I've been a tiny bit surprised by how few people have had anything to say on my post "The Day I Learned I Was Black." A few responded to me privately and I really appreciate our conversations and emails. It is really helpful for me to talk through my concerns and fears. I'm not sure whether the lack of response is due to a lack of readership so far or a fear of talking about racial issues. Frankly, I understand either or both. Mine is not the most widely read blog, that's for sure.
As far as discussing race in our society I realize it can be dicey. Although, I think our lack of open discussion on the topic could be the reason nothing ever really gets solved. BUT, I do understand it is complicated and I don't begin to know how to resolve all the feelings, problems and issues out there. I just wish we really could begin to do so.
I've had the opportunity recently to correspond by email and talk by phone to an amazing young lady who is only 17 and was adopted as a baby into a Caucasian family. She is part African American, part Caucasian, and part Hispanic and is a very mature, well adjusted and happy adoptee. I've talked to her about some of the things she went through as a child and what worked and didn't work for her. She has helped me understand how to best help and bless my children from her point of view and I so appreciate that.
I think when I was much younger and thought about adopting a child of a different race (yes, I thought about it as early as my early teens) I was guilty of believing that "Love was enough" to make it all work out. That it would get you through any problem or situation. Luckily for me and my children, I was much wiser (and older) by the time I was blessed to have them in my life. Love isn't enough--for me to be a truly good and caring parent to these two wonderful children I have to take into account how the world is going to see them and treat them when I am not with them. Somehow, I have to prepare them for that. I think the best advice I've had to date on how to do that has come from my young teenage friend who told me the best thing I can do as a mom is to make sure they have a strong self esteem. She said her parents instilled such a strong self esteem in her that when the world came to knock her down she basically looked at them and thought "What's wrong with you?" because I know I'm fine. I can't tell you what good information that was for me. I don't need to teach them how to fight, or how to do verbal jujitsu, or how to run fast, or how to . . . well you get the idea. My most important job is teach them to have a strong sense of self, to know they are good, that we love them and God loves them and that there is a spark of divinity in them that NO ONE can ever take away from them.
Well, these are just of few of the things that came to mind tonight. I love all my children so much. We all have our trials and my oldest kids have certainly had their share. I know my youngest will bear theirs as well. I pray I prepare them well for the course ahead.
Please feel free to comment. I love to hear what you are thinking. God bless.