Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sticking My Hand in the Tip Jar

I'm a big Seinfeld fan. I love the show and the antics of the characters crack me up. George Costanza is Jerry Seinfeld's bumbling friend. George doesn't always make the wisest decisions, but he is somewhat lovable anyway. One episode, George is at one of his favorite cafes picking up a calzone. On the counter by the cash register, there is a large tip jar. Every time George goes into the cafe he drops a few bucks into the tip jar. The problem is each time George drops in the cash, the guy behind the counter has his head turned and doesn't see George dropping in the money, leaving George feeling disgruntled because he wants credit for the tip. It isn't good enough for George that he did the right thing and dropped the money into the jar if no one witnesses it. On one of George's visits to the cafe, he drops in a nice tip, and of course the guy behind the counter doesn't see it. George wants a do-over, so he reaches into the jar, pulls out the money he had just put in, in hopes of dropping the same tip in a second time and having the cashier witness his act of kindness. The only problem was that the man behind the counter caught George with his hand in the tip jar, thought he was stealing, and proceeded to kick George permanently out of the cafe.

That is kind of how I felt tonight. I wanted to stick my hand back in the tip jar so I could get a do over...minus getting kicked out of the restaurant. Since our town isn't very diverse, I have to go looking for diversity. I decided this week I was going to take the kids to a fantastic restaurant in town that is famous for their Memphis style hot wings. My son calls their hot wings a "celebration on a bone." Even better, the restaurant is owned and operated by an African-American family. I've never been in this restaurant when there wasn't a crowd. The husband is usually in the back cooking, his wife is usually at the cash register, and their kids are serving and bussing tables. Bring on the diversity, baby!

Keep in mind...I'm there for dinner, but I'm also there because I want to make our lives a little more diverse.

Well, we got there and the husband was behind the counter. It would have been nice if the wife were behind the counter, because she interacts and banters with my daughter, but that's okay. As food starts to come out, the restaurant owner's daughter is delivering food to every table but ours. We are waiting patiently. All of a sudden, I see this man...a white man...headed our way with a tray full of food. The white man sets the food on our table and walks off. Seriously?! I have never seen a white person working in this restaurant...ever! And when I am there for the purpose of diversifying our lives I get a white man! No offense white man, but that wasn't really what I was hoping for.

If I hadn't been so completely stuffed I would have pulled a "Costanza," drug the kids back up to the counter, reordered, and sat at a different table in hopes of getting a new server. I wanted a do over! I know it is the thought that counts, so maybe I should just add points to my mama scorecard for taking my daughter to a somewhat diverse restaurant, but I somehow don't feel like I get credit for the "tip" if I didn't get my full dose of diversity.

I guess I could have wait...demanded my food be delivered by a black person. But that might have led to my permanent expulsion from our one diverse restaurant. Not that I would have blamed them for kicking out a crazed woman demanding a black waitress. However being somewhat prudent (and sane), I chose  to pack up our leftovers and pledged to return another day. By the way...I left a nice tip!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Soul Food = Yummy Goodness!

For a while, I've been planning on preparing a soul food dinner for my family so my daughter could try some food from her culture. Well the soul food night has happened!

Although I do enjoy starches, carbs, sugars, and grease. I am much more of a baked fish, brown rice, and salad with a little balsamic vinegar kind of a girl. I consider myself to be a pretty good cook, but I typically don't cook fried foods, collard greens, or grits. Since I was cooking a little bit out of my element and I was planning on preparing a lot of food, I recruited the help of my cousin, my cousin's daughter, my mom, my aunt, and my oldest daughter.

We cooked for hours. The kitchen was a disaster. The countertops were covered in flour, batter, and grease. The floors matched the mess of the countertops...times 10. However, the smells of cobbler, cornbread, and chicken frying made me completely overlook the mess, carbs, and calories we had before us. The six of us crowded into my kitchen as we cooked, listened to Motown, debated the best way to tackle a recipe, taste-tested, talked, and laughed.

When dinner was complete our families crowded around the long dining table, It was a beautiful sight to behold...fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, grits, collard greens, cornbread, sweet potatoes, egg pie, and fresh peach cobbler.

Throughout the day, I talked to my youngest daughter about soul food. Even though she wasn't completely sure what soul food was or why we were having it, she was very pleased at the prospect of having "chicken on the bone." 

