Translate My Blog

My Blog is about many things, adult adoptee, autism, family, laughter, and love, feel free to follow me on my journey, and look through my archives. It takes more than one subject to define me or my family. We are a mixture of a bit of everything!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

5 Tips for raising a Child of Another Race

Well I love the Idea of Wordful Wednesdays… all them pics with so much to say suits me just fine!

(my orphanage in Hoima, UG)

5 Tips for raising a Child of Another Race

(mum, dad, & me)

My parents were in the Peace Corps in Uganda during the late 60’s to early 70’s. They worked at an orphanage where my mummy, Darlia placed me.
They brought me back to the U.S.
and started the adoption process for me at age four or five.
Well since I am a pro and all I decided to give a few tips.

(me and dad)

My tips will probably be all over place… seeing that I’m in my early 40’s now. But feel free to email me any further questions you have. Subj: Multi-Racial Adoptions.

(me and great-grandma Peterson)

Starting off life being given away is a rough start for a kid.
You can’t sugar coat it, it’s a fact.
However, if you can pump your child full of knowledge, self-esteem, and self worth they will blossom and your bond with them will as well!

(my cousin Erica & I first day meeting)

Tip 1. DO take your child to their birthplace during their childhood. It can be quite costly so pick a parent and take turns if your family is bigger than your wallet. Obviously it can’t be an Annual thing, but stage it during appropriate times in their growth. Don’t waste money on taking them under the age of five, it won’t be very memorable. Take them during big life events, such as graduations (leaving Elementary, leaving Jr. High, Graduating from High School).

(me at orphanage)

Tip 2. DON'T scream at them in Public. My mum is Notorious for this one! I know you may be thinking I want them to know they are the same as my other kids, no special treatment! That’s a load of Bull! We are different and there are times when it needs to be respected. My mum, who was a Peace Corps, Flower wearing, We are The World Lady (which I love by the way), was totally oblivious to our surroundings and the stares. She spent so many years in Uganda being the Minority she was unaffected by people staring and whispering. Now for me on the other hand, it was the total opposite! And my mum (bless her heart) talks very loud when she’s trying to make her point! 

I’d be wandering off in the Grocery Store and she’d scream “BETTY (my nickname when I was young, my middle names Elizabeth) WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR GOING???!!! GET YOUR BUTT BACK HERE!!!” Of course, the whole store would turn and I’d cringe like a Runaway Slave! They had no idea she was my mum! We both look back at those things now and laugh! But at the time the humiliation was excruciating.

(mum & me)

Tip 3. DO involve your child in an activity with just their Race. Nothing is worse than feeling like an outsider with your “own people”. Find your nearest Cultural Center and find out what kids activities they have, even if you have to drive far once a week or month to the nearest City. Most adopted children (out of race or not) have an incomplete part of them and with Children of Multi-Racial adoption, just knowing who you are really builds your self-esteem. Most important, let it be their activity! Wait in the car or go get a cup of Joe. This is about them, not you.

(me and neighborhood kids, Compton, CA 70's
yeah i am the sexy bitch picking her teeth
with her tshirt knotted as a tube top, don't hate)

Tip 4. DON'T have a toy box full of white items for a non-white child. This is 2010! There are dolls and action figures of every race. Go online if you have too but make sure their Toy Box includes a variety of items that Represent all Races.

(me at grandma's house)

Tip 5. DO teach your child their original language. If you don’t know it… Learn it! Go online, Google Rosetta Stone… or whatever program you choose to use. Also consider where they are from and what language is truly spoken. For example, where I am from there is Luganda, Chiga, and Swahili… as an adult I am still having difficulties figuring out the difference. Chiga has been easiest for me to pronounce and understand so thanks to my brother-in-law, Ken, I am studying it now. It would have been much easier as a child to learn this! I am sure I will still be corrected by my fellow Ugandans on what I just posted, LOL!

(Uganda Flag)

*BONUS TIP: If you decide after adopting one child to adopt another child, remember, you are not the United Nations, or Brangelina, and we are not accessories that come in different colors and sizes.
Adopt a Child of the same background so your Adopted kid will have someone to relate to. What better gift then to have someone that is going through the same things, someone whom can travel home with them one day, someone they can relate to. Then if you want to adopt more kids explore other options… If you want to keep adopting be like Noah, make sure they are in pairs before they board your Ark.

(me and cousins Gabe, Erica, Me, and Dez)

Thanks Seven Clown for Wordful Wednesdays!


