Questions - So many, esp transracial

(10 Posts)
Devora Sat 03-Nov-12 18:52:37

Talking of people saying stupid things and racial difference, I was in the playground today with dd2. We live in a very white community. This family group walked past us - parents, grandmother, toddler. Grandmother looked down at my dd2 and murmured absently to her family: "Mmmm... multicultural."

shock grin

aktht thought you might like this..... I know it's a famous person and all ... but it's rather beautiful, especially when she talks about enjoying everything and it not rushing by too fast.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCh8Zn3xAds&feature=fvwrel

Adoptamam I linked through from one of the creators of that clip and heard the Howerton Family story of adoption from Haiti. It brought a tear to my eye! Beautiful story.

www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2010/10/our-adoption-story.html

All the best to you aktht.

Devora Fri 02-Nov-12 23:56:25

Brilliant clip, adoptmama! I swear nearly all of those things have been said to me.

adoptmama I love the clip, brilliant. The best bit is where the mum in the bright blue top says 'You should really cut that hair' and the kids whose leaning back on the sofa, so far you can't even see their head, let alone their hair, says "No we shouldn't!" Brillent

Devora Fri 02-Nov-12 23:05:59

Big questions smile

1. It took about a year for me to love her. Two years on, I really REALLY love her smile

2. I am in a lesbian relationship. My dp and I are different racial origins. We have one white dd and one black dd. There is no pretending we are a 'normal' family and yes, we get questions all the time. Learning how to manage them - and helping our children to manage them - is going to be a lifelong task, I reckon. I could write for pages about this - there are threads on it, which might be a good place to start.

3. I am white and dd2 is mixed race, though my dp is black and we both are from families of mixed heritage. Like the questions, dealing with racism is a lifelong journey. Happy to discuss more if you'd like to.

4. dd2 is still a bit young (3) for this, though she is obsessed about long blonde hair and I find this quite distressing.

5. dp is from the same part of the world as dd2. Our extended families are full of people who look like her. We have lots of friends who share her racial origin.

6. A huge question! And so much depends on the individual child. There are loads of books about this, but basically at my dd's age (3) I'm just focusing on making her feel very loved and secure, talking openly (but not incessantly) about the fact that she grew in another lady's tummy, and being positive about the fact that we are a different kind of family.

7. My biological dd was 4 when we adopted dd2. It's obviously not always been easy for her. Equally, we haven't been able to give dd2 all the attention she should have had. Nonetheless, I think overall it has been positive for them both. They do really love each other. dd1 is very proud to have 'the cutest little sister of anyone in my class'.

I realise these are very short answers to your questions. I'm happy to write more (much more) if that would be helpful.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 02-Nov-12 16:59:52

No experience of transracial adoption, so no help there, I'm afraid. But on your other questions:

1) For me it was pretty much by the end of introductions, but longer (some months) for DH

2) DD looks quite like me, so no questions to answer on that front, though I have to balance outright lying with truthful answers when we get comments like "doesn't she have your eyes?"...!

7) we have been exceptionally lucky in that DS and DD bonded really quickly and really well, and 15 months in you would never know that they weren't biologically related. I think it helped that DS very much wanted a younger sibling, and that he was quite involved in the assessment process. We had to be careful with sharing information eg we didn't tell him until after matching panel about DD, just in case it fell through. And we kept on emphasising that it might not happen at all right up until we met DD

Good luck!

adoptmama Fri 02-Nov-12 07:47:10

Love was definitely not instant for me but I don't feel it took long. By the time DD1 came home from her orphanage (I live and adopted abroad) I was totally in love with her. With DD2 I always worried I didn't love her 'as much' - until the day she got pneumonia and my heart nearly stopped. Then I realised my fear was very misplaced.

Where we are, my children's ethnic group is despised by a large percentage of the white population. I had some very negative comments before adopting. My eldest has already had some comments. When people meet us they are generally stunned my smart, lovely kids are of 'that ethnicity' - they think I must have adopted from somewhere else in the world! We've talked about racism in general and what it means and how some people are racist and how silly and wrong that is. We look at what is similar about us all and what is different. I have taught them key phrases to answer intrusive or misguided questions ie other children (predominantly white school) ask why they have brown skin so they have a quick response to give. Your child will face racist remarks one day so you do need to prepare them. You also need to consider how the child who is obviously different from the rest of the family will feel - eg. Asian child, white sibling, white parents - being on the receiving end of second glances, comments etc. Again, you can't prevent this, so need to be prepared to help them deal with it. Living in a diverse community can be very helpful.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFp61HAj-nk will give you a humerous but very accurate indication of some of the comments you may get: we've had a lot of them! smile

From an early age I incorporated positive stories of people from her ethnicity into our lives, along with music and festivals celebrating that heritage, story books etc. I also joined a yahoo group and we have managed to meet other families like ours which is great. From the start we have had had bed time story books about adoption and both have always known they were adopted. DD1 firmly grasped what this meant about age 3 (ie that she has a birth mother etc) and periodically we discuss it. Only last night Kung Fu Panda being adopted brought a smile to her face. I believe the secure identity comes from knowing their story, having a positive self image - ethnically and as an adopted individual - and not feeling that any aspect of their adoption is 'off limits' for discussion. I wouldn't want my kids to feel they would hurt me by looking for their birth families for example.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that they don't look like me. They are gorgeous smile

Lovesoftplay Fri 02-Nov-12 07:10:40

No judging here, but we adopted from the uk so can't help about the inter-racial questions. However,with the other questions:

It took me about 6months to properly love my boys. I know others who took longer, and others who said it was fairly instant

My boys (especially my youngest) actually look a bit like me. So don't get any questions about it.

I can't remember your other questions blush but feel free to PM me if you have questions about generic adopting.

Don't feel you have to answer but I am curious about why you are choosing to adopt from abroad? (Still not judging)

aktht Fri 02-Nov-12 04:30:14

My husband and I may have the opportunity to adopt a child from abroad. Adoption is something we have talked about and both want to do but I have so many questions and due to circumstances no one really to ask questions to. I would be really grateful if people could share their experiences and try not to judge me.

1. Did it take time to love your adopted child/children?
2. How do you (if you need to) deal with them not looking like you? How do you respond to questions?
3. If you have adopted transracially, how do you deal with racism?
4. How do you deal with them knowing they look different from you?
5. How do you provide positive role models from their birth culture?
6. How do you help them to form a secure identity?
7. How have you blended your adopted family with biological family? I have a young biological daughter.

Any help or experiences would be much appreciated.

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