The meal was a huge success in many ways. We had the old favorites like fried chicken and cornbread, but some new things thrown into the mix like the collards and grits. We all tried a little bit of everything even those things that were a little sketchy...still not sure I like the egg pie. My cousin's face when she tried the collard greens told me she probably wouldn’t cook those again!

But the best part of all was the togetherness, the joy of having all of us the kitchen, trying new recipes, laughing, sharing stories, and as my cousin said making our soul food together was a great way to "make memories."

Before we dug into the food, my youngest daughter, that led us to this path of discovery, said the prayer..."Thank you for our soul food," which for me...said it all!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dominicans Are Adding to My Confusion!

I have been struggling with these zombie-like dark circles lately, so I decided to get a makeover. I went into a large department store (not in my town) and the makeup artist assigned to help conceal these circles was named, Yvonne. Through conversation, I learned that Yvonne was half African-American and half Filipino. We talked about all kinds of things as I sat there...what I was doing wrong with my makeup (ugh!), our kids, and adoption. 

As I was finishing up, Yvonne's co-worker, Tamara, reported to work. Tamara appeared to be a very light skinned, African-American woman. Come to find out, she was Dominican. As she walked around the counter, I caught a glimpse of her hair. Beautiful!! Exactly how I would like my daughter's hair to look. She wore her hair down and curly. It wasn't an Afro, more like borderline ringlets. I guess this wasn't a typical hairstyle for her because her coworkers were going on and on about how much they liked her hair curly.

At the sight of Tamara, I said..."I love your hair! My adopted daughter is African-American, how do I get her hair to look like yours?!" Well, that started an entire conversation about what type of hair my daughter has, how to get it looking like Tamara's, hair products, cultural differences in styles...I guess Dominican's don't wear braids...and more! By this time, Yvonne had entered the hair discussion, too.

Both women were in agreement; I must find a Dominican hair salon for my daughter. That was the best thing for her. "Dominican's are the best!"

Hummm....that puts a whole new twist on things...could my daughter possibly wear her hair down and curly? Could the Dominicans teach me a thing or two about hair products? What makes Dominicans the experts on Black hair care? And most importantly....Where are on earth can I find a Dominican hair salon?

I began researching Dominican hair salons as soon as I got home. Come to find out, there are no Dominican Salons within 300 miles of me. Not a complete surprise. But I also learned, Dominican hair salons are considered good because they are cheaper than the traditional African-American salons. Because of the Dominican's style techniques, a style lasts longer, and the Dominicans use a blow out method that involves a "round brush." The brush makes all of the difference! Supposedly after a good "blow out," the hair is bouncy and blows in the wind!

Well I supposed I won't be driving to a Dominican hair salon anytime soon. However, the ladies at the makeup counter did give me a list of hair products I should try, so I will start there. Even though my investigating did not lead to a Dominican hair salon, I did get Yvonne's number if I should have any hair questions, some hair advice which is always appreciated, and I look a little less zombie-like now that my circles are nicely covered!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's a Chit'lin?

I think the combination of being awake at midnight and being hungry has made me start contemplating soul food. I know soul food is traditional, African-American southern food. I'm just not sure what that food consists of exactly. A few years ago our family went to a picnic sponsored by a black church we had been attending. It was one of those yummy carry-ins, where everyone brings their favorite dish and plates are piled so high the food is almost dripping off the sides of the plate.  I was helping my son (very anti-vegetable) through the line when we came upon a green food that looked quite a bit like cooked spinach. I said to my son, "You won't like that, buddy. That is cooked spinach." I later learned it wasn't spinach, but collard greens. How was I to know? I've never had collard greens. I don't even know where one would go about buying a collard green. I'm guessing there was someone from the African-American church shaking their head at me thinking...How could she not know what a collard green is?

In the book, Growing Up Black in White, Kevin D. Hofmann speaks of his childhood being raised in an all white family. He talks about being in high school and introduced to soul food for the first time. His black friends took pity upon him because he had grown up with white people and decided to show him the black foods he'd been missing out on. It occurred to me, what better way to connect my daughter to her heritage than food? I like to cook and I like to eat! So it seems like soul food and I are a great combination.

I'm kind of a cooking nerd. I don't watch many cooking shows, but I do like to read cookbooks cover to cover. So researching soul food isn't that big of a stretch for me. Here is what I've discovered so far.

