- Every child is entitled to love and full membership in her family.
- Every child is entitled to have his culture embraced and valued.
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that this is a race conscious society.
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that she will experience life differently than they do.
- Every child is entitled to parents who are not looking to "save" him or to improve the world.
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that being in a family doesn't depend on "matching."
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that transracial adoption changes the family forever.
- Every child is entitled to be accepted by extended family members.
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that, if they are white, they benefit from racism.
- Every child is entitled to parents who know that they can't transmit the child's birth culture if it is not their own.
- Every child is entitled to have items at home that are made for and by people of his race.
- Every child is entitled to opportunities to make friends with people of her race or ethnicity.
- Every child is entitled to daily opportunities of positive experiences with his birth culture.
- Every child is entitled to build racial pride within her own home, school, and neighborhood.
- Every child is entitled to have many opportunities to connect with adults of the child's race.
- Every child is entitled to parents who accept, understand and empathize with her culture.
- Every child is entitled to learn survival, problem-solving, and coping skills in a context of racial pride.
- Every child is entitled to take pride in the development of a dual identity and a multicultural/multiracial perspective on life.
- Every child is entitled to find his multiculturalism to be an asset and to conclude, "I've got the best of both worlds."
There are a couple different ways to look at my progress through this list so far. One is that I made it a little over halfway through the list, became a mom and didn't finish it. And there's truth to that. But I also look at the list and realize that the further down the list I get the more pursuing these rights for my transracially adopted child leave the world of intellectual exercise and reflection and enter the world of me getting outside my personal comfort zone to make something happen. And by "something" I mean making sure that my kid gets the chance to know, love, be loved and be formed by people who share her race and racial culture.
I would hazard a guess that this is one of the most difficult things for white adoptive parents of non-white kids to figure out and make happen. I was recently added to a facebook group that is focused on the discussion of racial issues and as I read through the posts there I was struck by the number of white adoptive parents who mentioned in passing how their adopted child was the only person of color in their town/neighborhood/school/social circle.
This has been a challenging arena for me as well. I feel pretty lucky that Andrew and I started our parenting journey already connected to a couple of amazing and supportive black families, people we count as friends and neighbors. But after J arrived I found myself questioning my desire to spend time with them, and to intentionally "make" more black friends. Was it fair, I thought to myself, to pursue a friendship with someone because I want to expose my child to that person's racial culture? Is it fair to J not to, just because I feel uncomfortable? Are there ways that this can happen organically and if so, how?
I don't think there is a simple answer to that question.
So this fall I am going to tackle the final seven on the TAC bill of rights, and share my reflections on them here. Stay tuned!