January 29, 2008

But what do I call them? Realizing even the simple things can be hard in transracial adoption.

whatdoicallthemWho would have thought that figuring out how to verbally identify our children’s racial identity would be another one of the hard things about adoption? It seemed simple at first, they are African American and we are Caucasian. Then it got tougher, two of our children are also Cherokee Indian and two have unidentified fathers so they may be anything. So I say we are a multiethnic family, with a rainbow of children. Do you know that some people take offense that we talk about our rainbow? Some hate the fact that we talk about race in our family as chocolate and vanilla while others take offense at the term African American preferring Black. I admit, I haven’t ventured far into the Native American vs Cherokee Nation or Original Peoples designations but I am know there are lots of opinions out there about that as well.

So what do I do? I realize that I am not ever going to please everybody (and some days I think I am scoring closer to nobody) so I pray and use the words that God gives me to communicate the unusual makeup of the family he has built. I call my kids (adopted and biological) lots of things, all in love and respect and I need to be able to stand firm against the tides of political correctness and social awareness that want to tell me what is acceptable and what is not.

0 comments on “But what do I call them? Realizing even the simple things can be hard in transracial adoption.”

  1. As a TRA myself, (Japanese & Cuban), I think offering something concrete... some actual insight into the Cherokee nation... its history and people. Meet other Cherokee if you can. Imagine that your child would be growing up with some knowledge of these people... and thinking of the best possible exposure to them... that is what I would want.

    Your job isn't to "please everybody." You know that already. It is to raise the children whom you have accepted. Please them. Help them find the beauty of their people; make yourselves new people by finding the beauty of their people.

  2. Absolutely Mark! Our children are aware of and we all enjoy their individual ethnic heritages. We live in a very diverse community and interact daily with people from many different cultures, African American and Native American included.

    Thanks for the comment!

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