My Journey to Joy

January 6, 2016

What’s It Like Raising a Child of Another Race?

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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One Sunday afternoon, I was chasing my one-year-old son around the foyer of our church building while services were taking place in the chapel. He was a bundle of energy, running in circles, climbing on and off the couches, and smiling with his beautiful smile at anyone who would look his way. As I chased him past a woman who was also waiting in the foyer, she suddenly asked, “So what’s it like, raising a child of another race?”

Her question caught me off-guard. While it’s true that my son is black and I am white, right at that moment, he wasn’t “a child of another race.” He was just my adorable child. I responded by telling her that, right then, it wasn’t any different than raising a child of the same race. He was just over a year old, so at that time in his life, “raising him” meant I changed his diapers, fed him Cheerios, cheese, apples, and milk. I tickled him, built block towers, sang songs, and, currently, chased him around the foyer at church.

Seeing past my own white privilege takes lots of patience, practice, and failures. Many times I’m so blinded by it, I don’t even know it’s there. But, don’t fool yourself. It absolutely IS there.

However, the reality is that raising a child of a different race is not the same as raising a child of your same race. Of course the basics are the same. You fiercely love them, as only a mother can. You feed them, clothe them, teach them manners, kindness, and how to look both ways before crossing the street. But, you can’t teach them what it means to be a race you don’t belong to. As a white woman, I can’t teach my son what it means to be a black man. I can read all the books, listen to all the speakers, and watch all the movies, but it won’t matter. I’ve never lived it. Seeing past my own white privilege takes lots of patience, practice, and failures. Many times I’m so blinded by it, I don’t even know it’s there. But, don’t fool yourself. It absolutely IS there.

Raising a child of another race means stepping outside of all my comfort zones: physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It means being willing to attend activities, churches, schools, and fairs where I am the minority and my child’s race is the majority. Surrounding him with people who look like him is essential to helping him become comfortable and confident in himself.

Raising a child of another race means being willing to learn how to care for his skin and his hair in the proper way. It means researching products, styles, and methods. It means I can’t simply take him to any salon or barber shop for a haircut, because most people around my town are not familiar with how to cut his kind of hair.

Raising a child of another race means listening to the voices of the people who have lived similar experiences; whether they be transracial adoptees or simply grown men of the same race as my son. It’s realizing that their stories are hard to hear. It’s realizing that I can’t protect my son from many of the things the world will throw at him because of his race. It’s realizing that these things may make me feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore them.

Raising a child of another race means being the “poster family” for adoption. It means we are looked at, recognized, and questioned about our child and our family every where we go. It means being willing to navigate those questions with respect to our child’s privacy. It means being okay with the fact that, according to the world, we don’t “match.”

Raising a child of another race means being the “poster family” for adoption. It means we are looked at, recognized, and questioned about our child and our family every where we go.

Raising a child of another race means having my eyes opened to the world around me; both the good and the bad. It means experiencing things in a way I never have before. It means that familiar sayings, jokes, songs, and stories that meant nothing to me previously suddenly become racist. It means being willing to stand up for my child in the face of ignorance and educate those around me. It means learning to be courageous.

Raising a child of another race means that some nights, I lie in bed and cry over what was reported in the news that day. It means I worry about the kinds of things that will happen to him as he gets older. It means I know I have to prepare him for the world he will go into. It means I feel excitement for the great things he will accomplish, and fear that he will be held back from accomplishing them.

If I ever get another chance to answer the question of “What’s it like to raise a child of another race?” I know what I’ll say:

“Raising a child of another race means that I have learned more about life, love, and the world around me than I ever anticipated. It means knowing, without a doubt, that God created each of his children in unique, yet equal beauty. It means feeling gratitude for the diversity in this world. It means learning to love a new culture: its food, its music, its traditions, and especially its people. It means adding a fullness to life that I didn’t know was missing. It’s beautiful, hard, amazing, and agonizing. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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Rachel Galbraith

Rachel Galbraith is a busy mother of five children, one of whom was adopted at birth. She has a Bachelors Degree in social work, and has worked as a medical social worker, specializing in the field of women and children. She was privileged to play a small role in the adoptions that often took place on her hospital unit. Writing has become her own personal form of therapy, and she is excited to combine it with her love of adoption. In her free time, she has a love-hate relationship with distance running. She readily admits to doing it only so she can eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.


