“We didn’t realize that race would be such a major issue either, but it is. My mother (Megan's) is Syrian, so she's a little darker than I am, but no one ever assumed we weren't biologically related. All of our children are black though, so people can look at our family and see the difference instantly. It’s one thing when we’re all out together, but if I’m out by myself with the kids, people will ask, ‘What color is the father? How many baby daddies do you have?’ Complete strangers think they have the right to ask those kinds of questions, and they do it in front of the kids, which is even harder. Typically I just say, ‘They’re all mine’ and leave it at that. They don’t really need to know anything else.
“We’ve had to learn hair care and skin care routines, of course, but we’ve also had to have hard conversations about race. We have to consider how the world sees our children. We’re white, so we’re viewed in a particular way; they're viewed in another. That’s just the world we live in. That’s the reality. We want our children---particularly our teenage sons right now---to be safe when they’re out alone or with friends. We try to make sure they don’t wear their hoodies, for instance, and that they know how to respond appropriately to authority figures, based on what’s happening in the world. We have to explain that not all people are good to be around, that you can’t be naïve. You have to be cautious; you have to have your guard up.
“The ethnic diversity of Memphis is very important to us. That’s one of the reasons we moved here. The church we go to is multiethnic too, which has been a great experience for our kids. It means a lot to them to see people of their race acknowledging our family. There’s an Ethiopian population in Memphis as well which we didn’t have in our old town. We wanted that for our two who were adopted from Ethiopia.
“Adoption is an amazing journey. It’s rewarding, but there are also huge challenges. One of our children has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), and that adds another layer of stress. There are times you want to curl into a ball and cry and be so offended and hurt, but you learn not to take things personally; you learn to let them roll off. You grow and you learn and you move on. And you’re not alone. There are many, many other adoptive parents out there who are very willing to share stories and give you the support you need, who will tell you, ‘We understand. We’ve been down that road too.’ Adoption is definitely a life-changer. And not just for the child.”
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/parentingwithconnection/ - Parenting with Connection support group
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558461304393944/ - Transracial Adoption Hair and Skin Care group
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/114654941931517/ - Adopting the Older Child support group
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/355932611188914/ - 1.17 Moms support group, an amazing group set up for those in our local area and just outside the Memphis area
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/72618670936/ - RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) support group
- http://jenhatmaker.com/ - Jen Hatmaker's blog
- http://outofshemind.com/2015/01/dear-adoptive-parents-hard-lonely-road/ - Dear Adoptive Parents walking the hard, hellish, lonely road of trauma... (blog post)