A family of three becomes a family of four through transracial adoption.
Part 5 of 5: THE ROAD AHEAD
These last few years have been about building closeness in our family like any other. To catch you up, we have a daughter and adopted a then baby boy. Now he is 4 years old. We signed him up for itty bitty soccer, he performed in his pre-school Christmas singing program, and then there have been frequent but brief stints in the timeout chair. He and his big sister get along great for about 20 minutes at a time. Truly, most days I don’t feel our family is particularly different than most.
He’s still too young to understand what adoption means or even to ask the question. But I’m sure someday the question will come, and it won’t be a onetime occurrence. The answer I give will be geared for his level of maturity but as he gets older he will need new answers to fill in new gaps and new questions.
I also recognize that it’s important for us, his parents, to pass onto him an appreciation of the culture and history of the people that brought him into this world, even though we have no idea where his birth parents are. So we’ve started collecting books of children of color to line his bookshelves. We also stay active with Multiracial Americans of Southern California and attend their playgroup events. I must say I’m quite proud of my children and how easily they make friends and play with any kids they meet regardless of color.
But lately I took a good hard look at myself and had to admit…I didn’t really have a lot of black friends. I have plenty of multiracial friends, but the black friends I had were from high school and I don’t see them very often. So I decided to take a leap of faith yet again.
It so happens at my work they have affinity groups with various themes including race and ethnicity. So I joined the black affinity group as the only non-black member at our division. I must say my experience so far has been simply awesome. The best way I can describe my fellow members is “classy!” They showed class by welcoming me into all that they do. They show class by all the good things they do for our company. But I think mostly they showed class by never questioning my motives for being there.
If anyone had told me 20 years ago that someday I would transracially adopt I would have laughed at them. But because I did I have learned so much and believe I’m a better person for it. If it wasn’t for transracial adoption I would never have learned about clandestine baptism or gained insight into some of my “friends’” true nature. I understand so much more about the difficulties many families have in our society and gained a deeper sense of empathy for my fellow human beings. I never would have left my comfort zone to make the friends that I have at work.
When I think of all the things in my life I wish I had done or hadn’t done there is one thing for which I have no regrets. Parenting has been the most challenging but also most rewarding part of my life. If you can’t have children consider adoption. And if you can’t adopt then consider mentoring a child. It won’t disappoint.
By Thomas Lopez