In mid-August of 2018, I walked into an adoption agency to speak at one of their Cultural Trainings for the first time. This was only the second time I would be telling my story in front of an audience, the first being an event I hosted about adoption a month prior. As I was being introduced, sweat started to run down my back and I was panicking, wondering why in the world I thought it would be a good idea to start sharing my adoption story. But as I started to speak, I remember noticing the class’s attention focus on my words, hearing gasps at certain parts of my story, and seeing smiles at others. For the first time, I was sharing hard moments: The rejection I felt from my family and community when I started talking about racism in America in 2016. Having people I knew and loved respond with “When did you become black?” Classmates in college asking “None of this affects you, so why do you care?”. It wasn’t the ignorance of their comments that bothered me. It was a complete disregard for my experience as a black person in America. A disregard that I’ve felt my whole life.
Raising children is no easy feat. Adopting children is an even greater feat, adoptees struggle in many more ways than biological children. Adopted children struggle heavily with understanding who they are and this identity struggle can be even greater in transracial families. Parents that choose to pursue transracial adoption are also choosing to take on the responsibility to understand racial differences and injustices. They are taking on the responsibility to help their child develop a strong racial identity and take on hard conversations about race. When these hard conversations don’t happen, adoptees are left confused about how to reconcile their adult experience as people of color with their white upbringing.
On August 11th we will be diving into these heavy conversations about race and racial identity during Barker's virtual event: Raising Black Boys and Girls. Going over the history of racial injustice toward specifically Black people, how to help Black children develop a strong racial identity, and leaving space for questions. If you are exploring transracial adoption or are currently parenting through a transracial adoption we encourage you to join us. To learn more and register visit Barker's main event page here.