There’s an oft repeated saying in the adoption community…

07 Jul

When we know better, we do better…

That saying relates to the progress made in many areas of adoption, and yes, it has happened.

So, why, can’t we apply that to race, attitudes, prejudices, biases, racism, that still exists everywhere? 

When we know better, we do better…

Except a lot of us white folks tend to get ultra-defensive.  I’m not a racist!  I have Black friends!  I live in a diverse community!  Those rebuttals and a whole lot more defensive streaming happens out of our mouths.  Or, we change the subject.  We deflect. We caution rushing to judgement.  We go silent when bad things happen to Black people.

Some of us find excuses to be silent.  Often, because we are cowards (at least that’s how I see myself, you may not), afraid of saying something wrong.  Afraid that our lack of education on racial issues will show, that we (I) have only the merest idea of what it is like to be marginalized, and viewed suspiciously, or feared, because of the color of your skin.  I don’t know what is like to be Black.  I’ll never know.  I trust the lived experiences of those who are Black.

More of us (white people) need to start talking about it, even if we don’t know how or even what to say.  I’m trying, so what, if I say something wrong and I’m called on it, my ego will get bruised, that’s all that will happen to me.  I’m fine with that.  I can’t live with the hate and racist crap being spewed, the senseless harm (and death) happening to Black people.  I know what it’s like to bury my child, it’s hard.  Even though I’ve done that, I still can’t imagine what it would be like to bury your child, knowing the color of their skin played a role, even if you can’t prove it made people afraid, or suspicious of them, or worse, your child lost their life and you have to bury them.  It’s wrong.  No one should fear for their child because of the color of their skin.  No one should fear for their life because of the color of their skin.

So, how does this have anything to do with adoption? Everything. Think about it, our families are different, some visible, others not so much. If you don’t already, think about leading those within your circle to see what’s happening, and why.  Talk openly about your biases, what steps you are taking to change, or did.  Not just if you are a transracial adoptive parent or adoptee, white adoptive parents with white children too.  You don’t like the very miniscule amount of marginalization you face being an adoptive family, imagine what it is like for Black people.  More of us need to start talking about race, figure out the right words, explore our own biases, take a bruise on our ego (or two) for saying something wrong as a lesson learned we and our family benefit from.  Recognise the privileges we enjoy, and imagine what would happen if we didn’t have any?  So, if you aren’t already, talk about that to your children.  Talk about the lack of benefit of doubt given to Black people solely because they are Black.  Keep talking to your children, teach them about racism, and the harm it does to those targeted.  Teach them to see bullying for what it is, and to say no.  And, don’t have just one conversation, keep having them.  Point it out to them.  Teach them.

When we know better, we do better…that’s our mantra in adoption, lets apply the same here…

NY Times – Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stop Mattering

NY Daily – Philando Castile

And for those in adoption who may still be questioning, you’d trust another adoptive parent wouldn’t you?

It’s exhausting

Say their names

Thoughts on Charleston

Living While Black




Posted by on July 7, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “There’s an oft repeated saying in the adoption community…

  1. AdoptiveBlackMom

    July 7, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. eagoodlife

    July 8, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “When we know better, we do better.”


  3. cb

    July 8, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Great post, TAO.


  4. beth62

    July 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    ” I don’t know what is like to be Black. I’ll never know. I trust the lived experiences of those who are Black.”

    Sometimes its hard to speak up when needed. sometimes listening, and believing the lived experience of others, the experts, is often what is needed most.
    Just like in Adoption – who would know what it is like to live Adopted?
    And why would anyone argue their (and many others saying the same) expert opinion if you’ve never really lived it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      July 14, 2016 at 3:29 am

      Exactly Beth…it all makes me so sad…the never ending pushback by so many. It’s just wrong…


  5. beth62

    July 14, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Thats the hard part, sometimes the push back is not wrong. 😦



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