Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Are they yours?" : Transracial Triumphs and Trials

I love being a transracial family. I love black people, I can't help it. All of our boys have looked black, although the first was biracial. I have gotten a few rude comments, some uncomfortable stares, and millions "Are they yours?"

People have made comments to me that "race doesn't matter", "we are all the same", "love is blind"- and while I think these ides come from  good heart, they are inherently wrong.

Race does matter. Race is part of your identity. Race, culture, heritage, and history are very closely knit together. We all need to feel validated and valued. If someone completely ignores your race, they can not possibly give you the validation you need. It's a little difficult to understand for white people because we get validated for our race all the time. I can look anywhere and see someone who looks like me who is successful and considered valuable to society. This is not so with other races. It is very difficult to look around for an Asian man in the media who is successful and considered valuable by society. We see black people in the media quite a bit, but if you take a closer look, those people are either very stereotyped as loud, large, or criminal (Randy Jackson, any r&b star/rapper, Queen Latifah) or they have noticeably white features (Halle Berry, Beyonce, Tyra Banks, President Obama). By not acknowledging race, we are telling transracially placed children that there is a part of them that doesn't matter.

We are not all the same. That is AWESOME! We have such a beautiful world because of our different races. Chocolate skin is beautiful, curly hair is gorgeous. that should be celebrated, not lumped in with everyone else.

Love is not blind. Love sees the blackhead I'm bout to pop on my husbands nose and love sees when I've gained 10lbs. Love can see if a child is a different race from their foster family. Even though my kids love me, and they know I love them. They need to hear me say that I can see our differences, and I love our differences. I don't love my kids despite their race, I love who they are, which includes their race.

Some Transracial triumphs we've had include properly caring for their hair and skin, switching churches for a more diverse setting for our kids, finding an excellent hair braider, and becoming comfortable talking about race bias and prejudice enough to educate my children on how we handle these issues.

I made a promise to myself that we would never let a child who was transracially placed with us be outnumbered by people who look like us. If we have a non-white child in our home, I don't feel like it would be fair to take in a white child, making the 1st child the odd man out. We chose to be a transracial family, not the child, so we should be the ones who are different. I consider us a black family with white parents instead of the other way around.

My favorite books about this topic:
Brown Babies, Pink Parents by Amy Ford
 Dim Sum, Bagels, And Grits: A Sourcebook For Multicultural Families by Myra Alperson Farrar


  1. thank you for posting this. I am really interested in this subject as I hope to become a foster Mum in the next few months here in Australia and may be caring for aboriginal children - my Grandfather was bi-racial, aboriginal and white australian, but I look very pale. Your blog is fantastic and has really made me aware of all aspects of the process, especially ones I hadn't thought of. Wishing you the best in your ongoing fostering journey. Thanks again

  2. I LOVE reading your blog! I especially loved what you have to say about race. I have always felt like you do, but never knew the words to describe what I felt until I saw what you wrote. You and your husband are beautiful people, and blessings to the children. <3 I'm so glad I found your site. I just recently applied for foster care. I asked to foster children 2 and under, because I have a almost 3 year old son. I felt that having younger children that he is, would be better, plus I feel a strong desire to take care of babies. They told me they desperately need fosters for babies, that no one in my area wants to take in babies. :( I was surprised. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and sometimes sad experiences in foster care and adoption. Totally enjoy reading your blog. God bless.