Hope shared an interesting tidbit with me today. We were recently asked to participate in a video for our adoption agency recruiting other potential adoptive parents for older foster kids. We haven’t decided to do it yet, I’m leaving the decision up to Hope. She was telling me about the reaction she gets when she shares that she is adopted.
Hope said most of her peers are like, oh wow, that’s interesting. But, invariably, there is always at least one person who says they don’t believe her because her mom is black.
Say what now?
Yeah, Hope says, kids think only white people adopt kids, especially black kids. They think we’re rare. That’s messed up, right?
Uh, yeah, that’s messed up. I am so done!
Of course, there are folks of color who adopt, but we’re largely invisible. Unless it’s a transracial adoption (POCs adopting white children) we just sort of blend in. Our voices in the adoption sphere tend to be muted and the few of us who are vocal and visible are just not enough of a critical mass for folks to take a shine to us. I just made the wonderful list by Healthline of the best adoptive mom blog (Second year! Woot, woot), but I’m the only person of color.
The only one.
This invisibility means that folks think we aren’t here. It leads grown folks and kids to think my daughter is just joshing them by saying she’s adopted because if it was true her parents would surely be white.
Sometimes it feels like the only reason we’re invited into adoption spaces is to help white people raise children of color with free advice and well wishes. This phenomenon makes it hard for people like me to construct our support systems, our villages. There may not be folks comfortable talking to us, building relationships with us, not having one-sided transactional relationships involving our kids. It makes for a lonely journey unless you hunt down and/or fall into your safe space that includes folks who are willing to share their lives with you.
Adoption journeys require intimacy. As parents we open our homes and our lives to children; children who need homes have to find a way to learn to live with and hopefully trust these parents. The people around us don’t simply play voyeur; they often are parts of our extended family and close friends. Even if they don’t see everything; they see a lot. Parents and kids need specific support systems, and those systems must be safe enough to share some our darkest secrets about our wins and our challenges.
We are invisible, we aren’t able to even build the scaffolding necessary to create what we need.
It is so hard sometimes.
And on top of everything else, our absence from the adoption narrative makes kids doubt my daughter’s adoption story.
That’s effed up.