Any white mamas adopting African American or bi-racial babies? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2003, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

DH and I adopted our DD from Guatemala over a year ago and are now signed up with an adoption angency to adopt an Afician American or bi-racial infant. We are waiting to be chosen by a birthmom which may or may not happen.

We know without a doubt that this is what God wants us to do. However, I have been amazed by people's reactions when we tell them our plan. The glassy eyed stare is priceless. This is quite a contrast to the joyful reaction we received when we announced our plan to adopt from Guatemala. I might add that we live (although not born and raised here) in middle Georgia.

Has anyone else received similar reactions? It hasn't changed our minds any, but just wondering if we're alone in this or not.

Thanks,
Sandra
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Old 06-16-2003, 02:04 AM
 
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Sandra,

We are considering this, too. Our plan at this stage is to adopt an infant, which would be domestic (and almost certainly Aftrican American or biracial), or possibly toddler -- and who knows of what heritage that child would be. The agency we're working with has a domestic infant program (newborns and very young infants, mostly African American) and a U.S. waiting child program -- but those kids are almost all age sixish and older. My assumption is that the kids in the middle (e.g. toddlers) are in foster care, and may not be legally free for adoption yet. But I don't know. Need to look into this. Thier program for "special needs" kids (they don't actually call it that), including toddlers and older kids, including international and domestic kids -- but the toddler-age kids seem entirely from outside the U.S.

Yeah, the reactions we've gotten about this -- even from our liberal friends -- has been guarded. I could go on and on with theories about this, but I think the ones who are sensitive and have no "issues" with blacks are simply aware that black-white relations in this country are very, very complicated and have a long sordid history, and that becoming an interracial family would present unique challenges. Some are vaguely aware that there are folks in the African American community who do not look fondly on interracial adoption (and this awareness may well be based on having heard of the National Association of Black Social Worker's position that interracial adoption consistutes cultural "genocide" -- that position dates from the early '70s). Some have heard that in domestic adoptions, birth moms are unhealthy/drug users/etc. or have a reputation for changing their minds last minute.

Anyhow, we've certainly been reading up about this, and our position at this stage is basically sober but undaunted. Some of the books I have found most helpful (and affirming) are "Interracial Intimacies" by Randall Kennedy (an amazing book, though very long and a bit academic), "In Their Own Voices" (can't remember author names off the top of my head, but it's a series of interviews with 24 interracial adoptees), and "I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla" by Marguerite A. Wright (a wonderful book about "raising healthy black and biracial children in a race-conscious world," which talks about how kids develop color and racial awareness as they go through various developmental stages). I would strongly recommend all three books!

I've already learned to be very careful about how I broach this topic -- I have a need to talk about it now, and to work through my concerns, but that can come across as misgivings about . . . well . . . having a black child. But that's not really it. It's just a really, really big deal to go from being a happy-go-lucky white liberal, aware of race and racism but in a sort of academic way, to contemplating plopping myself right on the bleeding edge of race relations in the U.S. It is a big deal. Again, at this stage we're sober but undaunted. We know we will love whatever child comes to us, and we would love the opportunity to love a child who -- for whatever reason (mild disability, being a toddler, being black, being whatever color that's not white) -- is at risk of being delayed in finding a "forever" family. All children deserve families! So what if I'm factoring that into my decision? I can't help it!

Good luck to you! PM me if you want!
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Old 06-16-2003, 03:33 PM
 
