Empowering Our Children in Matters of Racial Identity

By: - October 14, 2013

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Tara Bradford is a breakout speaker for the 2013 Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Conference. Her session is titled, “How should we see color as a multiracial family?” To register for her session and the conference visit http://tapestryconference.org. Tara was kind enough to write this article for us:

 

 

Mom, have you ever felt like you didn’t belong?

All the time… what do you mean specifically though?

At first I didn’t feel like I did here.

“Here?”… hmmm, do you mean America or in our home?

America…

And why was that?

Because other kids would say “Hey, look at that black girl!”. 

Yes, sweetheart, that would definitely make you feel like you don’t belong. I’m so sorry that was said to you. I hope you know that you DO belong and your skin color doesn’t determine that. 

Yah, I know that now.

This was a recent conversation that I had with my 10 year old daughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.

Many times we think that skin color or race does not matter… but it does and our children are very aware of it.

As a transracial adoptee myself, I am able to understand, discuss and empathize with my children when it comes to matters of race. These are tricky rapids that we must carefully and intentionally navigate through or we will run into a large boulder and cause collateral damage.

Equipping ourselves as parents to understand terms surrounding race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, etc. are very important to help empower our children to feel comfortable regardless of the color of their skin or someone else’s.

So, what if the discussion with my daughter had gone like this…

Mom, have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? 

Of course I do sweetheart… everyone does. 

Well at first I didn’t feel like I did here. 

Oh goodness, that is silly honey! Of course you belong here. We love you and went to great lengths to bring you into our family, so don’t ever think that.

A conversation like this would have caused my daughter to feel the impact of hitting a large boulder and she would have been the one to incur the collateral damage.

As parents, we have the intent and innocent hearts to make our children feel loved despite the color of their skin, but the impact that we have can look very different if we don’t navigate the rapids in an educated and intentional manner.

It’s vital we are open to not only seeing skin color but acknowledging and discussing it with our children throughout their life time so that we can empower them to become who God created them to be.

Living as a multiracial family is very near and dear to my heart. It’s an honor to get to share with you at the Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Conference during the breakout session titled: How Should We See Color As A Multiracial Family? I hope to meet you and look forward to journeying down the road of this topic together.

You can view more of my thoughts on adoption and living as a multiracial family on my blog: Smore Stories.

Also Found In: News & Events, Resources for Families, Tapestry Blog

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