the6parkers

the6parkers

Friday, December 30, 2011

Is love colorblind?

"I made you black." William said, kind of sheepishly.  We were sitting in the play area at the mall.  Antwan and Lizzie were playing.  I had ordered William to take a break from his new Nintendo 3ds, so he could get some exercise.  But, instead, he had moved on to telling me about everything that he had done on his 3ds. 

He was telling me about the avatars he had made.  "I made you, but I made you black."  He went on to say that he had made Daddy black, too.  I don't think he was sure how I would react, and I didn't really know how to react.  So, I asked him, "Is that what you wish?  Do you wish we were black?"

He paused and said "Yes and no." 

Even though, it wasn't much of an answer.  I could tell it was the most he wanted to give and, anyway, I still kind of got it.  It would be much simpler if we were all black.  But then again, we wouldn't be us. 

I've come a long way from the beginning of our lives as parents.  Right after adopting the boys, we were interviewed on the news as part of a story about adopting transracially.  I was very cavalier about saying the color didn't matter.

video

But, now I realize, it does matter.  It matters because it's who we are and it's who they are.  It matters because for their entire lives, they will be black and have white parents, and that's unusual.  But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I don't want my children to focus on the color of their skin and the different color of ours.  But, at the same time, I don't want them to be afraid to acknowledge it.  Tricky stuff.

Now that Antwan is getting older, he's noticing it more.  The other day, he told me that he wished he was "yellow" like me. I responded by talking about how beautiful his skin is.  He seemed unimpressed by this.  And, when I was telling him a story about me as a baby, he asked me if my skin was brown like his.  I thought that was interesting.  And, boy, is he going to be surprised when he stays black! ;)

The other day, William said hello to a classmate in the grocery store.  After they passed, he said, "I think he thought you were my babysitter."  That was the first time he had given any indication that he worried about it.  We talked about it, a little; as much as you can in a grocery store.  He admitted that he worried about people not knowing that I'm his mom.  There wasn't a lot that I could say.  If there was, I couldn't think of it.  I couldn't tell him that it would get better because it won't.  There will always be confusion.  Evidenced by the fact that I had a whole conversation with a mom at Antwan's school.  She looked confused then finally said, "Oh! Are you his mom?"  It was then that I remembered that it's not obvious. :)

But, the love is obvious.  I look at these children and I don't see my black children.  I see my children.  My amazing, beautiful, intelligent children.

Every family has complications.  Well, this is ours.  I can laugh when I accidentally confuse a mom or see the surprise in a child's eyes as we pass.  Or I can dwell and worry.  This was the advice that I gave William.  To try to find the humor in it and accept that it's going to happen.  But, me, honestly, I do both.  It is amusing, but I do worry about how they will handle it as they get older.  I know more comments are coming and I can only hope we are preparing them.  When the kids at William's preschool asked why his mom was pink, we laughed.  But, when a kid asks him about me (I know it will happen) and it's mean and deliberate.  It's not going to be so funny.  That scares me.

Does this mean that we shouldn't have adopted them?  No, of course not.  There is no doubt in my mind that we did the right thing.  We did the right thing because they needed a home and we needed children to love.  We did the right thing because they were always our children before we ever met them.  We did the right thing because life would not have been the same without them, specifically them.  We adopted these children and no other children would've been the right children for us.
  
Is love colorblind?  William said it best, "yes and no."  But, love is unconditional.  And, Brian and I, the white parents of our black children will love them forever.  We will always be white and they will always be black.  We will always confuse the heck out of people.   And, there will be times that they will wish we were different, but, frankly, that would happen, anyway. :) 

Well, moments after he told me that he made us black and I still had heavy thought in my head, he also said he made me bigger than Daddy and gave Daddy glasses.  Then he started rattling on about his Mario Kart game.  I think we're going to be ok.


18 comments:

  1. Every now and then you read something that changes you. Changes the way you think, the way you feel. This did that for me. I've always had this "see no color" attitude, but in reality, that's just about impossible, isn't it? It's in our nature to see the differences in ourselves and others, but when it comes down to it, when it matters most, love steps in. And you're absolutely right: love is unconditional.

    Amazing post.

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  2. Thanks! We live in Texas near towns with very distinct racial lines. We chose not to adopt transracial for those reasons. It's complicated now and will only get more so as they get older and begin dating.

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  3. It's amazing how kids make you reevaluate your perspective on things. Great post!

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  4. Thank you, everyone! @Penny, yes, I am curious to see what's going to happen when the kids start dating. Hopefully, it will not be too much of an issue.

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  5. I loved your article it made me cry as I read it. We are in the process of adopting our Black child from Foster Care, he came to us when he was 4 days old and he is 7 months. We love him so much and we adopted our older son as well who is 7. He was 2 days old when we adopted him through a private adoption agency and he is white. We all are so happy to have our family and how different we are. Our oldest says he's our vanilla ice cream and the baby is our chocolate ice cream. I just love them so and thanks again for the great article.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Congratulations on your upcoming adoption. :)

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  6. I love your story! We have adopted one boy from foster care who is white and we are hopefully finishing an adoption of a black boy by the end of the year! We have had the discussion about color of our skin as my husband and I are white - but my son (who is 5)simply explained it as: "mommy, God created us in different colors because he loves us and he wanted us all to be different"!

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  7. You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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