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Transracial Adoption and Attachment

On transracial adoption…a video I found that I think has value…(notice I said VALUE–not very exciting or “touchy/feely”…and this momma loves touch/feely…but I DO think there is some value in this one)…

These were ALL things we took very seriously when adopting transracially…

How would our family handle forever looking different (and how would be respond to the questions–and looks…not all approving…every where we went). Our family’s personality really did matter (and you can only imagine some of the funny or “wow” responses I give people who openly share their opinion with me.) I welcome strangers asking me sincere questions–but oh my…the not so nice looks from old white geezers…I just want to run and give them a big old hug and say THIS IS MY SON…WHOM I LOVE—and YOU look like you need some lovin’ on to!!!!!!!!!! And by the way…Jesus wasn’t white. AND if you believe in Santa…he isn’t either. HA! (Okay…just seeing if some of you are actually reading!)

Seriously–WAS our family ALREADY connected strongly with friends who “looked” like our son? This is important not as much for us–but FOR HIM!!! AND YES! We were! This was SO important to us!!! I’m not talking about you know Joe-Smo BUT that you are doing LIFE with people that look like your child…in the places that are most important to us…our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches. I wanted our son to have the joy of being able to go to THE barber (we have found an Ethiopian one!!! We’ll go there SOME…and other times…mommy won’t get to be the one to always take him because he can go with our friends and just feel normal!) AND church and…for once “not stand out”. NOW…Isaac hasn’t been able to mosey around town with anyone else BUT ME yes (because of attachment!) BUT…you better believe he will be spending LOTS of days with his godmother…and it just so happens one of my very best friends is African American—I heart you Momma Nisia and you know I couldn’t be on this journey without your love and support. It was important for us to have this very dear families support who also look like our son. VERY important for both us and him—but really for him mostly…which will also be for us as he gets to have that opportunity. As adoptive moms WE can say we don’t think this is a big deal—BUT talk to transracially adopted adults…or put YOURSELF in your day in and day out shoes of your sweetie…and before you know it–your mind is creatively thinking how you can put them in situations where they are treated like they some times long to be treated. (I know this can be uncomfortable for some people to process-and I was THIS close to NOT talking about…but it was on my heart…and I can’t always be Rosie fluff talk;). JUST sayin’.

Another question—would we be able to pour into HIS culture…which for us woud be a COMMITMENT…for our WHOLE family–committing to do things like take Arhamic lessons…travel to Africa (we already go once a year)…starting a Africa Family Fellowship…honoring Ethiopia holidays…and reaching out to Ethiopians in our community (YES, this would require LOTS of effort on our part!!!). Could we do this?? YES–it would be a commitment–but as we prayed we felt called to the challenge…it was one we felt called to!!! Imagine…God asking me to leave my comfort zone;). BUT it has been so god–AND we also have a long way to go!!! BUT thankfully we have the gift of time on our hands!!! (I always say if we adopt again I pray it’s from Ethiopia…because if the Lord calls us to adopt from the U.S. OR another country…I have ANOTHER culture to add…HOWEVER we could do it AND the Lord ALWAYS equips you for how He calls you! BUT just to be safe–Let me just cast my request of Ethiopia or the U.S. should He ask us to be crazy and grow again. I’d welcome the U.S. adopting transracially, too…because if you know me you KNOW I love me some Martin Luther King…and back when I was a middle school teacher I had his speech MEMORIZED and I’d shock my prodominantly white class by standing on my desk…giving that speech with gusto…and WITHOUT fail I ALWAYS got the standing ovation from my precious African American students (WHO by the way are some of my most favorite blog readers!!!)—I think God painted me the wrong color or something because I just LOVE the African American perservering tradition and soul in our country!)

I LOOOOOVE this next video the most of all!!!!! Transracial adoption IN NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF…but you absolutely have to be open to LIVING in a neighborhood where your child will be raised with kids that look like him, go to a church where your kids will see other kids and families that look like him (we go a church where our pastor is African American…there are also A LOT of transracial families AND lots of kiddos who have beautiful caramel skin just like my sweetie bug! SO important to us!!) There may be things you have to change in your life…maybe you don’t have to change EVERYTHING…but you might have to change some things–and that is part of the journey of being called to grow your family through transracial adoption!!! And IF you don’t live in a place that has a transracial family fellowship–then you do like we did… YOU START ONE!!!! It’s so awesome even for our biologocial kids to see other families who look like ours too!!! SO…I thought I’d end on you hearing from an “adult” who was adopted transracially. SO precious!

