I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed before, but I’m white. Like really white. Like blonde haired, blue eyed, unashamedly does the sprinkler on the dance floor WHITE. And I have an equally white husband (but with better dance moves than me) and white little identical twin babies who look like the both of us. And now, through the blessing of adoption, I have a BEAUTIFUL chocolate baby who does not look like us. At all.
As you can imagine, we get a lot of stares & comments when we’re out and about. We're used to it (even before J-man came along), because having twins draws a ton of attention at the grocery store, but now we’re just blowing people’s minds. “Wait you have two kids who look EXACTLY alike, and then another who looks, well NOTHING like y’all?”
Yup. Sure do.
While preparing for our adoption, we took all sorts of classes on becoming a multiracial family & transracial adoption. One specific class we took focused on how to respond to all the insensitive (at best) or racist (at worst) comments we would receive while out and about. Honestly, it was A LOT to take in and in my naïvety, I speculated if folks were being a little extreme. Surely people don’t really ask such ridiculous questions?!
But now I understand.
You see, I’ve walked into a gas station in the middle of nowhere and wondered if we were “safe.” I’ve been asked, “Why on earth would you ever adopt a colored boy?” and “Was his real mom one of those crack whores?” I’ve been asked a thousand times by good intentioned people if I was babysitting or if he was really mine. And I’m fully aware of the stares from both white and black people who don’t approve of our family’s make-up.
I get it now. I get why they ask if you’ve read the books and watched the videos, because those ridiculous scenarios they tell you about are REAL. Those people DO exist and the classes are absolutely necessary.
But here’s what the classes didn’t prepare me for.
I took the kids to our home away from home the other day… You know, Chick-Fil-A (God Bless the inventor of CFA lemonade). And as I found my seat, I noticed the smiles of two beautiful black grandmamas trying to get my attention. So I smiled back.
“Are they twins?” one grandmama asked.
“Yes mam!” I answered, wondering if they had spotted my chocolate baby and if they hadn’t would their demeanor change when they did.
“How old are they?” the other grandma asked.
“3 and a half!” I replied and asked them how old their sweet baby was.
“This is my great nephew and he’s 7 months. How old is that little one you have with you?” she replied.
“He’s two months old,” I said as I reached in and got Jude out of his carrier.
Their smiles got bigger. As I got him all settled, one of the employees came over and oooh’d and ahhh’d over Jude and asked how the adoption was going. I noticed the grandmamas were listening and I was pretty certain our conversation wasn’t over yet. When the CFA employee walked away, the grandmamas got up and walked over to me and one put her arm around me and kissed me on the cheek and said, “He’s absolutely beautiful. Adoption is a good thing.” The other grandma nodded in approval, “Mmm-hmm, you just have different skin color and there ain’t nothing wrong with that and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Overwhelmed with gratitude, I hugged them back.
They asked a few more questions about the adoption all the while giving me advice and saying repeatedly in their North Carolinian accents, “Ain’t nothing wrong with that at all. Ain’t nothing wrong. Don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise now, you understand me?” The one grandmama kept hugging me and speaking blessings over our little family, and when the time came for them to leave she kissed me on the cheek again and then they were gone.
Y’all, here’s the thing… There isn’t a class or book in the world that will prepare for the love you’ll feel when people support your multiracial family.
They left out the chapter on what it’s like when your friends and family (or complete strangers) whisper in your ear “We love you and your family... and you’re doing great! You're going to be just fine.”
They left out that you’ll be so overwhelmed with gratitude when you have people sit you down and share their experiences with you saying, “If you have any questions about being Black/Asian/Latino/African/[insert your child’s ethnicity here] in America, questions on hair or skin care, or ANYTHING, you can always come to me. Nothing is off limits.”
They left out the safety you’ll feel with your friends when they ask questions about your adoption and don’t tip-toe around the reality that you’re white and you’re kid is Black/Asian/Latino/African/etc.
Being a multiracial family is amazing. Are there hard parts? Absolutely. Is one of those hard parts learning to navigate uncomfortable comments from strangers? Yes. The classes were right, people will say some stupid ISH; but others will say some of the sweetest, most kind words you’ll ever hear. And there is SO much joy in navigating hard conversations and learning.
If you’re thinking about adoption and are afraid to adopt a baby from a different ethnicity or have any questions, please feel free to contact me (You can start here by reading 5 common q's we receive!). We are FAR from experts (ahem… we’re pretty new at this) but we’d love to share more about why we love being a multiracial family and why we chose to be open to any and all ethnicities when pursuing our adoption.
Because after all… there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Ps. Let’s keep the comments kind. If by chance you’re an angry troller who happens to be a racist who is anti-adoption or multiracial families… MOVE ALONG. I will not hesitate to delete your comments so don’t waste your time. MMK, BYE.