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Hi! Single adoptive mom of an AA son here!
We live in the midwest and have many friends who have adopted AA and bi-racial children in our small town. Maybe that is why no one seems taken aback about our family. The agency has given many good ideas in regards to sharing culture and I find that many of our AA friends enjoy being "aunts" and "uncles" to DS. We try to make sure that there are AAs represented in his toys, books, etc. Two that stick out are "Prretty Brown Face" and "Happy to be Nappy". DS has been a dream come true. Feel free to e-mail or PM me!
Michele
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Old 06-23-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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Adopting or not adopting our A.A. foster son really
has nothing to do with his race! We have 5 little ones
here at our house (three are foster children; and 2 are grand children). Our two foster sons are both black. We have had all
three foster children all their lives. I am the mommy around here
no matter what the color of the kids! My dh and I are definetly
adoping our foster daughter, and have been talking about also
adopting one of the foster boys. Whenever we talk about it
to people other than family we really can get some reactions!
We've already been raising him for 2 years! Why should color
matter to anyone?! : If someone has a valid reason to
NOT adopt him...let them speak up and say something. Looks don't tell me anything. Our dragging our feet has more to do with
the fact that the little foster daughter is high needs, and the little foster son has high needs, too. We just are questioning if we can handle two high needs kids when both are older. The needs would be the same even if both children were the same race.
We love them both...but we have had the little girl a year longer.
Don't know what to tell you Sandra, but I would say "go with your
heart!". I think after raising three children of our own to adulthood, and being foster parents, too....all children are the same, and their needs are the same. Some just have more needs than others! Gof for it, and hang the looks of people that don't matter anyway!!
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Old 08-02-2003, 04:06 PM
 
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We have talked about adopting a biracial or black child but my dh has many questions about how we would teach him about his heritage and to have pride in his heritage. What heritage would we teach hi about, black from Africa, Carribean, American ghetto? What is black culture in America today? I think he is also concerned about the whole issue of black/white relations. Can a white couple raise a health black child in this culture? We live in a pretty racially diverse part of the country, (just outside New York City). But I'm not sure what would happen if we moved somewhere else.
We have some of the same questions abut raising our Guatemalan son. Do we teach him about Mayan culture, other Indian cultures, Spanish culture. What part of his heritage do we focus on. We have decided to just teach him to love and respect the country of his heritage. We will teach him as much as we can about the diversity of his country. For now, we're just enjoying our little guy. When we feel ready to add to our family, we'll figure out then how we want to do it.
We did get a few questions about why we were adopting at all. But mostly they are from people who can't understand why I would want to adopt at my age.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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Old 08-04-2003, 03:21 AM
 
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We are in the works for adopting an african american/biracial child, and very excited about it. Am I worried about issues coming up? Yes. But then I think about how many children wouldn't be waiting for homes if more people were willing to "risk" the unknown by adopting. And that goes for kids of all races and ages.

For the record - no one has looked at me even halfway strangely when I have talked about it.

All families who are not the norm/mainstream learn a lot about themselves and the world through the experience, good and bad. And mostly, they just get to be a family.

Hi T.Elena - I still want to call you, but this has been a crazy summer. We are doing our weekend thing this coming weekend and the pizza night on the 15th with our son and Oma. Hope to see/meet you there.

L.
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Old 08-04-2003, 11:54 AM
 
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Hi, I'm the adoptive mama to Elliott who is 4.5. He is brown, we are pale. We've recently moved from a very ethnically integrated neighborhood in Chicago with little socio-economic diversity, to a neighborhood in Philadelphia that is diverse both ethnically, and socio-economically. We feel it is a better fit for our boy (and the neighborhood is considerably more secure, which is an added bonus).

Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive. We get the odd look, or question periodically, and once some evil women in a Florida Walmart muttered then N-word (yet another reason not to be in Walmart), but really, most people are charmed and delighted by our sweet boy, and the comments made, while not always welcomed, are usually positive.

Paige,
adoptive mama to darling Elliott
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Old 08-09-2003, 01:17 AM
 
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Hey Paige, what neighborhood in Philly do you live in? I lived there (near Art Museum and in West Philly) years ago; I understand some parts of the city have really cleaned up since the late 80s.

The responses we've gotten have been very positive, with only two exceptions so far. Sometimes we get the combination head-shake followed by the "Well, I really admire you for doing that" (like we're adopting, and adopting transracially to martyr ourselves somehow). I appreciate that these folks are well-meaning, but it rubs me the wrong way nonetheless. What kind of response would that be if a girlfriend told me she was pregnant? Would I shake my head and say "Well, I really admire you for having a baby"? Oh my gosh -- who wouldn't see that as insulting?! So I just try to come back with a quick, nonjudgemental reassurance that we're doing it for selfish reasons; that we think it will bring us a lot of joy and that the potential benefits far outweigh any potential risks.

