When we started the adoption process, we were open to any race of child. We have friends and family who are adopted or have adopted outside of their race. However, I was a little naive about all that having a child of another race entailed.
You Need to Learn about Your Child’s Culture
If your child is from another culture or country, it’s imperative to learn what you can about that culture. Attend events, buy books, etc. Though I know this isn’t enough, it’s a start. Find ways to talk about that culture with your child. It’s important. When I talk to adult adoptees who didn’t hear about their country of origin or have exposure to their culture, it’s something they wished they had.
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
You have to step outside of your comfort zone for the sake of your child. (Remember, there are probably going to be plenty of times that she or he will be uncomfortable). I’ve gone into stores and asked strangers about my daughter’s hair type and what products work best. I’ve taken her to African American cultural events and have been the only white person in the room. Again, it’s important to do these things. I’m grateful for the learning experience, and she’s grateful to be in a room where everyone looks like her.
Ask Experts for Help
I’m not ashamed to admit I was clueless about skin and hair care for my daughter. I turned to the experts: other women of color. To this day, when a hair product stops working the way it did, when her skin is drier than normal, I refer to these ladies for help. When they don’t know, I find someone who does. I’ve even taken to Instagram for hair product advice!
Rely on Those with Lived Experiences
Through the adoption community, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to meet other adult adoptees of color. I need them to give me advice. In learning about their lived experiences; I’ve learned to parent in a way that supports open dialog and helps me to think about things that we may encounter as my daughter grows up.
Find Local Resources to Help
From cultural centers to libraries to hair salons, I’ve round resources that I need. Whether it be about hairstyles, cultural traditions, or events, etc. I’ve found things in my own community that are helpful. The Internet is also a great resource, but I find it better to find people to help when I have an important question.