Friday, May 02, 2008

Beyond FAMILY: “The Color of Love”

Jodie over at Jodie’s Random Thoughts knows a thing or two about love. A mom of four kids—teenager Colin, almost-four-year-old Tyler, three-year-old Emmalee, and eight-month-old Nathaniel—Jodie has been spending a lot of time at the hospital lately with Tyler, who has Down Syndrome and earlier this year was diagnosed with leukemia. While her love for her family has always been evident in her blog posts, Jodie’s admiration and adoration for her brave little boy and his siblings really shine through in the CaringBridge journal updates she writes.

With all Jodie has going on, I was happy to read she’s been squeezing in a little reading of her own and was intrigued by her May 1 link to an article on trans-racial adoption that recently ran in Women’s Day Magazine. Jodie’s baby boy, Nathaniel, is black while the rest of her family is white. The article features a black couple who adopted a white baby boy and then became pregnant with their own baby boy a couple years later. While WD articles tend to be pretty light, this article examined the father’s concerns regarding the adoption in nice detail. “‘I couldn’t help but wonder what I, as a black man, would have to face when we went out together,’” the dad said, certain they’d “get stares.” “And what if he had to discipline the child in public?” the article continues. “How would other people react?”

I believe the writer at this point meant “How would other people react to the adoption” but the first time I read it I immediately related it to my husband’s concerns when our son was little about how others would react whenever he had to discipline his son in public. While my girls resemble my husband’s family to different degrees, my son resembles me: light hair, light eyes, light skin (though his tans; lucky duck). I’ve told the story before of my husband having to carry his screaming little boy out of a furniture store. Imagine what you’d think if you saw a black man carry a screaming white child with blonde baby curls out of a store. Now consider the possibility someone might call the police and you have an inkling of what was going through my husband’s mind at the moment.

Luckily for the dad featured in the article, his wife’s calm approach to the adoption and conviction (that he immediately shared once he held his first newborn son) that this child was meant to be part of their family helped him cope with his very real concerns. But I imagine he still worries “what others think” at times, and I appreciate articles that promote such understanding. I also appreciate folks like Jodie—and the couple featured in this article—who open their hearts and homes and lives to others despite the challenges inherent in adopting across racial lines, especially in a world that still isn’t sure what to make of such choices.

Stock photo from WD site


Blogger Niksmom said...

It saddens me that we have become such a dangerously disconnected society that we even have to think about such things.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

But it's a good thing to talk about and hopefully this article has led or will lead loving families to adopt kids in need regardless of racial or cultural differences. Maybe it'll even convince a few folks to smile rather than stare next time they see a family that's different from their own. It's a long road but we'll get there! K.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Therese said...

I find these topics so interesting. Before I remarried, to a man who had two children (giving our family a total of four sons), I'd considered the idea of adopting a non-white child. It's relatively easy to be a white parent of a non-white kid, but the reverse is so much trickier...

12:35 PM  
Blogger Amber Lough said...

We have some friends who are bi-racial (and multi-cultural, as the wife is from the Czech Rep), and as far as I can tell, they don't get too many "looks," but then, I'm not with them all the time. In Maryland, it seems bi-racial couples are common and unsurprising (a good thing!).

Here's to Colorado warming up for you--it's weird how winter keeps returning!

5:40 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

We're enjoying a beautiful day today Amber, thanks for sending the warm weather our way! I agree it's great to see more and more unique families. Definitely a good thing. :)

4:41 PM  

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