Raising a Child Who Doesn’t Look Like Me

baby boyOur senses have been woken and we can no longer pretend that the world is blind to or is almost blind to racism. The last two weeks have brought about a change to the way people are seeing, talking about, and feeling about racism in America. Regardless of how you feel, a movement is happening. Nerves are being touched, rethinking is happening, and people are coming together despite a very clear segregation of how races are treated.

With private adoption you are required to have a specific amount of multi-cultural educational credits if you plan to adopt a child that doesn’t match your ethnic background or race. After years of reading books, reading articles, doing online learning, and checking off all the requirements, I thought I was ready and prepared. Wow! Was I wrong.

The current social movement in the U.S. has shaken me to my core. (I don’t like to use the word “current” because it implies that it will leave so I use it referencing what is happening literally today). But, it goes way beyond that. I am open minded but my mind needs to be opened more. I am good but I have done wrong. I am not a racist but what’s more important is that I need to live a life of being anti-racist. I need to stand up to injustice. I need to say “no” when I hear comments that most would call “off”. I have growth that needs to happen and I am ready.

I am raising a child that does not look like me. His experiences will be different than mine. He will not be treated by the same standards and rules that I have been judged by. But, that can change. I am committed to making sure that this little boy grows up in a world where he is accepted regardless of his color. He is accepted regardless of his name. He is accepted regardless of his heritage. He is accepted because he is. He is… He is… He is… Just as I am accepted because I am.

He is talented. He is smart. He is kind. He is generous. He is happy. He is lovable and loving. He is amazing. He is caring. He is… He is…He is…

I am very aware that we will be confronted with racism if I’m so lucky as to adopt him. I am aware that we will get looks, and comments, and questions. We have already received them. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if he was my grandson or asked if I enjoy babysitting him, I’d be living on a beach somewhere.

Here is what I have learned over the last two weeks:

  • Racism isn’t a black “problem” or “issue”. It’s an “all of us opportunity”. We can change, we can make a change, and we need to change.
  • It’s okay to ask questions.
  • It’s okay to not have all the answers.
  • It’s okay to be nervous about talking about race – as long as we talk about it
  • It’s okay not to be protesting in the streets – as long as you are doing other things to stop racism such as educating yourself, talking about it, standing up when you hear it…

We have not seen anything like the current situation in my lifetime…a worldwide health crisis and a national movement..at the same time. How many people in history have been able to say this? We are fortunate to be part of what is going on. But I ask you, how do you want to to remember this time…as someone who made a difference or an observer? There’s no wrong answer.

For me, I want to be proud to tell little man that when he was a year old I did everything in my power to make sure that he grew up in a world where it didn’t matter that he doesn’t look like me. In a world where his amazingness speaks for itself, because he is…

2 thoughts on “Raising a Child Who Doesn’t Look Like Me

Add yours

  1. Maeve needless to say I have just read this so beautifully said from your heart . Please god it will work out for you and the little man and he is .

  2. Great article, Maeve. I have a daughter who would argue that we also need to look at gender labels as well. Something to think about….

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