Family Trumps Race

DSC_0302When he looks at me he doesn’t see pale freckled skin; he sees his mama. When I look at him I don’t see caramel brown skin; I see my son.

Well-meaning people (of different races) have commented that it might be best if we did not adopt our foster son because he is half African American. They tell me that it would be better for him to be “raised with his own kind.”

They advise me on how to raise a black child:

“Don’t dress him in overalls.”

“Don’t feed him watermelon or corn on the cob.”

“Don’t call him ‘bubba.’”

“You’re not styling his hair right.”


And they warn me:

“He won’t know his culture.”

“He’ll talk like a white person.”

“He won’t be prepared for racism when he encounters it.”

“He won’t fit into either white society or black society.”

You know what? They could be right. We are German-Irish and look it. He is all-American: black, white and native. Being a different race from everyone else in his family may be hard for this little guy.

But, you know what would be harder for him? Being ripped away from the family that loves him.

We are the only family J. remembers. He has lived with us for over a year and a half. He looks at me and he sees his mama. He looks at my husband and sees his daddy. He looks at our other children and sees them for what they are: His brothers and sisters. And it’s the same for us.

Someone would suggest that we throw that away based on race?

Wouldn’t it be racist to take him from his family just because our skin is different than his? My birth children aren’t very big. My foster son is quite tall. Would anyone suggest that we kick him out of our family for being too large?

It’s odd how the negative comments of a few misguided people can so impact my perception. The vast majority, well over ninety-nine percent of the people we encounter, accept J. as part of our family without comment or question. Yet, I feel defensive of our decision to adopt him due to the words of very few. I shouldn’t let them have a stronger voice than the many many more who have been completely supportive. The racist few don’t speak for the majority, or anything near it.

I won’t let racism dictate who our son’s family is. God brought him to us. Love binds us together. This is where he stays.

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