REMEMBER–1 John 4:18 “THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE. BUT PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR.” TRUST the Lord to provide–and don’t expect opportunities to just knock on your door!!! Adopting transracially–whether from the U.S. or ANY other country IS a commitment…but OH SO WORTH IT!!!!

I WAS going to share a bit on attachment…but I guess I had more to share on transracial adopted than I realized!!! SO attachment…later in the week if I get a chance!!! I have been talking with an amazing local attachment therapist—and this is so, so important to know about and how to help your little ones heal! She has clients who have brought home babies from the hospital (at DAY ONE) all the way to teens…and she even counsels adults who were adopted. She said THE ONE common thing these adults ALL say is “I wish my parents had known about attachment!!!” You will not NOT have problems with attachment because you bring home a baby–attachment begins in utero…BUT there are SO MANY things you CAN DO to help with attachment!!! We have made HUGE, HUGE, HUGE gains at our house…and it’s been A LOT of work–but this, too, is so worth it!! I’d rather have counseling NOW than later! But it is OKAY if we have it later too!!! WE ARE ATTACHING…and I’m so thankful this is something the Lord put on my heart in the early stages and opened my eyes too!!! This is something we HAVE to talk about…be willing to walk through…and be trained to help our little ones heal!!! AND–THROUGH HIS STRENGTH AND HAND…ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!! MORE to come…I have to be rested for my night ahead-as you never know what it will bring…and part of our stage of attachment is not letting our little guy cry and meeting EVERY need. This is VERY different than parenting a child who has attached to me since utero…but there are gains EVERY day…and again SO WORTH IT!!! 6 months in and he now needs me to kiss booboos…he is LOOKING to me for healing…he REACHES for me when he gets hurt…he lays his head on my shoulder and chest when I rock him…he plays LOVINGLY with my hair when I sing to him…these are HUGE gains and we have worked so hard to get here—and while we have a way to go…it is so, so, so WORTH IT! SOOOOOO…be encouraged at whatever stage you are that perservering through those first stages really does pay off. More to come on attachment, etc soon! (I heart this topic!)



Mary - January 16, 2011 - 12:22 am

I would love to read more about bonding/concooing etc with adoption. I have 5 bio children (2-11yrs) and we hope to adopt toddlers/babies (siblings 0-3) next year.
I love your blog-it is so ‘clean’ and of course what you write is so inspiring!

Kelly - January 16, 2011 - 3:11 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve seen the second video before and loved watching the young man and his mom. Speaking of funny looks or comments from strangers… My kiddos are 8 months apart and are very close is size but um…well, not in looks. 😉 I’ve had several people ask me if they were twins…I wasn’t really sure how to answer, but at least they are looking past the color of their skin! 🙂

Lori - January 16, 2011 - 3:21 pm

Andrea –

Thank you so much for writing this!!! My husband and I have just received our referral for a 5 month old baby boy and are trying to figure out how to put so many of these things in place while we are waiting to bring him home. The first 2 books that I pick up have to do with transracial families and totally see how important it is to have a “transracial community” in place for them. Unfortunately, we live in a very Caucasian area of town and I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how to create this type of community. Moving, of course, not an option. We are slowly meeting other families that are also adopting from Ethiopia which is a start. I would love your input!

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to hearing more from you attachment entry!!!

Ronna - January 16, 2011 - 5:37 pm

Thank you for posting this. It was an amazing read and totally inspiring.

Sophie - January 16, 2011 - 10:35 pm

Great video!! We are in the process of adopting our second child, which will make this child #7 and our state requires classes and the woman on the 2nd video with her son, was the instructor. She is amazing, and just a wealth of information, she really has some wisdom going on! Thanks for posting, I’ll have to show my hubby.

Katie - January 17, 2011 - 10:18 pm

I too would love some info on starting a transracial family fellowship in a “seemingly” white town. Any suggestions??