Last year I flew with my three oldest daughters across the country. While walking through the Denver Airport, my five-year-old adopted daughter would fall into step with a black family, distancing herself from both me and her sisters. I saw her fascination with black adults. This did not offend me, but was a very poignant moment. She was doing something she didn’t often have the opportunity to do-assimilate herself into the black community. Although she has other black siblings, she lives in a home with white parents, and is immersed in a mostly-white community. I recently read an article in the New York Times entitled ‘Purple Boots, Silver Stars…and White Parents.‘
The author states:
“Raising kids of color by white parents is not just a matter of love; it requires a racial consciousness that is common in families of color, but rarely developed in white families. And it needs an understanding that one’s family is not only challenged by the centrifugal force of the adoptive identity of the children, but also by the tensions of their broken cultural and racial identity. These fractures cannot be fixed, but need to be addressed with empathy by competent parents. We cannot take away loss, but we can teach our kids and ourselves to learn to live with it, and to live good lives with it.” -Frank Ligtvoet, Purple Boots, Silver Stars…and White Parents
Me and My Girl
When my daughter fell into step with black families, she wasn’t showing that she loved me any less. It was, however, a good reminder that racial identity in a transracial family is complex. I love our diverse family, and have every confidence that together we can meet these complex issues with love, understanding, and empathy.