Chit’lin is short for chitterling, and it is stewed pig intestine. I'm up for trying new things, but we will not be serving chit'lins at our house. Collard greens are in the broccoli and cabbage family. To me, it looks a lot like a big spinach leaf when it is uncooked. 

Originally soul food or southern African-American food consisted of turnips, collards, pokeweeds, pig's feet, oxtail, ham hocks, chit'lins, and wild game (raccoon, squirrel, opossum, turtle, and rabbit). Traditionally, this food is high in starch, sodium, cholesterol, and calories.  These qualities were necessary for sustaining the grueling life of slavery.

Common twenty-first century dishes include: fried chicken, biscuits, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, grits, and okra.

I plan on tackling some new soul food recipes this weekend. I will report back on how it went. Anyone want to come over for lunch on Sunday?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Those of you have been reading my blog, know I am on a quest to connect my daughter to her culture and her heritage. During the summer I take the kids to the pool...the pool that has only white considering I'm on a quest to connect my daughter to her race, I do feel a little bad that 99% of the time, she is the only minority there.

It is interesting, because every time we go to the pool she is drawn to the same woman. She is so obsessed with this woman that I have enacted a new rule. If your "friend" is not sitting in the pool, you may not talk to her. When the woman ventures off of her chair and into the water, my daughter splashes over to the edge of the gradual entry pool, sits down, crosses her little legs at the ankles, and visits with the woman. After several days of this, I went up to the woman and said, "I'm so sorry if my daughter is bugging you, for some reason she is really drawn to you." The woman assured me that my daughter wasn't being a problem. The woman, who is Caucasian, but extremely brown noted that maybe my daughter is drawn to her because they both have such brown skin. I thought this was very interesting and probably quite true. My daughter is looking out for someone that looks like her…she is searching.

Today at the pool...yes we are there quite a bit, but it is 101 degrees in the shade and there is nothing left to daughter found a little girl to play with that looked to be just her age. This little girl and my daughter not only had their age in common, but also they were both adopted, and they were both minorities. The little girl was Asian. There were lots of little girls at the pool, little white girls, but only one other adopted, minority girl and that is the one my daughter decided to play with. I wondered if at the tender age of four, somehow she knew this little girl was more similar to her than all of the other little girls. Did she realize they were both minorities or was it just a coincidence? I don't know. But it does seem as if she has begun the search of finding who she is in this world and how she fits into it.

Since the beginning of my blogging journey, I've considered this to be something I'm doing all by myself. I am wanting to connect my daughter to her heritage. I am looking for answers. I am on a quest. I am searching. Maybe...just maybe...I am not alone. It seems as if she has all ready begun her own journey of discovery, I need to travel this road with her. We will have much more fun together!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God Odds

I recently finished the book, Growing up Black in White, by Kevin D. Hofmann. He is a bi-racial man that was adopted into a white family as an infant in the late 60's in Detroit. In the book, Hofmann addresses racial tensions in the community, the loving support of his white family, and his desire to "define and embrace" his own identity. I really enjoyed his book, and it gave me an inside view into the mind of someone being black, growing up in a white family.

One thing in the book I thought he said beautifully was that it is his belief that each adoptee is "divinely matched and placed with their adoptive family." I believe this to be true! He went on to say the union between himself and his adoptive parents were "God odds; odds only God could overcome."

When we got the call that we had been matched with a healthy, 3-month-old baby girl, it was incredibly hard to believe, because we had been waiting years.  We were to pick her up in just a few days. Word began to spread we were getting a baby and gifts began to pour in. We were excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. It was quite the emotional roller coaster to say the least. On the day before we were to pick her up, I was trying to get some work done before my maternity leave. Out of nowhere, completely blindsided, our agency called to let us know that the baby's birth father had decided to raise his daughter. We’d waited for years, never been matched, and then we get our dreams squished just like that! Ugh!

Words can’t really express the sorrow. I’ve never had a child die...thank heavens...but I can imagine it would feel something like the moment when I was told the birthfather was raising his daughter. I was devastated.

Well, we mourned her loss, returned the gifts, and moved on. What else can you do? Three months later, the agency called again. They had another match for us. This one was a little different. This baby was also a girl, she was also black, but a major difference was that this baby wasn’t healthy. She was born 3 months premature, weighed less than 3 pounds, wore a heart monitor, had acid reflux (which included formula shooting out her nose like a horror film), had potential for delays, and retinopathy  (a potentially blinding condition often seen in preemies). Yikes! We were very torn…not only did this baby have health issues, but also her birth parents' rights weren’t terminated yet…so there was the whole legal risk issue again. We just weren’t sure if we should take that leap of faith or not.

