Monday, January 27, 2014
Most days there is little difference between my peachy pink and your mocha brown.
But there are days like yesterday when these colors feel worlds away.
I'm your mama, yet I feel inadequate to be so.
Because behind my peachy pink and your mocha brown, we know there is so much more than color.
There is history. There is hatred. There are assumptions and there is oppression.
After hundreds of years, this doesn't go away quickly.
White mothers don't have to teach their children what black mothers have been doing for generations.
Don't walk outside on the street after dark, my son. Watch how you speak to a police officer, and keep your hands at ten and two.
And so, so much more to which most of the white community is oblivious.
At times, being a transracial family is sobering.
The peachy pink people don't understand that raising a mocha child is not the same as raising a peachy pink one. They entertain so many false assumptions about what it's like living as a minority in a majority culture. They have no awareness of their own privilege and the benefits of it. They tell me not to worry. They think love is enough. In some sense they're right.
But love simply isn't enough to prepare my son to live as a black man in a terribly broken world.
The mocha people know what it's like to be mocha, and perhaps some perceive my son as missing out. He will be missing out in some ways. I grieve that for him. I read the experiences of adult transracial adoptees and know better. No amount of education or effort on my part will ever allow me, a peachy pink mama, to teach Jameson how to be mocha brown. I am forever limited. But that doesn't mean I won't try my darndest to do what I can.
Every parent has challenges with every child. Every child has challenges with every parent.
There will not be a "happily ever after" story this side of glory, no matter how hard I try.
But some days, like yesterday, I'm overwhelmed by the chasm I'm trying to cross. I look into my sweet boy's eyes and feel so unworthy of him. I feel especially "peachy pink" compared to his beautiful brown, and it gives way to my inadequacies all over again.
Then, in comes reassurance, in some form or another.
Yesterday, reassurance came from the lips of my son as he looked at me and for the first time ever, formed the word "MAMA."
There could not be a more beautiful word exit his mouth. Or a more beautiful time.
Reassurance came through a brown-skinned woman stopping Marc and Jameson in the parking lot of the restaurant, only to discover that she, too, was a transracial adoptee with peachy pink parents and LIVES IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
Thank you, God!
Reassurance came remembering it was both of Jameson's birthparents that picked us. Lord, how can it be that they wanted their mocha skinned boy to be with peachy pink me???
Reassurance ultimately comes when I rest in the One who gave me this great task of transracial parenting to begin with. I checked the box of willingness, but it was He that formed my family, not me. He doesn't give this calling to everyone, but He's given it to me.
So I'll continue on, trusting that He'll continue to provide the beautiful reassurances He's given along the way.