Not the Nanny
“Are you the nanny?”
When we chose to adopt and expand our family, we made the conscious choice not to limit our adoption through race. Don’t mistake that choice as an oversimplification. Great thought has been put into this choice and the ways in which social constructs challenge this decision.
Brutally Honest Moment
In the beginning, I was afraid of how people would react and what I would say in return. My own lived experiences limited me in the ways I could prepare to be part of a transracial family. I’m not convinced anything could have truly educated me for the experiences and interactions that have come in the last 18 months.
I tend to be a momma bear and respond protectively. I have taught myself in each of these moments to ask God for wisdom in my response. This may sound contrived, but I want to respond through his love and not my anger. This is a moment of education for myself and others. So, everytime someone asks me if I am her nanny I respond proudly, “Nope, I’m her mommy”.
Loving Across Race Lines
The choice to give our amazing baby her home involved more consideration than only the difference in our skin colors. During the training phase of our adoption, I learned that African American mommas aren’t always able to place their children for adoption because there are not enough adoptive parents for these kiddos. For a brave momma to include adoption in her birth plan and then be turned away continues to shatter my heart.
While others don’t know the depth of our story, the automatic assumption that I must not be her mother because of our different skin color is frustrating. As she grows older, I am deeply concerned about how we are going to navigate this and protect her to the extent we are able. I want our family to be a statement for change.
I love to hear children passing by asking their parents why my daughter doesn’t match us, and the responses from parents. It’s always a moment of reflection for me and teaching for those parents. Multiracial families of all kinds defy deeply embedded assumptions we hold onto as a society about race and group belonging. Loving across race lines has a history of defying expectations. And I am proud to be a part of that.
I don’t say “skin color doesn’t matter” because it does. It is a part of what makes us individuals. And it is amazing! There is no reason to be afraid of talking about it, especially in a positive light. Trying to discount the color of someone’s skin dilutes a portion of what makes them who they are. I will always teach both of my daughters to value and be proud of their skin color, to not judge others by theirs, and to acknowledge all that comes with that.
So the next time you see a transracial family, pause before you make assumptions. And when your kids ask questions? Be honest. Acknowledge race, explain that skin color is an important element of identity and history, but also acknowledge that love doesn’t know those boundaries.