The agency was giving us a week to think about it. In that week, I was really on the fence. What to do? What to do? Then I began putting pieces together…a light bulb came on over my head…I grabbed a calendar…I realized three months earlier on the day we lost the first baby was the very day this new baby was born! The SAME day, I thought our hopes were squished, was the day God was making a way for our new baby!! At that moment, I began to weep because I knew this new baby was meant to be ours. She was "divinely matched" and placed into our family. Those odds...were God odds!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Speaking of...

I have just been invited to speak at a Catholic Charities training event. I will be speaking about the ins and outs of transracial adoption. It has been a while since I have spoken to a crowd of people that are not in elementary school, so I am a little nervous. However, I am very excited about teaching people about what I've learned about raising a child of a different race and the joys and challenges that go along with it.

As I begin to prepare my presentation, I was wondering...what questions would you want answered if you were thinking about adopting a child of a different race? Let me know.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hair I Come!

I have finally done it! I have taken the leap into black hair care that I have wanted to take for quite some time. I ordered hair snaps for my daughter's braids. For those of you not familiar with this hair bling accessory, it is somewhere between a bead and a barrette. You just snap it on at the end of the braid and wall-ah! You have a braid that doesn't unravel and a little girl that is happy because she makes all kinds of noise when her snaps are bumping together!

The snaps came in the mail today, so we immediately ripped open the package and found a large assortment of flower shaped, colorful snaps. Red, blue, yellow, pink, white, name it. She immediately said, "put them in, put them in!"

So I began the process of putting one snap onto the end of each braid...all 60 of them. That is a lot of bling! Once we had them in she immediately began swinging her hair around, the hair snaps making a happy noise as they clinked together. To add to the party, my daughter began skipping and singing her own made up song about hair in her very big, four year old voice. "I love my Afro hair, I love my Afro hair." 

I want her to be proud of her "Afro hair." So that skipping, singing, snaps a-clicking girl, makes this one happy mama!

I am including on of our favorite hair videos: 

I Love My Hair, by Sesame Street

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are You My Mother?

My daughter's birth mother chose a closed adoption. I don't know what her reasoning was, but that was her request. In some ways, an open adoption would have been nice. I would have had a chance to see what she looked like, ask her some family history, or find out if she had any other children.

Typically in a closed adoption the adoptive parents have no idea who the birth mother is. You get some general information about her like...age, race, height, weight, marital status, level of education, and medical history. You never...well almost never...get her name or a photo.

By complete accident...I know her name. I've known her name for a while.

I find myself looking for her online. I don't spend hours doing this, but on the rare occasion I will type her name into Google. It just so happened; today I decided to look on Facebook. I've looked on Facebook before, but not for a very long time. 

Today...I think I may have found her. 

The little bit of information I know about her, matches what I saw today on Facebook. When I found her, it was a little bit of a cross between exhilaration and disbelief. I have to tell you, I also felt just a wee bit criminal. In my defense, I really didn't expect to find her and she did not have her Facebook blocked. It was if the stars somehow aligned in my favor...the name was accidently given to me years ago and she didn't block her Facebook account.

The woman in the Facebook photos smiling back at me was very young, and quite beautiful. It was strange looking in her face...looking for some sort of resemblance of my daughter...wondering if she ever thinks about the baby she gave up for adoption. 

You may be wondering...Ok, now what are you going to do with this information? Nothing. I am not going to do anything with it. I really just wanted to see what she looks like. I wanted to know if she was ok. I wanted to know if she had any other children. 

One day, my daughter will ask me questions. "Mama, who do I look like?" "Mama, do I have any brothers or sisters?" "Mama, why did my birth mother give me away?" As a parent, I would like to be able to answer those questions for her. Obviously, knowing just her name and seeing her photo doesn't help me answer all of those questions, but it is a start. 

I have no plans to pass this information on to my daughter anytime soon. In fact, I won't even mention it to her unless she asks me. For now, I am satisfied in knowing that I have a small piece of the puzzle tucked away for the time my daughter is ready put the pieces together.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Elephant Doctor

My daughter was born into generational poverty. It is important to me that she breaks that cycle of poverty that her birth family has struggled with for so long. In Bill Cosby's book, Come on, People, he mentions a study, which in a nutshell says, parents who asked their children, "What kind of doctor do you want to be?" were more likely to raise children who became doctors (PhD and medical) than those parents who just say, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Hmmm....interesting...