Xmas Dolly said...

I am totally speechless. It's totally inspiring, and I have a friend who has done this and I can't wait to tell her about your post.

Night Owl Mama said...

wonderful post and great pics thanks for sharing

Ocean Girl said...

I can see the importance for a child to be able to relate to their surroundings and siblings. And they do not like unnecessary attention from strangers. These are good tips for mothers every where.

Hootin' Anni said...

This post was so worth while and I loved every word and photo!!!

My Wednesday post is Sea Shells...LOTS of 'em!! Come on over if you can find time, I'd love your company today.

parentingBYdummies said...

Very interesting tips and I'm sure they will come in handy for the thousands of families that choose multiracial adoptions. I am a mother to multiracial children by birth and wish that I were able to impart that last tip on my own. My children are half Mexican but can't speak a lick of Spanish. The sad part is that I do speak Spanish (better than their Mexican father actually). My 1st son had lots of language difficulty when he was a baby (tongue tied a lot) that required speech therapy and he struggled so much with English we stopped with the Spanish. His younger brothers just never really got exposed to it (we were too busy teaching #1 English) and now I'm the only Spanish speaker in a house full of Mexican people! It was always a hardship for my husband and I hope that my kids will one day learn it the way I did so they can feel closer to that part of their heritage. Thanks for sharing.

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

This is a brilliant, thoughtful post—I do believe this is the first time I've ever seen this kind of introspection from an adoptee. Usually, the voice is that of the parents. Thank you for being so open and certainly for being a fine teacher. (And those pictures are incredible!)

blueviolet said...

Good tips! My two children are biracial and although they're college-aged now, I really tried to expose them as best I could to both of their cultures.

Kathryn said...

"I love this idea... but I am pulling out my hair trying to find out how to make a button! Help! Somebody... Google is not my BFF today."

Hey! Thanks for visiting! Sorry to let you know but the button swap is over. If you would still like to swap buttons, let me know and I will help you make one! :)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Wow, that is amazing. My sister's husband was adopted by caucasions, and they followed literally none of these. It made him go through it all as an adult, which is unfortunate as a little foresight on his parents part would've had them doing it as a child.

Noelle said...

this is very interesting...thank you for sharing.

i especially thought your "united nations" comment was interesting. i've often wondered about the brangelina situation...if they were actually doing those kids any favors. and even though i'm not a huge fan of either of those actors, i'm sure they're doing it with the right heart...

SupahMommy said...

I think that your post reverberates with all parents.


kantmakm said...

Would you mind if I reposted your tips with a link back to your blog on an adoption-related message board?

I think they are valuable, and I appreciate the post!

Anonymous said...

Totally great piece Jane! I agree with you on your tips. My adad was type of person who was so focused on becoming "American" that he forcibly kept trying to make me forget my Filipina heritage. I fought back, and learned my culture and ended up teaching it. It would have been nicer to just stop trying to erase a part of a person, especially an adoptee because then its like erasing a part of them.

Mama Kat said...

Okay I'm back in your archives and I have to ask...if a family does not want to teach the child their homeland language or enroll them in any classes or do ANYTHING to spotlight that child's culture...would you discourage them from adopting a child of another race?

Strange Mamma said...

My husband and I have one and a half of our own (literally, I'm 20 weeks today) and our next step is to grow our family through adoption. I have had a heart to adopt trans-racially for as long as I can remember and thankfully I was blessed with a husband who was all for it. I am so glad I ran across this post as it is really great to hear from an adoptee's perspective what made (or could have made) a difference growing up. I have to admit, a couple of these points had not even occurred to me and I'm really grateful to have them. Thanks you.

Leslee said...

This is so wonderful :-) Thank you again, Jane!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Wow - I am so glad I just found your blog! I am an adoptive mom, and these tips really reinforce some of our values, so it is good to read.

From Tracie said...

These are really great tips! I thought the one about the toybox was really interesting, because even though we just have one daughter (and she is our biological daughter) we started when she was a baby buying her dolls and toys from every race. It seemed to me that she would have "real" friends from different races, so she should have the opportunity to have "play" friends who were too.

Doreen McGettigan said...

What a great recycled blog. My niece is bi-racial and has been nothing but a blessing to our family. We have struggled with how to deal with her heritage. You give great tips and thank goodness her Mama is a quiet one and will not be shouting in any grocery stores!

becs_2 said...

Saw your comment on my blog...checking out yours in return, love the tips and will take them to heart (many of these, we already do, whew!). :)