Sunday, October 18, 2009
Acceptance and Tolerance
During the 6 months "waiting" period (which I realize was much, much shorter than most PAPs have) I did a TON of reading on trans racial adoption, international adoption, black hair and skin care, Ethiopian culture, etc. I even took the MAPP classes that foster to adopt parents have to take in my state.
I was prepared, based on my education regarding the cultural and racial implications of adopting internationally and trans racially, to hear some less than favorable comments regarding the contrasting colors of our skin when we were seen out and about together.
I had some snappy come backs prepared for the times when a comment was made and I was not in a good mood, and some educational speeches for when I felt patient and kind. Although I was not "worried" about hearing comments, I was fully expecting them.
Well, it's been 4 months home and I haven't heard ANYTHING negative. I have not seen ANY "looks", heard any "whispers" or seen any "stares". And I live in The South.
I'm kind of blown away, actually.
I had read several places that both African Americans and Caucasian groups may disagree with trans racial adoption, so I was not sure who, if anyone, would be giving me grief or negative vibes. Instead of negative, Charlie continues to stop traffic, but in a good way. Today at the grocery store, a black man walked by and said "Cute baby!" and smiled at us. At the checkout, a group of 5 African American women all commented on her and how precious she looked. They did not seem annoyed or angry that a white woman was Charlie's mom. They did not question how I came to be her mom.
The workers at her daycare (both black and white) have been giving me hair tips and offering to do her hair every day (because mornings are rushed for me and I often only moisturize and not do any puffs) and seem to LOVE her.
We have yet to go anywhere in public where at least one person hasn't stopped to compliment her, or make some positive remark.
We've been approached by the least likely candidates (middle age men and teenagers) to receive smiles and positive comments. No one has asked anything remotely offensive. At Olive Garden the other day, every person who passed us said something and two in a row said "What a happy baby!" because when she smiles, she lights up the room.
Charlie is so special it seems everyone can see that instantly.
(Yea, I'm not proud or anything).
I'm pleasantly surprised. I should have known though, I live in a very accepting community. Everyone who grew up "different" in the South (gay, goth, punk, nerd, etc) heads to my city when they turn 18, for the diversity in arts and music and low key acceptance of anything different. Including different looking families.
I love where I live.