First of all I would like to say that these opinions are my own and should not in any way affect your own personal decision in your potential adoption process. (Just in case anyone reading this is thinking about adopting). However it is something to read and something to think about.
This has been an ongoing question in my head as an adopted adult, but the truth is I still can’t come up with a definite yes or no. I think there are definitely pros and cons either way.
OK so let’s talk about the obvious.
There are lots of babies out there who are in need of a loving family. That is true. There are also lots of people out there who can’t have babies of their own and are desperate to adopt, and love them as if they were their own. Also true. But my question is this. Can you ever really love a child that’s not your biological child, the same way in which you would love your own?
You may think it’s easy to do, after all you may be so desperate to start a family, that you are blinded by this concept.
Now you may decide that you won’t even tell the child they are adopted. This would stop them feeling any different, and the child might never feel any reason to believe they are not loved as much as the other children. (Supposing there are other children and supposing this is even possible) . But there are risks to this, supposing your child needs medical attention in the future, this could potentially cause catastrophic effects.
However if you decide to adopt outside of your Race, you are automatically making that child ‘different‘.
If you look nothing like your parents and you can clearly see you are a different colour, there is no getting away from the fact that you were ‘neglected‘ and have been taken in by a family you have no resemblance too.
What is the impact of that?
Well I will tell you my story (just a snippet)
I am mixed race born in Nigeria, and was adopted by white parents. I always knew I was adopted. I don’t remember a time when we had ‘that talk’. I was 10 months old when I was adopted so I guess my parents just reinforced it, when I asked why they weren’t the same colour as me.
I suffered racial abuse a lot as a child, I lived in a predominately white areas. In fact trying to find anyone of colour was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Literally. I was constantly being called names. Nigger, Paki, Monkey, all the usual shit, which lead me to have a huge complex about who I was.
I grew up not liking myself. I wanted to be white like the girls in my class. I wanted straight hair, instead I had frizzy curls. I wanted to be slim instead I had big hips and a curviness about me. I wanted thinner lips? I know right as if? The money people pay to have these lips. If only I knew aye! Anyway u get my drift. I didn’t like me.
I would just like to add that as an adult I have learned to love my complexion, my hair and my curves, and it still saddens me to think that I let anybody make me feel any different.
Now on top of all of this I couldn’t relate to my parents in any way. We were completely different in so many ways ,not just physically. I felt like the black sheep of the family…quite literally.
I wanted to learn about where I came from but I had to learn from Television programmes and Media Platforms, which as we all know are not the most reliable source! This upset me. I wanted something or someone I could relate too and I didn’t have that.
I would spend hours in my room, fantasising about the day I would be reunited with my real mother so I could feel like I belonged. She would tell me all about our country and where we came from, she would tell me about our history (our real history, not what they tell us in schools). I made up stories in my head about where I was from, who my birth family were, what they looked like.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a good upbringing. Mum did everything she was supposed to do as a mother. Clothed me, fed me, bathed me, gave me an education, all the usual stuff a parent is supposed to do, but there was definitely something missing.
The racism continued for many years, phone calls back and forth from school would happen on a regular basis. My parents would also receive verbal abuse ‘ nigger loving bastards’ was the one that sticks in my head. I must say though, my father was amazing. He never made me feel unwanted or different in any way. He didn’t mind having to go up to the school ,and sort everyone out for me all the time. And if he did he certainly didn’t show it. But again there’s only so much a man can do when raising a daughter, and that is why a female figure who you can relate too is so important.
I could literally go on forever but I guess my point is this. If people want to adopt outside of their race, they certainly should not be stopped. But when you take on that responsibility you also take on the responsibility of making that child feel at home in all sense of the word.
Teach them about where they come from. Read them books, let them learn about their history/culture. Let them be themselves and don’t try to make them something they are not. There are some things that are inside of us. Our genetics our DNA. You can’t bash that out of a child and you shouldn’t want too.
If you’re adopting a child and you live in an area where that child’s race is non-existent, maybe you need to consider relocating. Take an interest in what your child takes an interest in. Learn about the culture they come from, take the best bits and incorporate them into your lifestyle.
NEVER make them feel they owe you, or that they should be grateful. They didn’t ask to be neglected or adopted….remember that. Appreciate their differences and let them be themselves. Most importantly love them like you would your own, after all that’s all a child really wants. You just have to love them a little harder, when they have faced neglect from the beginning.
I hope this makes sense, it’s such a sensitive topic and something I could talk a lot more in-depth about but I have narrowed it down the best I can.
Please feel free to leave comments and opinions. It would be nice to hear what others feel about this topic.