Since last Tuesday, my inbox has steadily filled up with messages from transracial adoptees. In an attempt to summarize the wide gamut of emotions expressed by so many of the hurting & grieving, I'll share one excerpt:
I'm black. I grew up in a predominantly white town, and practically all of my friends are white. As an adult I have kept in touch with many of my childhood friends, vacationing with some of them, making FaceTime dates with those who are long-distance, Facebook relationships with others. I've never doubted that we had a genuine friendship, until now.
I'm stunned by the number of my friends who decided not to vote during this election. Many others have posted on Facebook asking everyone to "wait and see" how Trump's presidency pans out. They don't think about me and how I might feel hearing Donald Trump refer to black people as "the Blacks," or the fact that he is being sued for not renting units to black people, or that he refuses to condemn the white supremacists who support and counsel him.
It pains me to know that they aren't even considering my emotional and physical safety at a time like this. Am I different because I was raised by White parents? Am I less black? I'm struggling to find an approach to converse with them, without them thinking of me as pulling the race card. After all, I'm their only black friend - I'm outnumbered, yet they're all I have!
I wish I hadn't assumed that the friends that I grew up with weren't racist. But then again, how would I have known?
-Anonymous, Transracial Adoptee
I realize that this experience is not particularly unique to adoptees, as many folks are grappling with how to engage with loved ones who have opposing views and have become emboldened by Trump's hateful rhetoric. However, my intention on sharing this particular excerpt serves to underscore my steadfast belief that healthy transracial adoptive parenting must include ensuring that adoptees have the ability to create community and make friends with others who look like them, starting as early as possible. Transracial adoptive parents must also create a safe environment for their child by making sure that their community is comprised of ally's committed to anti-racism.