The only other negative we've gotten really surprised me. My dad, of all people, (he's usually a social liberal) has come out against this. Thinks we're "complicating" our lives unnecessarily. Wonders about the "gene pool." He's worried about "surprises." And he's worried he won't love the adoptive grandchild "the same" as his biological grandchildren. Have to say, I've been shocked by his reaction. I've reassured him that I don't expect any particular emotional response from him, that he should go easy on himself, that we have researched this ad nauseum, and that it is my fervent hope that he won't love *any* of his grandchildren "the same" -- that his relationship with them will be unique to the same extent that all children are unique individuals. I think he will come around on this, but it has been difficult and sad to lose that source of support. *sigh*
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Old 08-09-2003, 01:51 AM
 
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My dh and I have finally made up our minds that we are going to go ahead and adopt our precious little foster son! He is drug exposed and African/American...and so cute! We drug our feet because we were told by other foster parents that we could only adopt one foster child in a years time and we are adopting our
foster daughter. The fact that he is African/American doesn't enter the picture anywhere. We just don't care. Our age is another factor in dragging our feet...we have three grown children and 9 grandchildren! But love has won out, and we are
going to adopt him regardless of anything. I don't care about looks from people who are clueless, I don't care about rewards in Heaven, or crowns or jewels in crowns, or heritage or ANYTHING.
I have been his mommy for 2 1/2 years, and we are all he has ever known. I believe you should let your heart be your guide,
and go with the love you find there.......
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Old 08-10-2003, 03:39 PM
 
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Momeforgirls....that was beautiful!!

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Old 09-02-2003, 01:05 AM
 
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We brought home our 2 African-Carribean children from Haiti just over a month ago. We get a tremendous amount of support from African Americans. We also get a lot of support from our community. We also get some really stupid questions, like, and I am not making this up, "Why are their teeth whiter than white childrens?" and, from the same person, "Are their feet flat because they are from Haiti?" I will say that I am getting annoyed with people constantly staring at us, but other than that, I am not feeling too many effects of being a multi-racial family at this point. I think that might be because we are just so happy to have them home and because we REALLY did our homework.

I think our children right now do not realize how different we are from them because we speak Creole. So...when we do throw in English, they laugh at us, like, "You guys are so silly." My daughter, who is 3, loves to play with my very curly hair. When she styles it, she pretends to braid it. She parts it all over and pretends to braid it. I am hoping that means that she is not comparing and copntrasting our hair ets. We are also really working hard to integrate Haitian culture into our lives...music, food etc. The other day, she was fixated upon a painting we had purchased in Haiti -- I think she really loved seeing it. I guess my point is that I do think it is vitally important to incorporate culture wherever possible...and I think our children appreciate it. Though our daughter gets very shy around other Haitians here who speak Creole to her (maybe wondering if she is going back???), she loves every element of Haitian culture we bring into the home (our son is a bit too young to express how he feels).

Having said all this, we are fortuinate in that we have a definitive culture to go on...that being the culture of grassroots Haiti. So I am thinking that maybe it IS beneficial to choose a particular section of culture to surround yourself with. At the same time, we try and incorporate a lot of African American culture as well...s we will have to let you know how that turns out as the time progresses.

Was this just WAY too much info?

Peace,
Paula
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Old 09-29-2003, 02:10 PM
 
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This is painful for me to write, but thought I would fill you in on what's going on with our adoption of a A/A foster son we had in our home. We were told by different caseworkers that we were on our way to adopting him. Then one day a month ago there was a knock on our door, and when I opened the door there was a woman standing there that I did not know. She showed me her
DHS badge, and I invited her in. She told me she was at our home to give us a five day warning that this boy was being removed from our home to be adopted! I said "but we plan on adopting him, and we were told it was ok". She looked stunned,
and said she would talk to her supervisor and get back with us.
The next day, she came back out, and said "the woman who has the siblings is adopting him, and siblings get first priority over ANYBODY else". I have met this woman, and she is wonderful, so
we are not going to fight this decision. My heart is broken, and we are angry with DHS for not explaining all this to us two years ago. We were led to believe there was a chance for us to have this adorable little boy. This is a case of the right hand never knowing what the left hand is doing.
Just wanted to update anyone who cares! We are however nearly finished with the adoption process of our precious little foster daughter we have had in our home for three years.
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Old 09-29-2003, 11:18 PM
 
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Momeforgirls,

I am SO sorry to know that your sweet little one is leaving your home. I can't imagine all that you are going through. Many hugs to you sweet mama. My heart breaks for all of you.
love,
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Old 09-30-2003, 01:32 AM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear about your foster son, momefor girls.