So I ask my daughter on a regular basis that very question. 

Today's conversation, "What kind of doctor do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I don't know. Can I have a snack?"

"Just tell me first, what kind of doctor do you want to be when you grow up?"

"An elephant doctor."

"Really? Do you mean you want to help sick elephants?" In the back of my mind I was thinking she could have been considering being an elephant that was a doctor. Just last week, she wanted to be a "princess doctor." Not a doctor that takes care of princesses, but a princess that happened to be a doctor. Anyway, I digress...

"Yes, I want to take care of sick elephants."

"How are you going to help the elephants?"

"Feed them water, bananas, and nuts."

"Where are you going to live when you grow up?"

"The North Pole!"

Ok...Probably not a high demand for elephant doctors at the North Pole, but you never know! At least I am getting the idea of higher education into her head and she is goal setting. Right? I know in time she will discover a goal and purpose that will fulfill her and bring her joy...even if she isn't a doctor and even if she isn't taking care of elephants at the North Pole!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Is that man from Africa?

I'm always looking for opportunities to take my daughter to African-American events that embrace her culture. Not long ago, the African Children's Choir was in town and I thought that would be great learning experience for her. On the night of the event, I wanted to make sure I picked a seat up front so she could get a good view of the action. The Ugandan children, mostly aged 7-11, came dancing and singing down the aisle wearing their traditional African clothing. My daughter was literally dancing in the aisle! She loved it!

In moments such as these, I like to point out to her how her skin looks like their skin...brown and beautiful. This particular night, I was also telling her how these children are from a continent far, far away called Africa.  She was so engrossed in the music and dancing I really didn't think she heard me. She is only four and doesn't always pay attention to me when I talk.

A few days later, we were at the mall. There was a black man walking toward us and as she points at him she says very loudly, "Is that man from Africa?"

"Shhh and don't point," I say.

"Well he has brown skin."

"You are right sweetie, he does have brown skin, but I don't think he is from Africa. I think he lives in our town. His ancestors are from Africa"

She stopped the questioning and I could tell she was mulling something around in her brain. Perhaps trying to process why some people with brown skin are from Africa and some people with brown skin are from her hometown or quite possibly why her mother would use a big word like "ancestor" with a girl of only four.

A few minutes later, another black man passes...can you guess?

"Is that man from Africa?"

Ugh! At least I know she was listening! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raising a Strong Black Woman?

When my oldest, and somewhat sheltered,  child was in 4th grade, she came home from school a little frustrated because someone at school had said the "F word." Actually, she hadn't heard the word, but someone told someone that so and so said the "F word." So she sat at the table and told us the story about the kids at school talking about the kid who said the "F word." In an exasperated tone, and hands waving, she said, "kids at school keep saying that someone said the "F word" and I don't even know what that means...Funny? Fabulous? Fantastic? What? What does it mean?"

I hear the label "strong black woman" all of the time. I feel a little like my oldest daughter in that I don't know exactly what that means but I hear that label being dropped frequently.  I think I want to raise my daughter to be a strong, black woman. I think...but since I don't know what the label means, I decided to do some investigating.

First, I decided to look up the word "strong" in the dictionary. Of course, it means the typical "having strength," but I wanted to see what else that word had to offer. Other definitions included: powerful in influence, competent, and having courage. All of those definitions set well with me. I can handle it if my daughter is influential, competent, and courageous!

However, I still wasn't sure what it actually means to be a strong black woman. I found a Facebook page called "Beyond Black & White" by Christyelyn D. Karazin. I read several of her blogs and decided I would pose the question to her: How do I raise my daughter to be a strong black woman when I don't know what that means? I found her answer to be both informative and interesting. Christyelyn basically said that she doesn't believe in the label "strong black woman." She went on to say that she has three daughters, and she is not raising them to be "strong black women." She is raising them to be WOMEN, educated, refined, and with high expectations in what they want out of life and out of a partner.

Wow! That sounds like a big task, doesn't it? But you know, there was a great sense of relief there for me because, even though that task is monumental, I can do that! Forget about the label. Forget about being exasperated because others are saying so and so told so and so that I should be raising a strong black woman. I just need to raise my daughter to the best of my ability and teach her along the way to be a WOMAN...educated, refined, and with amazingly high expectations!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's OK if She Screams!

