A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Okay, so I left something out

And it reared up its head and roared at me today.

The dotter was puttering around, and somehow, in the midst of her puttering, she was talking about brown skin, and how all the kids at school would go, "Ewwww!" about brown skin.

Sigh.  Time for another talk with Miss Ruth about some diversity emphasis at school.

So, yeah, there's more than sunshine & soft-focus fun.

But, still, being prepared keeps you from feeling quite like someone has punched you in the gut when your daughter just casually tosses a little bombshell like that into conversation.

Yes, with transracial adoption, there are additional issues that, actually, you think about and breathe and live almost every day.

There's the "You have pink skin and mine looks kind of dirty" commentary.

There's the worry about discrimination and differences, and when they'll show up, and how to prepare your child to be strong and capable and able to believe, within themselves, that brown skin isn't something to go "Ewwww!" about.

There's the question of having an entry in your calendar at work ready to blare at you that it's TIME TO REGISTER FOR CULTURE CAMP!!!  And knowing you have, at most, one hour before registration fills up.  (Okay, today it took two minutes.  TWO MINUTES.  I was registered, and by the time I got OmegaDad into the shopping basket [what an intriguing image that is!], he was on the wait list.  Yes.  TWO MINUTES.)  And then the planning to take time off from work so you can drive out there, and hoping you get some info ahead of time of what the H(e)art Talk will be about for kindergarteners.  And realizing that you're likely to have a few weeks of emotional upheaval when you get home.  And realizing that it's all worth it, because the dotter needs it.

But even so, it becomes just part of the tapestry of your life.  It's not overwhelming.  (Okay, some days it is.)  It's not constant.  It weaves in and out.  It's something you need to keep in mind when it comes time to register for school (which is more important:  diversity?  Academics?  Arts?  The school where One and Only True Love is going to attend?).  You become dreadfully aware of just how white a tried-and-true memory from childhood, Pat The Bunny, really is.  (Oh, yeah, and sexist, to boot.)

You think of ways to encourage her to think of her heritage as something to be proud of.

You look for kids' books that aren't all white, that are, equally importantly, not PC mush and are fun.

You cringe at old cartoons, which, while they're full of much more innocent fun than today's, are also full of much more blatant stereotypes.

You try contacting Small Mountain University's accelerated English learning program, because you know that SMU has managed to wangle a "cultural exchange" with a bunch of Chinese universities.

You keep up with FCC activities, even though they are a lick and a swipe, because a lick and a swipe is better than nothing, and it's a venue where your daughter isn't the Token Asian.

You stumble along trying to learn a little bit of Mandarin--knowing, even so, that it may not be her birthparents' language.

Pluses and minuses.  But there is, all the time, a lot of joy.  And a helluva lot of time being just ordinary parents, struggling with ordinary parenting things.

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posted by Kate @ 3/08/2007 07:56:00 PM  
  • At 3/09/2007 07:06:00 AM, Blogger Julie Pippert said…

    Such an EXCELLENT post. A really important topic to tackle and you do it really well.

    It really sounds like you do all you can possibly do...but Miss Dotter seems so confident and healthy.

    In a way, we all get scars, regardless, KWIM? What matters is having a foundation that supports you. And you two surely give that to Dotter. I feel completely confident in that.

    On the plus side, it is still very, very white out there, but there are more things of diversity.

    It might just be where we are (and we chose it for diversity) but there's a lot of multilingual and multicultural things around us. Our school is very racially diverse, and our neighborhood, not so much but more than our previous one.

    We have quite a few friends who have adopted other races.

    And we do our utmost to emphasize the inside matters to our kids.

  • At 3/09/2007 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Julie Pippert said…

    Oh meant to say...I think growing up within diversity helps. I did for most of my childhood and I see things differently, I think, that people who grew up more segregated.

  • At 3/09/2007 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Anne Marie said…

    And thank you yet again! This was the other half of what I have been worrying about.

  • At 3/09/2007 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous SBird said…

    Thanks for posting about this...seeing as how we live in UltraTiny UltraWhite Ranching Village, we'll be moving at some point when The Bee becomes more aware of her racial difference. Right now, I am glad that she will learn about bugs and rocks and trees and stuff....

  • At 3/12/2007 08:44:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Julie--We've actually got a bit of diversity here--lots of Navajos, for instance, and (interestingly enough) plenty of Asian folk due to SMU's sister-university program. Yay!

    New Girl--It's hard to describe, but it's all about finding balance, I think. It's easy to freak out with all the assvice out there, but, honestly, most of the time, it's just parenting.

    SBird--Rocks and bugs and trees and stuff is all very, very important (IMO).

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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