Let us know how it goes with your foster daughter.

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Old 03-24-2004, 06:15 PM
 
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i am a single woman currently in the adoption process with a wonderful agency in illinois called the cradle. they have a program for african american adoption and i am trying to adopt. they are always looking for families for babies. they keep tellingme that they are in need of families so i hope that soon a birthmom will choose me to adopt. if anyone else is interested in adopting an AA baby let me know. i'd love to chat and give advice about adopting an AA baby.
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Old 03-25-2004, 12:00 AM
 
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Denny,

We did our adoption through the Cradle and they were wonderful!! hey helped us save our adoption actually, as we had started with an unscrupulous international agency.

Good luck and keep us posted. They are wonderful!!

Peace,
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Old 04-05-2004, 02:35 AM
 
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We are a biracial family (I am caucasian, dh is biracial-AA and Irish) and we have 3 bio children. The twins are blonde and blue eyed and the baby is brown haired, brown eyed and tanner than the girls. People frequently think that they have different fathers.

We are considering adoption, and were hoping that our multi racial family might benefit a bi racial child, although we would be thrilled with a child of any race.

My husband grew up extremely well adjusted, raised by his white mother. His parents divorced. He can only remember one or two comments his entire childhood, and they were mostly curiosity type questions.

I have never overheard a negative comment about my interacial marriage or my biracial children. My sister lives in the same area and has 2 biracial children and says that she gets a lot of negative comments. Perhaps I am subconsiously blocking them out.

I always saw my husband not as black or biracial or anything, just as himself, even though his race is undoubtedly a part of him. The same for my children. I would imagine the same happens for adoptive children. You see them just as your
children and they see you as the parents that love them and care for them. Then the people around you see them as you do.

Also, I am frequently caught staring at interracial couples and their children-because I think it is so nice to see. Then I worry that the couple is thinking "Why is that white girl staring at us?".
So at least sometimes, the stares may be coming from a good place!

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Old 04-05-2004, 04:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by 3 little birds
...We are considering adoption, and were hoping that our multi racial family might benefit a bi racial child, although we would be thrilled with a child of any race...
If you've not heard of them, you might want to check out Pact, An Adoption Alliance. It is a wonderful organization. According to their " "Is Adoption for You?" page, families like yours are especially encouraged to consider them:

"We particularly invite individuals of color to experience the joys of adoption. Currently, our greatest need is for families with at least one African American parent..."

Good luck!
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Old 04-08-2004, 02:12 AM
 
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My name is Carrie & I'm mama to 2 adopted kids--Allie (4), and Richard (3). Both of my kids are bi-racial. Allie is black and caucasian and Richard is Asian and caucasian.

We get the most reactions from people (good and bad) about Allie b/c it's more obvious that she looks nothing like us. with Richard it's not nearly as obvious. I've gotten some really idiotic comments from people, usually total strangers, but also a lot of well meaning comments as well. Usually something along the line of, "Where does she get her curly hair?" My response? "From God!" Said with a big smile. That usually gets them. :

My advice to anyone going forward with a biracial or different race adoption is to embrace the differences. We take pride in the fact that we all look so different from one another the same way bio families take pride in the fact that they look the same.

When people make comments, try to take no offense when none is meant. People will unknowingly make hurtful and rude comments and you have to learn which ones are truely ignorant and which are trying to be nasty.

As far as learning about another heritage, well I'll be honest and tell you I'm not terribly concerned with it at present b/c my kids are still so young. We live in a fairly diverse neighborhood in the burbs of Chicago so there will be plenty of time for that down the road. Right now we're just concerned with loving our littles and having a great family life.

Lots of luck to you!!!

