David French, a writer of the National Review recently wrote a piece in The Atlantic on how racism in America affected his multiracial family. French and his wife adopted their daughter from Ethiopia in 2010. Years later they would find themselves the victim of IRS audits and later, harsh political opposition to transracial adoption – first from the left wing but soon too, the right wing.
“We quickly discovered that if you’re the white parents of an adopted black child, and you’re in the public eye at all, men and women will viciously criticize you for having the audacity to believe that you can raise your kid. At times, the criticism was direct and personal—most of it directed at my wife. It was one thing to face hostile comments on blogs or random tweets. It was another to face angry direct messages and sometimes-tense personal encounters in public. Family and friends were aghast. Look at what the left does and says to loving families, we remarked to one another. Look at what they believe about faithful Christians.”
An extreme case of hatred, many multi-racial (or transracial) families face similar experiences of hatred and ignorance. French and his wife do their best to guard their daughter from the hateful attacks.
During an interview with NPR, French remarked that the one thing that hit them the hardest was this sort of notion that (as white parents) you cannot be a good parent to an African-American child. We know and understand that there are difficult identity and/or race issues in America, but we agree with French and reject the notion that white parents cannot be good parents to their child because of those issues.
Most families journeying through the adoption process are open to any race of child. All will agree, that despite any hatred from the outside, the inside is filled with love which always outweighs the hate. Julia Porter, a writer with adoption.com, recently published a few tips about transracial adoption. Having information and resources will help your family through transracial adoption.
- Learn about your child’s culture – If your child is from another culture or country, it’s imperative to learn what you can about that culture. Attend events or buy books; it’s a start. It’s also important to find ways to talk about that culture with your child.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – Stepping outside of your comfort zone for the sake of your child is a part of parenthood. Entering a shop for a particular body product or understanding a cultural difference might be necessary in raising your child. It’s important to be brave in this learning experience.
- Ask experts for help – Julia shares, “I’m not ashamed to admit I was clueless about skin and hair care for my daughter. I turned to the experts: other women of color. To this day, when a hair product stops working the way it did, when her skin is drier than normal, I refer to these ladies for help. When they don’t know, I find someone who does. I’ve even taken to Instagram for hair product advice!”
- Rely on those with lived experiences – Through the adoption community, you will have the opportunity to meet other adult adoptees. Ask for advice. Learn from their experiences.
- Find local resources to help – Cultural centers, libraries, hair salons, the internet – resource! Whether it be about hairstyles, cultural traditions, or events, you will find something that is helpful.