One time we were in Kansas City on a short trip. At the time, my daughter was only about 6 months old and her hair was short and fairly straight.  There was a black woman that was working in a department store that stopped us and asked us a few questions like, "How old is she?" And "Where is she adopted from?" After we left the store, she came running out. She was hollering, "Wait! Wait!" I couldn't imagine why on earth she would be running out of the store...while at flag us down.  We stopped, a little apprehensively. She ran up to us clearly out of breath, and said, "I just want to tell you that white people that adopt black girls don't always comb their hair out very well and it gets ratty. You need to really comb her hair out, even if she screams. It is the best thing and eventually, she will get used to it."

So began my journey into black hair.

My hair is straight as a string. I've never had a curl on my head that wasn't put there by a curling iron, blow dryer, or hot roller. I have always wanted naturally curly hair, but that just wasn't in the cards for me. Since I have no knowledge of what it is like to have curly hair and I have no experience with African American hair, bringing our little, black baby home was an eye opening experience.

I can't really compare my daughter's hair to any other black person, since I have no experience with Afro-American hair. But I can tell you that her hair is the curliest, thickest, hardest to comb, hair I have ever seen. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not complaining. I love her hair. Her hair is soft as cotton and when it is down I could just touch it all day. I love her hair in her afro-puffs (little pony tails), braids, corn rows, or just in an afro. It is beautiful.

Today it is time to wash and braid my daughter's hair. It is a day I both dread and love. The challenge of having a toddler sit for hours while I remove the braids, wash her hair, and then re-braid is a pain. It is time consuming and makes both of us slightly irritable. On the other hand, it is a wonderful because we spend hours of quality time together, talking, singing, and watching our favorite Disney movies.

Since black hair is very different from white hair, I have had to learn a lot of new things. For example, black hair is very dry, does not have to be washed daily, and breaks off easily. Unfortunately, I have first hand experience at how easily black hair can break off. I can't really explain the trauma it causes in a mother when you realize the cute hairdo you put in your daughter's hair, the one with all of the little plastic hairbands, begins to break off at the root. The root! All of the hair, at the root, around the perimeter of her head...gone! Did I say, at the root!!! It was like something out of a horror movie. I actually thought about suing the company because there was no disclaimer on the package  that said, "WARNING! This will cause your daughter's hair to break off at the root!" Needless to say, I have not used that hair do again and hair moisturizer is my friend.

To learn how to work with her hair, I watch videos on YouTube and talk to lots of black women. I have been known to stop strangers on the street for the sole purpose of discussing black hair. "Excuse me ma'am, sorry to bother you, but I have adopted an African-American girl and I was wondering if you could tell be about how you got your hair to do that?" or "Excuse me, but what hair cream do you use?" or "Excuse me, but does your daughter mind sleeping in all of those beads?" I don't know if these women appreciate my curiosity or just pity me, but they always oblige and answer all of my questions.

When I am combing out my daughter's hair and she is screaming, I tell her about the kind woman in Kansas City who told me how important it was to have her hair combed out. She doesn't seem to appreciate my story of the sweet women, but maybe, one day, after the screams fade and she is grown, she will.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm Not Brown, I'm Peach

"I'm not brown, I'm peach!" Those are the words said to me, a "peach" mother, by my chocolate brown, 4-year-old daughter. The words came as a surprise, because I have spent the last 4 years telling her all about her tummy mom and how she has brown skin, too. I've praised the beauty of her skin, taken her to African-American cultural events, read her books about children of color, just to name a few. How could she not realize or forget that she is chocolate brown?

Not only did she seem to think she was peach, but she also acted completely surprised and astonished by the revelation that she was chocolate. She actually examined her hand very carefully just to make sure I was telling her the truth. It broke my heart. 

I was heartbroken because I want her to embrace her race. I want to her to be comfortable in her skin and be proud of who she is. I want her to know she is as good as, if not better, than everyone else no matter the color of her skin. The part that is actually the saddest to me is that as a white mother raising a black child in a home full of white people, I feel that I've failed her in some way. 

That leads me to this blog. This blog will be documenting my quest to help my daughter find her inner black girl. I'm not sure where this journey will take me and it could be years before I know if I have reached my quest. Let the journey begin!