Carrie
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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Hi! I am new to this forum, and I realize that this is a really old post, but the subject is very interesting to me, so wanting to see if anyone out their was still talking about transracial family's. We adopted our AA son as an infant in 2000 and also have two bio daughters, born 2003 & 2005. We are very anxious to adopt another AA son, and are looking for a good agency to work with. We live in Wisconsin. We have an agency that we are doing our homestudy with, but are not sure where to go from here. Our last adoption was an independent study that a non-profit organization helped us in our search. They are no longer in operation. I know that lots of kids need homes, and we are excited to provide one, and especially drawn to AA infants or toddlers (considering a young sibling group, the oldest under the age of 5 so we can keep our current oldest the oldest). Can anyone help? God Bless!
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Old 06-18-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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I am a soon to be single mommy to a little one from West Africa.

I have had no problems so far. However, anyone who knows me knows NOT to voice any problems they may have with racial issues around me. I have dated inter-racially. I married inter-racially.

Strangers will stare. It happens. Racism lives and breathes. You learn when to educate, when to remain silent, and when to tell it like it is to rude people.
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Old 06-24-2006, 12:32 AM
 
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Hi,

I am new to this site, but we adopted our AA son almost 10 months ago when he was just 2 days old. We didn't specifically set out for an AA or biracial adoption, but that's where our hearts lead us. His birthmother picked us and we got to develop a great relationship with her before he was born.

We have had very little direct criticism of our choice. Most people know better to say anything. But we do live in the South (AR) and I know it bothers some. Amazingly, we have gotten amazing support from other AAs. I think when they see how much we love and are proud of our son, that they can see how having a loving home is better than the alternatives.

We almost started working with The Cradle because our agency was having trouble finding birthmothers. I don't know about the agency, but they have some terrific classes you can take on-line. One of the best is called "The Conspicuous Family". I recommend that anyone considering or having already adopted an AA or biracial child take the class - it's FREE.

We did a ton of reading about transracial adoption, but the class was one of the best things we did. It helped us see how to build a really integrated support system for us and our son and in areas of life that we may not have considered. All of their classes are extremely interactive and there are tons of resources linked into the online classes.

We are so blessed and so happy and we hope to adopt another AA, biracial, or African son to our family.
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Old 06-26-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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My hubby and I (cc) adopted a biracial baby girl (aa/cc) almost 3 years ago. We started out in a way, way, way open adoption, but had to close it close to the end of the first year. Long story. We live in a very racially charged city, and haven't had major problems, but then I tend not to look too much into 'looks' or stares from other people, because our family is 'different.' When we first told dh's family, they weren't sure what to think. They were still of the mindset of "Where do 'they' fit in society?" Now, they love her unconditionally and are her fiercest protectors. Other than her Mama Bear, of course.
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Old 06-27-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Sandra -

We haven't encountered the same reactions - but maybe that's because we didn't make a big deal about it. We were open to adopting an infant of any race/ethnicity. Our feeling was that the children we are meant to parent will come to us and it's not our place to specify gender and/or race/ethnicity (just our own belief)

We happen to have a new AA baby girl now! (we are CC and have 3 biological children as well)

http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/index.cfm has some great FREE online classes that may be helpful. When we had family members ask things I sent them there. Don't know if they bothered taking them or not.
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Old 07-07-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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Our 3 yr old dd is AA and we are not. [The adoption is almostfinal!!!]

It is a very open adoption. She has been with us informally for much of the last year and a half. She sees her first mom and her half-siblings as well -- usually on average of once every 6 weeks. We have signed a formal "post adoption contact agreement" with her first mom that gives her once a month visitation as well as July 4th as a holiday visit. [The holiday that the mom requested.] So this year, first mama invited us to her aunt's huge family BBQ. The majority of the family just found out about the adoption this week and we were quite nervous to what reactions would be. We had never met anyone before. And yes we were the only white people there. And it was fabulous. Everyone was gracious [amazing considering this bomb was just dropped on them!] though I am certain people had their own opinions about the situation -- they kept them to themselves.

In terms of my family and DH's family. DD has been with us over a year and no one has ever made an issue of race.

And we've been very lucky that random strangers haven't either.

So far, so good.
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