Tuesday, January 9, 2018

MLK Day Isn't Enough If You've Adopted Transracially

It happens every year. 

"Positive" MLK quotes circulate social media in honor of Dr. King's birthday.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Dr. King was an incredible human being.  In fact, my son and I share Dr. King's birthday, making the holiday extra special for us. 

However, I wonder how many people who slap up a Dr. King quote this time of year, have a social justice hat on ALL year long?

If you're a parent by transracial adoption, let me be frank.  You can't cheer for Dr. King once a year and consider yourself woke.  Just like you can't read To Kill a Mockingbird and decide you understand everything there is to know about racism. 

Parenting a child of another race means committing to a lifetime of learning, changing, and growing.  It means humility.  It means forgiveness.  It means asking and listening.  It means observing.  And certainly, it means pursuing. 

Your circle of friends?  It should grow wider and wider in the right places.  It should become more diverse, more inviting, more inclusive. 

Your media.  You should listen to and read from sources where the people reporting racially match your child. 

Your home.  Your home should reflect your child's racial culture:  books, art, music, toys.  Your home should be your child's place of comfort and belonging. 

You do not have to have it all figured out.  As a human, you will stumble, make mistakes, and sometimes feel completely ridiculous.  However, as a parent to a child of color, you get right back up, say your apologies (perhaps it's just to your own child), and move forward.  You take your child by the hand and say, "I'm not perfect, but I am your mom.  And you and me?  We're doing this together.  And I have your back no matter what."

And with your actions and words, you affirm your children. Often before bed, I have my five-year-old son repeat after me:

"I am smart.  I am silly.  I am handsome.  I am a good brother.  I am brown.  And I am awesome."

Being a multiracial family, formed by transracial adoption, is a way of life.  It's an honor.  A joy.  A challenge.  A choosing. 

And I want to be able to always tell AND show my children:  I choose you. I choose ALL of you.  Your blackness is beautiful and magical and sacred.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made by an Almighty God to be the incredible human being that you are.  You are loved. 

This choosing doesn't begin and end on MLK weekend every January.  No.  This choosing is forever.

How do you and your family get woke and stay woke all year long? 

Just because we don't (and shouldn't limit) our woke-ness to MLK day, doesn't mean we don't celebrate MLK day!  

Here are our top five favorite books to read on MLK day (click on pic to learn more):

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