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.