February 6, 2013

Why We Adopt by Lara

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Why We Adopt

Published January 29, 2013 | By The Farmer’s Wife
I was recently at a party and introduced to someone new. Of course, my friend doing the introducing said something like, “This is my friend who adopted from Africa” which I’m pretty sure is code for This is the weirdo I told you about. Anyway, the new acquaintance was shocked that we had adopted, and not really shocked in the good way. She was shocked like I had just told her I play with fireworks for fun. She kept saying things like, “But, but, won’t those kids have problems? Won’t they need counseling? How do your other kids feel about this? Why did you decide to do that?” Bless her heart. Sure, some of her questions were obnoxious, but I think the question of why is a valid one. So to set the record straight, I’ll put it all out there here and now. This is why we adopt (notice I didn’t say we adopt-ed. Because that’s past tense and would seem I am saying we’re done. Which we aren’t. Hee hee.)First and foremost, we adopt because this is God’s calling on our family. I know that sounds cliche and maybe a little nuts. But, really, my life’s purpose involves parenting these children brought to us through adoption. This is what we want to be doing. I love helping them sort through their “stuff.” I get a real kick out of showing them unconditional love. Parenting them brings us meaning and fulfillment.Secondly, we wanted more children. We like a big, loud, crazy family and adopting children is how we chose to get there.

Thirdly, we are Christians and we care about who Jesus cares about. And He cares about kids who don’t have moms and dads. Notice, this is third down the list. That’s for a reason. See, being specifically led to adoption and wanting more children are prerequisite to this. One can care deeply about children without wanting to parent those children and that’s okay. This isn’t for everyone. There are many ways to care about orphaned children without adopting them. We care about these children in the way that we want to parent them. Through the sunshine-y, happy days and through the really hard days. We want to see how their stories play out and how the Lord redeems their hurts.

Finally, we choose adoption because we deeply believe all life matters. I don’t mean life matters in the pro-life bumper sticker sort of way. I mean these kids lives matter in that they deserve to grow up loved and cherished. If I’m going to wave my Jesus Flag, I think I need to really examine the way I see others. If all life matters and it’s all created equally, then the lives of the lost and forgotten matter too. Once again, adoption is just one way we live out the value that life matters. My grandparents have been involved in prison ministry for a bajillion years because they believe the lives of inmates matter.

Now, here’s why we didn’t adopt.

To rescue or save our children. Anyone who knows me would know I am totally incapable of singlehandedly saving anyone. If anyone has been saved through these adoptions, it’s me. Saved from my own complacency and selfishness and American dreams of a tidy little family, clean house and nice car.

To be just like Angelina Jolie. Want to know how trendy I feel with internationally adopted kids? Super hip and cool. NOT. They are children, not accessories.

Because I’m so saintly and unselfish that I just can’t help but give and give and give and get nothing in return. Ha. Ha. Let me share the great big secret of adoption with you: I am absolutely getting something out of this. I get a son and daughter who are precious beyond words. I get to see the miracle of kids who didn’t come from my belly call me Momma. I get hugs and kisses and hand-drawn pictures. I get to take part in these little lives restored by Jesus.

And that’s why we adopt.

I’d say I’m a pretty lucky lady, wouldn’t you?

February 2, 2013

Christy Wagner on Matched Hearts

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Our skin doesn’t match. You don’t have my eyes or mouth, and our faces aren’t the same shape. I don’t know what it’s like to look at you and catch a glimpse of myself as a child. What I see in you is far more beautiful than that. I see the hand of God in my life. I see into the windows of Heaven and you, sweet angel, are by my side every single day. Our skin may not match, but we match hearts. -Christy Wagner

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