Ethnic Diversity In Adoption
How should you raise black daughters when you are white?
How will I raise my black daughters? Why is this an issue? Let me start with a story that occurred while they were still in foster care. Ethnic diversity in adoption is a real issue that needs to be addressed.
I was a (relatively) young foster mom and had my two small foster children in the dentist's office waiting room. These beautiful girls were biracial - their biological dad was black and their biological mom was white. I had the three-year-old sitting beside me. She was so well-behaved! The baby was in a carrier. She began to squirm. I got her out. A 'gentleman' said to his wife after she commented to him the words: "Be quiet."
"I don't care; it isn't right!"
I could not keep my big mouth shut. Of course, I knew what he was thinking... He thought I had married a black man. I had to reply. Right?
I said, "Sir, do you have something to say to me?"
"I'm not talking to you!"
"Well, you were talking ABOUT me, weren't you."
"I said, I'm not talking to YOU!" he said angrily.
"If you have something to say, go ahead and say it." I shook my head at him and leaned forward ever so aggressively.
He turned his head away from me silent - not another word or look. He ignored me.
That was it. It was over. I made a point and had won. I was happy and had proven that I was bolder than he was!
So, that was seriously the only overt bias that I've really encountered as a white woman with black children. I get stares. I feel people looking at me. It may be because there are seven children, the ages of the kids are from 20 to five years, or because they are trying to figure out who is with whom, like my oldest daughter may be responsible for some of them? Why are there so many girls? Where is the dad? (He is probably at work if he is not with me, thank you. Yes we both work; thanks.)
With all the racial-ethnic issues going on in the world right now, I began to contemplate, what do I need to know about rearing black daughters. How am I going to rear these children since they are not like me in color? I am in over my head. I am not prepared. Ethnic Diversity In Adoption began to spring up everywhere. From supreme court justice
Satan started to whisper.
I began watching Facebook's posts about black people being 'hunted' every day. Then I heard about police killing black people and black incarcerations that were disproportionate to white people. Later I heard discrimination and oppression exist today. Oh my. I had no idea. I thought, "where have I been?" How should you raise black daughters when you are white?
How could I have been so behind?
Or so blind? Why did I not know that there was a black national anthem? How did I not know that there was a white privilege? Why was I not aware of micro-aggressions? It is not nice to ask a black person about their heritage? or their hair? I actually did know about this because of my oldest daughter's college assignment a few years back (she is white and it was an uncomfortable assignment because who wants to call up a black friend and ask them if you can talk about their black-ness for a school project and bring up all the uncomfortable things you did not know about?). But I had forgotten about that assignment until all of this tension had begun in our country.
Confusion Regarding Ethnic Diversity In Adoption
I was getting so confused. What should I teach them? What will they need to know? I was becoming obsessed with all the information and the 'conversations' that were occurring. I was spending hours on YouTube and Facebook. That was where I was getting my information. My church even did a 'conversation'. I actually learned several things.
I listened to a police officer during a conversation from our church about his heightened sense of awareness that this may be his last shift; but how he wants to make it home and he wants to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle when she marries... For a Sunday sermon, we heard one of our pastors, who happens to be black, speak about his experiences. I then messaged him and his beautiful wife afterward and asked for some advice, because I had these black daughters to raise. They gave me some generally good advice.
I kept mulling over and pondering over what to do. During this entire time, my family kept walking on eggshells discussing all of the information because I was afraid of offending my black daughters as they may overhear us discussing it. I thought they may think I did not like them? or they were not up to par?
I heard about tearing down statues, Aunt Jemima's image changing. I had no idea what to say or do. Why was this all going on? What is behind this movement? I was pondering and sleepless. My entire world was changing and I could not explain it. And I had to try to say something to my 11-year-old, right. She deserves to know something. But what?
Then I had to stop.
I started searching for wisdom. I watched sermons from Voddie Baucham. https://www.voddiebaucham.org/about/ He had stories of his own experiences as a child/young adult but had such a sense of reason founded on biblical thought processes, which I was missing from all my other Facebook and YouTube 'research'. He made his children read a wide variety of books that I was impressed with. He sounded so reasonable and not angry and definitely not oppressed. I listened to many sermons from him.
Hmmm. Maybe there was nothing wrong with how I was rearing my girls and my future plans for rearing them - which there really was no official 'plan' that was any different because of color? But surely there had to be differences that I was just not aware of... How should you raise black daughters when you are white?
I had to search the Bible for myself.
What does the Bible say about black people? The first instance was about Moses marrying an Ethiopian woman - a black woman. His sister and brother were pretty upset. They were jealous and snarky about this woman he married.
Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
Could the Bible mean we were not to intermarry other races? This was taught for many years and was illegal until the 1960s. I read the dangers of being unequally yoked. Well, that obviously had to do with one person being a Christian and the other not. Originally, God did not want the Jews to marry a heathen because they would influence them AWAY from the one true God. Later he did not want Christians and non-Christians to marry.
We are all one flesh - I love Ken Ham or Answers in Genisis (AiG) resources (https://answersingenesis.org/racism/one-flesh/) on the subject. We are not different races. Parents teach prejudice to children. Some children are taught that one ethnic group is less than another. This is wrong. But still... How was I to raise black daughters when I was white?
I spent weeks reading and researching the scriptures. I felt I had a better grasp of my calling as a parent and my eyes were more open to seeing from a parental perspective.
