When my hubby and I made our decision to adopt 15 years ago, we decided we would be open to any child, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background. The social worker said she wanted to shoot straight with us. In Texas where the majority of adoptable babies and children are not Caucasian, saying we were open to any ethnicity meant we were virtually guaranteed to get a child who was not Caucasian. That was fine with us. We’d done the research. We knew the outcomes for children adopted out of their ethnic group were almost identical to those placed within their groups.
Our first daughter is biracial, African American and Caucasian. Our second daughter is African American. Our sibling group of three that we adopted last November are biracial African American and Hispanic. (Although we’re pretty sure one of them is only Hispanic). Interestingly, even though siblings, even they don’t have the same exact ethnic background. We’ve got an interesting cultural mix going on around here.
I think that while we have done a good job introducing our kids to their cultures and providing them with a wide variety of friends from all backgrounds, it is different than being raised within their ethnic group. Not worse, just different. For a while one of our kids’ bio-moms was berating me about how her child was not being raised as she would raise her. But when I confessed my concerns to a friend of mine, she cried “foul.” She lives on our street and happens to be African American. She pointed out that her kids were no different than mine. It’s true, I think.
We have done our research. We are doing our best to raise kids who are culturally aware — but also color blind. It’s important to us to raise kids who think everyone has worth.
I like the fact that our family portrait is forever changed. My personal pedigree includes Scottish, Welsh, English, Italian, Nezperce Indian and more. I think “ethnic purity” in this day and time is hooey; I’m pretty convinced that if your ancestors have been in the United States more than three or four generations, it’s unlikely that you are purely from any ethnic group. I can imagine a day where all cultures are appreciated and celebrated. I look forward to the day when a family photo like ours is the norm rather than the exception.
Photo Credit: Teresa Harper