I was perusing an adoption forum earlier today, when someone posited a question about why people chose transracial adoption. Was it because children of color would be quicker placements? Was one parent another race? It got me thinking about when Rob and I were confronted with those little boxes on the adoption paperwork during our homestudy.
The questionnaire wasn't just about race. It also covered mental health, drugs/alcohol, diseases. We were very open. With the exception of heavy alcohol use and schizophrenia, we were good with all drug use; Hepatitis A, B, C; HIV; other mental illnesses. Those were all things we knew we could handle, or would find a way to handle. When it came to race, we filled out all the boxes, except African American.
In our area, and in this day and age, racism is very much alive and well. I grew up here, we are 30 minutes outside a MAJOR metropolitan city. Our town is a tourist destination, and is what you would call "picturesque". I knew before I really knew, that my hometown was not a place that black folks feel particularly welcomed. So Rob and I were wary of trying to raise a child of color here. For many good reasons. After a lot of soul searching, we also realized their were personal reasons as well. Could we, whitey Von Whiteys, really be up to the task of raising a child of color? Man, the universe is laughing it's balls off at us.
Because what kind of moron fills out every race BUT AA, and thinks Hispanic is just a darker shade of white? Man, we had a LONG way to go in our racial/cultural growing up. More on that later.
So, we turned in our questionnaire, and waited. Less than two months later we got an email. It was about a CC boy down in Florida. We said yes, and waited. A week of not hearing, I emailed our worker back. She told us his mom chose someone else, but as luck would have it, they had a "walk in" over the weekend. Would we be interested in a baby girl, who is 1/2 CC and 1/2 Hispanic. YES. A few phone calls later, they weren't sure of baby girl's race "she looks Hispanic". Um, okay. Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Really, at that point, we didn't care. Cam spent 17 days in the hospital. 17 LOOOONG days of waiting to hear if dad would sign TPR. When he finally did, we got to go meet her the next day. There was no doubt in my mind that my baby was more colorful that just Hispanic. Love, truly, at first sight.
Now, we know Cam's make-up, and couldn't be more thrilled. We are still scared we won't do right by her, but we are throwing ourselves into learning. Before the adoption, we found a fantastic church. One of it's hallmarks is of being extremely open to ALL people. We already had very open hearts and minds, and this place just gave us a good shove in all the right directions. Rob and I both signed up for a class on diversity. What we thought was going to be two months, has been over 8 months and counting. It peers into the darkness of racism, and ferrets out white privilege. Being Cam's mother has been the most eye-opening, heart-warming, and profoundly beautiful experience in my life. She is absolutely the "right" child for us. Our plan is to move from this town in the next few years, but before we go, we will do our part in knocking down stereotypes and making sure our girl is surrounded by people that not only love her, but respect that she is a child of color. Sick of this "love is color blind" campaign. No, really it's not. Love is ACCEPTING the whole person, not turning a blind eye to something so profound. Cam will know, that she is Hispanic, Moroccan, and African American, and can be proud of that.