I was reading the book Ron's Big Mission, a book that I, as a white woman, can't get through without the white tears spilling all over the damn place. The story is about a little boy who is black growing up in South Carolina in 1959 and the day he took a stand at his local library demanding that he be able to check out books.
The positive side of reading these kinds of age appropriate books to my kids is that it provides an opening to a dialogue. X has flirted with discussion about skin color, but hadn't expressed dismay over his skin color compared to the rest of his family and extended family. He did this particular night, and we had what I hope was a good talk about how it's different even though it shouldn't be, and how it will be hard for him. I pointed out his other friends who are the only POC in their families, and he pointed out that a black kid at his school doesn't have white parents. I also pointed out that his therapist is an adoptee, like him, and she was adopted from India. She will understand why he feels uncomfortable sometimes and that he can talk to her about it as much as he wants. He can tell us all his big feelings too, and we'll do the best we can to help him.
The moment that I've been dreading as a parent has come, and whether I should have or not, I admitted that maybe Mommy and Daddy made a mistake when we adopted Baby Z. That maybe we should have waited longer for a baby who had brown skin like X so that he wouldn't feel so alone in our family. I don't know how that will ultimately play out, if X will resent Baby Z, or if admitting that was the right thing to do. I rationalized the placement by thinking, well, we've been waiting for almost 2 years and we've now been matched with 3 white boys despite our openness to race. I guess we can navigate this, because lots of other families do whether one kid is lighter skinned than the other, or whether there are multiple children of different races in the family. On the other hand, I know families that draw that line and say, my kids need other kids who look like them in the family. I don't know why I didn't draw the line, but I admit it was selfish to just want to be done with the process instead of being a forward thinker to years down the road.
If I begin to think about the fact that we were open to adopting a baby of a different race to us in the first place, I begin to wonder if that was a good decision. When we were going through the process the first time, it was made abundantly clear to us that if we wanted to adopt a white baby, we'd be waiting a very long time. Considering it took 2 years of waiting to be matched with X, it's hard to think about waiting even longer. We were naive when it came to race relations today and we've both been woke to how far there is to go, especially in today's political climate. I'd say that despite the adoption agency we worked with being pretty good in terms of preparation for the realities of adoption trauma even in infants, they miss the mark on adopting children of a different race. I don't know that it would have changed anything for us given the length of both of our adoption waits, and in X's case, he likely would have been adopted by a white family because that's the harsh reality of adoption. White people typically have the means to pay for expensive adoptions. Adoption is inherently racist, taking brown kids from brown families and putting them into white families because we theoretically are better. I call bullshit. We aren't better, we have the upper hand when it comes to everything.