Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spread the Love: Meet Jen!

I met Jen (35, former teacher's aid, wife, and mom) on an online adoption forum. She's a mom of a transracial family (which makes her awesome!) and offers her blog readers insight into her crazy-fun life.

• Tell me the names, ages, and races of your children and spouse.
Husband is Shelby, 38 Caucasian. Children, Gregory 14, African-American Eric 13, African American, Tanner 12 Caucasian Caden 8 Caucasian Miss Curious 17 months First Nations (Native American) Miss Tiny 7 months First Nations (Native American)

• Share with me how you became a transracial family (and/or parts of your adoption story if applicable). Feel free to share if you plan to add to your family in the future.

Shelby and I could have biological children, but adopting was always in our plans. When our first biological son was 4 months old we began the adoption process. Initially Haiti was our first choice and we began the process to adopt a sibling group of two from an orphanage there. Near the start of our home study process Haitian adoption closed (temporarily it turned out) and we had to make another country choice. Shelby is American born and raised and we then turned our sites to adopt from foster care in the USA. Because we had prepared ourselves and our families for a Haitian adoption, and because we felt we had the skills to adopt transracially, our first choice was adopting African American children. 18 months after starting, we were matched with our sons who were then living in St. Louis, Missouri and joined our family in BC, Canada in September of 1999. Greg and Eric were then 4 and 3 years of age. 18 months after that our second biological son was born. 10 years later we were very, very unexpectedly asked to foster our two daughters who happen to be of Deni Heritage. We are now a tri-racial family.

• Share with me a joy or two that you’ve experienced as a transracial family.

The greatest joy of being part of a transracial or multiracial family is that our lives have been opened into entire worlds we would have not otherwise understood or been a part of. We have been greatly enriched by the time and efforts we have to open our lives and family to educate ourselves. We are far richer for it.

• Share with me a hardship or two that you’ve experienced as a transracial family.

There were the typical issues that we had expected and prepared for - the inappropriate questions, the odd, odd look, the comments from strangers that at times might be ignorant, hurtful or downright mean. What has been the hardest for me as a parent to watch is the struggles my sons face as teenagers with the comments from their friends combined with their own struggle for identity.

• State your favorite quote, Bible verse, motto, etc. that might help my readers understand your philosophy on parenting, on being a transracial family, on what inspires you, etc. And/Or talk about this: Do you have a favorite book, song, etc. that might inspire my readers on family living or specifically, being a transracial family?

The very best thing that anyone ever told me before our sons came into our family by another transracial adoptive mom was that I would not be simply the white mother of black kids, but rather I would become part of a minority family. This completely changed my outlook - my FAMILY is a minority. THIS - African American Caucasian American Canadian and now First Nations is who WE are. Therefore all parts of us are valuable and worthy of respect, honor and understanding.

• Add anything else that might benefit my readers.

I would challenge anyone who is considering transracial adoption to look past the first few months and years with an adorable infant and toddler and think about what life will be like for your child as a teenager. What are you willing to do to have the best living arrangement for your child? What will it take for you to realize that it is our choice to be part of a transracial family, but it is not our child's choice? Are you prepared to advocate endlessly for your child? Are you prepared to deal with the fact that being part of a transracial family might mean significant hardship for your child? Are you prepared to consciously put yourself in a position of being uncomfortable in order to learn about what life is like for your child?

Thanks to Jen for the interview!

1 comment:

  1. awesome post for someone like me, who believes that God is clearly calling me to become a minority family in the near future. THank you so much...great interview.


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