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March 27, 2009



I so identify! Like the good little liberal I am, I worry about just about everything -- was my smile at the gay couple holding hands supportive or patronizing? If Mele barks at a black man (as she did exactly once), will the man think I trained my dog to attack African Americans? And these concerns are minor compared to the host that you're facing. You have my respect. Whenever I get too caught up in self-consciousness, I remember the time I was in a crafts shop in Philly (I was in grad school at the time), looking at a black Santa ornament that I really liked. I finally asked the (black) woman behind the counter, "If I buy this, is it cool or culturally imperialistic?" She looked at me for a full minute and then said, "If you like it, buy it." I did. :-)


You could drive yourself mad worrying about what others think of you or your decisions and trying to justify them. People's reactions are colored by their own experiences, so if you ask ten people their opinions you'll get ten different answers. I strongly feel the best thing we can do is try to live a life that is open, honest, kind, and driven by integrity and trust that it shows. Ultimately you can not be responsible for other's feelings or reactions.

By the way, I'm always showing pictures of my nephew to folks at work, and one of my good friends is a 60+ year old African American lady who thinks it's wonderful you didn't see race when you adopted Squeaker, you just saw your son. She and I have pretty frank conversations about race and she's taught her kids and grandkids not to see color, just people. I don't want to negate the struggles of any race or creed, but I don't understand how we can move past it and see just people when it is constantly a subject for discussion.


this is a lovely and important post.

there are those things you can't change -- such as other people's views and biases -- and there are those you can -- such as educating and preparing yourself and your child to live in a race conscious country. it sounds like you are well aware and making every effort to address the issues as you can.

I love how you describe the realization that you are squeaker's mother. we talk a lot about the 'good' kind of entitlement -- i.e., the entitlement which values that YOU were chosen to be this child's mother by the most important person, the woman who brought him into this world.

I think after infertility kicks our ass for so long, it's not easy to feel that entitlement so suddenly. but with the love and attachment that comes with parenting, it comes.

there are always those who would say all children should be raised by their biological parents in their community of origin. but it always doesn't work that way.

there is great value in open adoption in the affirmative act of choosing parents for the child. I think that act serves everyone well.


I can relate to the uncertainty and the fear that someone will directly challenge the validity of our transracial family. It's grown smaller, I think, as the reality of our family bond becomes stronger.

Even in the small handful of times I've felt like people weren't as (for lack of a better word) affirming of me as the white mother, they have always fully and completely embraced my daughter. It's an embrace that no one other community can provide her. And that, to me, is worth any amount of discomfort on my part.


Such a nice post to read. You should be proud of the work you are doing to give your son access to the black community and also proud of how welcoming your friends and family have been. I'm not sure that these issues are restricted to adoptive parents. I was going to post about being stopped on the street with my (biological) daughter by a group of Chinese women who did not speak English. They proceeded to talk amongst themselves about whether my daughter is Chinese, and while I could understand the general gist of the conversation and feel proud of the crowd admiring my baby in her stroller, I do not (and never will) have the language skills to respond or to engage my baby's community directly. Which is to say that the world is definitely becoming a much more complicated place very quickly, and while there will obviously be little hitches along the way, it's definitely worth suffering through those awkward moments to get to a place where everyone understands that families are made by choice, and that people can have multiple communities and mixed identities.


It *was* a perfect rambling gabbing date. And that man was a sweetheart. He'd stopped by to chat when he first arrived while Izzy and I were awaiting your arrival. He is one of those lovely warm people i envy for their spontaneity and genuineness. He told me about his kids, and had a great time chatting with izzy. I wondered what he made of the two white ladies with brown babies. And the kind of cool thing is, there are now so many explanations for such a relationship. Not to say that adoption isn't cool! but I think it's true what Rachel said, it's a complicated world, and I enjoy the fact that in addition to all the traumas that globalism and upheaval have caused, they have also meant that we live in a much more fluid and diverse world than even twenty years ago, much less when we were kids.

I also hold all the worries you do, and share your conviction that working on this stuff is key. It doesn't matter if I'm scared or nervous, for Izzy's sake, into the thick of it we'll go!


Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. How wonderful to come over to "your place" and find you discussing the very thing I was trying to muddle through. This is a great piece and I loved the way you discussed the process of finding entitlement that we go through. It has been a journey for me so far and my son is nearly four years old!

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