Change Is The Only Color I See – Transracial Adoption
My sister stands out in our family. I have straight blonde hair, she has curly black hair. My parents, brothers and I have light eyes, and she has brown eyes. I have white skin, and she has black skin. You get the picture – she was adopted. Eleven years ago, I met my favorite person. Gracie came from across the world from Ethiopia to be my sister and part of my family.
Truthfully, life before her was a blur. All the good memories I have of my childhood involve my little sister. As I’ve grown older and have had a chance to reflect on those early years with Gracie, it has become evident that transracial families have it a lot different than those of the same race.
Transracial adoption in the U.S. is not anything new, but the term itself is not widely known. Simply put, it is when adoptive parents take in a child of a different race other than their own.
If you know someone who has adopted or have even considered it yourself, you may have discussed race and ethnicity as a factor you simply don’t care about. People say this with the absolute best intentions in mind, but the reality is that race and ethnicity do matter, especially in the case of transracial families. To ignore your child’s race would be denying them a part of their culture – something that will undoubtedly come up in their lifetime. My family certainly thought this when we first brought Gracie into our home. We approached adoption thinking that good intentions and love would be enough. Although the past eleven years have been filled with countless blessings, there have been incidents we were simply not prepared for:
“A black child should be raised by a black parent”.
“I hate rich black girls”.
“You should send her back to her own country”.
These statements weren’t said out of love, they were said out of ignorance and hatred. However, for each offensive comment that was said, 20 more comments out of love followed. It took a while to figure out what we were doing (and we are still learning), but my family has been able to look past the animosity and focus on what truly matters.
So why should you care about transracial adoption and transracial families? I am certainly biased in this realm, and with so many continuous tragedies, it is difficult to spread your attention evenly to each matter at hand. From school shootings to hate crimes to sex trafficking, we live in one broken world.
Today, the number of orphaned children is at an all-time high, and I strongly believe we must all do what we can to address this prevalent issue. I am NOT suggesting everyone should adopt a child. However, there are so many other steps we can take as individuals to shed light on this wide-ranging epidemic.
Do your research. Learning facts about adoption both at home and abroad is vital to our understanding of adoption.
Say no to stereotypes. We have the power to generate change in our society, and it starts with diminishing preconceived labels.
Donate, volunteer or mentor at local orphanages or at-risk youth centers.
While this is a difficult topic to discuss, I strongly believe that our generation can not only make an impact on our own communities, but in other states and even across the globe.
No, we should not raise a child color blind. There is far too much beauty in diversity to do that. Yet, discrimination is something that must be addressed. We live in a country, in a WORLD, full of discrimination and bias. The hatred that continues to be present is intolerable (to say the least). While my sister has heard racial slurs and endured horrific comments coming from other children AND adults, she has displayed maturity beyond her 12 years to move past it. Her love for people is infectious and has proven to be the best medicine for tolerance.
Change ends with us. It started with our parents, grandparents, and so-on, but it must end with us. We must be the generation who will raise our children in a world that embraces the beauty of diversity – a world full of love.