Critical Race Theory
This is hard for me. I am just now learning about this? How? I guess because I was too busy rearing children, doing foster care, working, teaching, being in my own life's bubble... And, not because I did not have black friends. I had a few, honestly. I regularly visited and loved a church that had a black pastor as the main pastor. There were several black people who attended and were my friends. I had my friend, Peaches. I love her dearly and would give her the shirt of my back and feel she and her husband would do the same for us. She came to my house, kept my foster kid for me once. We raised children together and worked together for two years. I even taught her kids in school.
While working at the hospital, I worked with other black people who worked hard and had a good time at work. I spoke to them every day and considered them my friends - they worked as nurses and managers and housekeepers. We went on coffee breaks together. Black people were no more oppressed than me. And, I'm not trying to prove I'm 'woke' because I know black people. I am trying to prove my ignorance of the subject.
Why was there a Critical Race Theory? Why is there a Black Lives Matter? What are their goals? And how does that affect me and my girls? How will this affect me rearing them from now on?
Honestly? It won't.
I watched this conversation, "Race, Injustice, and the Gospel of Critical Race Theory, With Monique Duson —#72" and it totally explained so much: https://youtu.be/FwyJk1G_Dm0. This conversation put into perspective that CRT was divisive, and used to hold members of a particular ethnic group down. Monique had such an eye-opening experience and she communicates it beautifully.
Tammy, my best friend, and I were talking, and the subject of the police "pulling you over" came up. I said well no one has to tell me how to act when a policeman pulls me over. I know to be respectful because my dad and mom taught me when I was three years old up until the day I left their home.
She said, "My dad taught me specifically to keep my hands on the wheel; if I had to get into my purse, I was to say to the officer, 'I'm going to get into my blue purse sitting on the seat beside me here to get my license out.' Otherwise, my hands were to be on the steering wheel at 10 and 2!" And she was white. This was in rural West Virginia in the 1980s.
We, as white people, do have these conversations. They are often a little different. There are statistics that show white people are killed more often than black people by police officers. No one is literally 'hunted' by the police as a famous basketball player eluded to in a speech after Amaud Abrey was killed. (There is more to that story, apparently.) Heather McDonald makes amazing points in the video as well. See below the chart for the video link.
Watch Larry Elder with the Epoch Times who makes amazing points -including fatherlessness, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPkkjvANE10.
So, after all of this, what is my take - away?
How was I supposed to raise black daughters when I was white? I will acknowledge that there is "racism" from some people. There's pure evil in some people! There are some bad policemen of every ethnic group (I heard a story of my white friend being pulled over by a black cop, and my friend was as nice as could be to avoid a higher ticket. The cop was rude and even threw the ticket at him into the car window. Was he a racist or just a bad cop? No one will ever know. My friend just chalked it up to him having a bad day).
There are criminals in every ethnic group. Data is "spun" to make a case in whichever direction it is needed. There is a socioeconomic gap in the country. Rich people can afford better lawyers and get off from crimes more often. Asians go to college more often right out of high school than any other ethnic group. See the chart below. Should we study the Asian ethnic group to see why this is so? What are Asian parents doing to instill college as a priority in their children?
We could look at statistics all day. I could say that because my daughters are black, they will be less likely to go to college right out of high school than my white daughters because of this chart; however, I could strive to teach them that an education is important and provide expectations that they will go to college or trade school or whatever God has in His plan for them. That is ultimately my goal. To seek God's will for them. College or marriage or military: He can decide.
So how will I rear my black daughters differently than my white ones? That is a huge question to which I've been pondering for two months. My answer is simple:
No differently at all.
I will teach my children the fundamentals of hard work, a good education, surrounding themselves with peers who will be supportive and encouraging. Finding true friends who love them for who they are and who build them up and help them reach their full potential will be our priorities. I will rear them to respect authority every day - all authority - like myself, police, teachers, coaches, and church staff. I will teach them to be in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. They will have a purpose; not be left alone for the gangs or the street to educate. They are my responsibility now.
I will have an early curfew and will be a strict parent and be involved and love them too much and invade their privacy and their space very often - just like I do my white daughters. I will also teach them to stand up for themselves - respectfully. Concurrently, they will utilize Matthew 18 when they feel they have been offended. Or they will be taught to OVERLOOK an offense. I have often overlooked offenses. I am better for it.
Psalm 19:11 Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense...
This is why I believe that fatherlessness is a bigger issue than race in the United States. I wrote about this article on Father's Day. I make the argument that fathers are very important fo the success of the next generation. https://impressingminds.com/fatherlessness-in-the-united-states/
I will tell my girls they are beautiful, their hair is perfect, they are created in God's image.
Will we have challenges?
Of course, we will have challenges as we tackle the individual racism that some people still possess. We will address it in the waiting room of the dentist's office and not be afraid to have a conversation with an individual. I wish I had handled that day a little differently. Absolutely, I wish so many times I had been sweet and engaged the man with kindness and not an accusatory tone. I could have bridged a gap that was perhaps generational and taught to him as a child.
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? How would you parent differently between white children and black who are living in the same home? Should there be a difference? Besides cultural differences, (we will address those, like their history and slavery and civil rights as a part of their unique story) and physical differences like hair, what should be different? I hope I answered your question, "How am I supposed to raise black daughters when I am white?"
Why don't I use "African-American"? My black girls have never been to Africa. They are American just like me. Fun fact: My white daughters have actually spent a week in Africa for a missionary trip.
What do you think about ethnic diversity in adoption? What will you believe about race and equality? Let me know in the comments if you agree with my POV or do I need to research more?
I actually did a video on this post. Find it here: https://youtu.be/borFQ9H62aI