One of the questions I hear all the time as a transracially adoptive mom is, “But what about their hair – can you do it yourself?” Our 6 adopted children all have variations of kinky, curly, African hair. The color ranges from dark brown to deepest black and the texture ranges from very soft to more of a thick, bouncy toughness. For now we keep the hair of all 5 of our boys (Black and White) short. It’s just easier to wash and I don’t have to fuss with them about being tidy for church and outings. When they get older I am willing to let them try other things, but to be honest, I just don’t need to add another item on my mental checklist before we leave the house.
That leaves me free to concentrate on the beautiful hair that God has given my 3 adopted daughters. After several years of experimenting, I have found that keeping the little girls in cornrow style braids protects it from breakage and saves all of us the extended weeping sessions that come with daily combing of tender headed princesses. I don’t mind a week or so of twists, puffs and naturals, but when braid day comes I am very willing to take a break and invest the time in good tight braids. Do I do their hair myself? Yes and no. For 5 years I did it all myself, then I became grossly outnumbered when we adopted #8 and God brought Rosa into my life. She is a native of the Azores Islands, and a good friend who is willing to come over every 6 weeks to invest three hours in my girls and me. We have a great time. I take out the old braids, wash, condition and comb each girl’s head and then pass them on to Rosa who loves the artistry of designing patterns for each unique head. I can do their hair, but when there is a pro in the house I am happy to step down and serve as assistant. In the process I learn a lot and every session deepens my relationship with Rosa. If I ever have to move out of our area, one of the first things I would pray over and seek out would be a woman who loves and appreciates Black hair and is willing to partner with me in caring for these tiny girl treasures.
Black hair is different, so is Asian and South American and as a transracial adoptive mom you will have to learn how to care for and love it. If the Lord brings you a child who has hair that is different from your own, I pray you will view that difference as part of the blessing and not be afraid of the challenge.