Since our Gotcha Day, many of our friends have asked, “What has been your biggest challenge?” I’m assuming they mean specifically concerning an adopted child, and honestly, the biggest challenge was getting everything we needed, or rather, figuring out what we needed and putting together a registry that we could share with friends and family. Since we’ve got that sorted out, our challenges right now are normal parenting challenges: deciphering cries and figuring out how to lengthen sleeping stretches at night. But we know we’ll face many challenges specific to adoption and specific to transracial adoption when Teddy gets older.
Recently Mike and I participated in a webinar hosted by our adoption agency that addressed some of those challenges. The presenter talked about things I had already read about, such as creating a safe environment for our child to ask questions and educating people who make inappropriate but well-intentioned comments. But the presenter also touched on things I’d never considered, like the need to check the curriculum at potential schools to make sure it honors diversity, verify those schools have a diverse staff so our child will have black role models, and prepare for inevitable encounters with racism. We’re fortunate that we live in a diverse city, have a relatively diverse group of friends, and attend a fairly diverse church service. But we didn’t grow up that way, and we’ll have to be intentional about seeking out that type of environment when we move next.
Last weekend, our pastor spoke about messy miracles. Mary becoming pregnant with the Son of God was a miracle, but it made life a lot more difficult for her and Joseph.
As I listened to our pastor, I thought about Teddy. He certainly is a miracle for us. But he’s definitely going to be a messy one. Parenting him now might be much like parenting a child of the same race as us, (with one particular exception: we use special moisturizers because black skin dries out way faster than white skin), but that will change as he gets older. We know we’re in for some challenging situations as white parents of a black child.
But no one ever said this would be easy. (In fact, much of the parent prep course we took prior to getting Teddy focused on how difficult transracial adoption is.) We’re willing to tackle the challenges as they come our way. This little miracle is worth all the messiness he brings us.