“She’s so lucky to have you! Oh, what a lucky princess she is!”
When people make these comments, they don’t mean it’s because she has a spectacularly talented mother (ha!), but something quite different. I am at a loss for words when strangers and friends often repeat how lucky our baby girl, Arielle, is to be in our family! Many times, I wonder what they really mean. I know that I am not alone when I hear these comments, as a transracial family.
Our daughter is a part of our family. We are so lucky to have her in our lives. My husband, our biological son, and I believe she completes our family in so many indescribable ways. I hope someone can give me some perspective on this and help me find a way to use it as a way to educate. I think people are well meaning in their comments. Maybe they are trying to thank us for rescuing a child that would have been thrown away or not given as many chances, but still……is it subtle racism? I feel like it is. I’m not sure it’s even as “subtle” as that.
I don’t think that people say the same thing to parents who have adopted children from other countries, or same race adoptions. When they see our African American child they assume she would have ended up as a crack addict or a prostitute. Or maybe she would have ended up on the streets, not having a fair chance at life. Are they uncomfortable when they see us?
Adopting a child from foster care or adopting transracially is something a lot of people could not do. They look at our family and they see something that I don’t. They make assumptions about where my daughter came from and what type of prenatal care she may or may not have had or what her parents were like.
I have to remind myself that I do not have the right to judge anyone for their decision on how they form their families. I can quote statistics from child welfare agencies to demonstrate the need for individuals to step up and help take care of thousands of children languishing in foster care, but that is not what this post is about. As I respect people’s wishes to form their families their ways, without judgments or assumptions, I dream for a world where my family doesn’t raise eyebrows. Or, at the very least, a world where individuals do not assume anything about my children based on the color of their skin.
My husband ran into a friend he had not seen in a while and began telling him what was going on with our family and Arielle. This was shortly after Obama’s election. After he told the friend about Arielle coming into our family, he braced himself for the cursory, “Oh, she is so lucky.” Instead, he said, “Wow! You made my day. That is really cool.” My husband knew that his friend got it and that it was special for us.
It is what it is. I hope my daughter and my son know how lucky we are to have been given the chance to parent them and love them. We chose them. They make our day, every day!
Written by Ann Marie G.