I shared recently the National Association of Black Social Workers position on transracial adoption, released in 1972 and not altered in any ways in the almost 50 years since. In their position, they take a “vehement stand against the placement of black children in white homes for any reason”. They go on to write that black children belong in black families “where they belong physically, psychologically, and culturally in order that they receive the total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future”. They say they “fully recognize the phenomenon of transracial adoption as an expedient for white folk, not an altruistic concern for Black children”, arguing the only motivation of white couples adopting black children is that “white children for adoption has all but vanished”. They “repudiate the fallacious and fantasied reasonings” that a black child will ever become their full selves under our white roofs.
I could go on, or you could read it for yourself here, but can I just say something?
I reject that.
I just freaking reject it.
As a mom of beautiful black and brown babies, I strive to surround myself with black and brown voices. I value them, I uphold them, I saturate myself in them because I know they have something to offer my children that I naturally cannot offer up myself.
But I reject these words, based on single story of my transracial family, that I cannot raise sons and daughters who love and fear the Lord, who are rooted and grounded in Him, who know who they are and whose they are – not only in a Kingdom sense, but belonging also to me (and the culture we’re raising them in) AS MUCH AS they, too, belong to their first families (and the culture they were born into).
But can I also say, as parents of black and brown children, we’ve got some work to do.
The truth is our black and brown kids are black and brown, and their experience of the world is going to be different than our white experience ever will be. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. And to not see it – to not see color, to not see struggle, to not believe this reality will be true for your child outside the safety of your home – is harmful. You guys, it’s just really, really harmful.
And there are a thousand things I could write about next – an understanding of white privilege you need to be embracing, cultural intelligence you should be developing, podcasts you could be listening to, books you should be reading, biases you need to be uncovering, microaggressions you ought to be tackling – but I wanted to start a little bit easier with simply looking at your home.
Whether your little one is brand new or heading off to college in a few months, they should see themselves when they look around your home – and not just in a few family pictures where they are the one brown face in a sea of white. (I’m sorry if that stung, but let it. Lean into the discomfort and anchor into the one truth I know we all share – our kids are worth it.)
So I’m going to challenge you – look around your home. And look around the other places your child finds him or herself. Are they seen? Are they known? Are they celebrated and loved?
Be intentional and do the work. Download the link below, walk through your home, and find out!
And if they’re not, don’t let the shame sit too long; do something about it! Until you’re given eyes to see, you just don’t know, and that’s okay. But don’t stay in that place.
And if you need help, check out a few of these Amazon lists I’ve put together:
- For younger kids: Created in His Image | Young Collection
- For older kids: Created in His Image | Teenage Collection
- For parents: White Parents of Black and Brown Children
And it doesn’t have to be in just your home. Send black and brown color crayons to school. Ask people to donate black and brown baby dolls/doll house people/barbies/puzzles to your church nursery, gift some of these things in the lists above to your nieces and nephews and friends at birthday parties.
You can. You have that right to advocate for your child AND invite others into the richness and beauty of diversity.
Let’s keep walking and growing together, yah? Let’s do everything we can to show our children where they physically, psychologically, and culturally BELONG. Let’s not ignore the differences, but let’s not let them freeze us, either.
We’ve got work to do, but we can do it.
And let’s not forget – our babies are sons and daughters of the King, and if they know, they’re already one step ahead.
Sending all the warrior vibes your way today,