Skip to main content

I agree, your child should not be your first black friend

His parents were among the first wave of transracial adopters, and did their best to prepare him for the real world.
Parents today can do even better, he says. "I don't have a checklist," he says, "but if I did, it would sound something like this: If you don't have any close friends or people who look like your kid before you adopt a kid, then why are you adopting that kid? Your child should not be your first black friend."

I was reading a story on NPR the other day called "Growing Up 'White,' Transracial Adoptee Learned To Be Black," and was fascinated enough to share it on my personal Facebook feed. This is a bit unusual, because I've been on an anti-mayo kick on that page, much to the chagrin of many friends who love that bland bread-moistener.

I broke format because Chad Goller-Sojourner's account of his childhood spoke to me personally, because we are a transracial family ourselves. And the quote above is from the end of Goller-Sojourner's story, which sparked this question from a friend, "What was your perspective on his closing argument?"

My first response is he's absolutely right. You're going to want someone you can trust to talk about your fears about raising your child in a world where you will be stared at just because you are visibly a mixed-race family. To me, I want to have several people around I trust to help answer The Kid's questions about being black in America, because I have very little clue about what that's really like.

As I was thinking about answering the question that night, I read the article that preceded Goller-Sojourner's story. Entitled, "Transracial Family Gets Double Takes 'Everywhere We Go,'" it was the perspective of a white woman who adopted two black children with her husband. It was a perspective that frustrated me.

To help her sons understand their race and heritage, they hired a woman to be their mentor. Outside of their neighbors who happen to be Black, this family did not identify anyone else of color they exposed their kids to except someone they had to hire. Now, this person is an invaluable resource to the family and I'm sure she's a trusted friend.

But what does it say to those children that Mommy and Daddy had to hire someone who looked like them? And do Mommy and Daddy think that hiring someone is enough? Or will they bother to have friendships based on interests and understandings without a monetary exchange?

My response to my friend's question did not change after reading the second NPR article. In fact, it hardened my position. My daughter deserves to know that having friends of color, of different political outlooks, of different economic backgrounds, of different sexual orientations, is truly a part of who her parents are, not a stunt we pulled when we decided to adopt her.

Popular posts from this blog

My fourth Father's Day

This Father's Day is a happy one while being a great day for personal reflection. The Kid could hardly contain her excitement waiting for me to wake up so she could give me her gifts. Church, lunch at the Original Buddy's Pizza and kayaking on Lake Muskoday made today happy.

I also can't help reflect on the past. Four years ago today, we were at Lincoln Hall of Justice, Family Division in front of Judge Christopher Dingell to finalize The Kid's adoption.

It was a strange day. Our adoption could have been over a few weeks before if we had opted to have Wayne County Courts mail us her new birth certificate, but we decided we wanted to hear it from the judge himself. What we assumed would be a joyous occasion wasn't, the Judge was annoyed we wasted his time and told his clerk as soon as he decreed our adoption final that he never wanted to do another hearing like that again.

Still, it was a joyous day. Adoption Day unintentionally fell on my grandmother's birthda…

Reflecting on our walk in the enchanted forest

The weekend before Mother's Day, The Kid and I went on a lovely walk through a beautiful enchanted forest. There was lush green grass, towering trees that shaded you from the hot sun, beautiful flora lined our path, and healthy fauna seemed to appear around every corner. That was until we turned a corner and encountered ponds filled with hungry, biting alligators and angry dragons. We ran through that part, narrowly escaping our impending doom.

Our harrowing escape made our walk through the rest of our neighborhood that much more enjoyable.

On the way home, The Kid started worrying that we hadn't done anything for Mother's Day and started to pick weeds out of a neighbors yard. It was the prettiest flower she could find. I started to protest, we have plenty of weeds in our own yard, but The Kid insisted because she wanted Mama to have something beautiful from our walk. We ended up with a few pockets full of maple seeds and her flower.

Mama was appropriately, genuinely exci…

Year one with The Kid, the start of an amazing life as a family

One year ago, I was running to the Target in the Eastland Mall because we needed a camera fast.  I woke up that morning, realizing that we would always want to remember that day with better photos than we would get from our smartphones. I was on a conference call for work as I ran through the store, half paying attention because I needed to hurry back to pick up Gladys so we could get to Catholic Social Services of Wayne County in time for our meeting.

I didn't want to be late for our first chance to meet The Kid.

Gladys and I were both nervous. We had seen a few pictures during our last visit with our social worker, and we had the family history the agency was allowed to release to us, but we didn't know a thing about The Kid's personality. Was she shy or playful? Would she be scared or was she curious about her surroundings? Would she cry when she met us or would she warm up to us? Would she like us?

We agreed to try playing it cool when we met her. We wouldn't rush…

Ebates

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back