. I recognize that racism is very real. I know that she will need strong role models that look like her. I know that she needs to identify as a black woman in the world, even though she is growing up in a white family. I will do my best to give her everything she needs to do those things.
On a side note, as a former cosmetologist hair won't be as much of an issue for me as it is for many transracial adoptive parents. I am not an expert by any means but I have a good head start. I plan on gaining lots more info from my friends who share her hair type. I think it's good to ask lots of questions. When you are sincere, most people do not mind.
Anyway, I am very excited and wanted to share the news. I can't wait to meet my new daughter!