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My brother in law and sister in law have adopted a beautiful little biracial girl. Right now they are head over heels in love with her as any two sleep deprived people can be.

However, I know they haven't given to other aspects of raising an adopted, biracial child. Does anyone know of any good books out there that could cover some aspects of heritage and culture? Any children's books for biracial kids? Basic hair care, should her hair become curlier once the little baby fuzz is gone? Any advice?

For now, her legacy is as much as any child could hope for: two parents who love each other and love her unconditionally. Eventually there will be other things, but she's got a mighty good start.

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
Original Post
Wow, this is going to be a real challenge for your brother and sister! I hope that they are mentally ready for the future challenges and issues that might arise. This really hits close to home for me herdswoman. I'll get into that further down in the post.
The number one thing they need to look at is their attitude towards African-americans and join a support group of friends and family. The child should to be constantly exposed to other bi-racial children and African-american children as well as children of all other races. If this was a adoption from state run foster care, they should be recieving parental counseling for free. If not I still suggest that they look into getting some sort of parental counseling from the state.
I don't know of any books that cater to the bi-racial of any race. An ample amount of children's books that I do see of African-americans do depict fair skinned children. So it's just a matter of picking out the right ones.
The reason that I'm so adamant about your family members getting counseling is that a close relative of mine had a similar situation, but they were the biological parent and the child decided to find out who they were. The adoptive parents always thought that the child they adopted was hispanic because the biological mother and grandparents kept that information secret. Once they biological parents were found and the child was known to be bi-racial, the liberal adoptive parents were not pleased because of the race of one parents. Because of their attitudes, it has been very stressful for my cousin to try to adjust to her new situation with her adoptive family and biological families. So I suggest quite a bit of counseling and get some things out in the open now and at least try to deal with them as much as possible.
I hope that it works out for them.
Thank you for answering!

quote:
Originally posted by Yssys:
So it's just a matter of picking out the right ones.


Do you know of any specific titles/authors? We were always a Dr. Seuss family ourselves.

quote:
The reason that I'm so adamant about your family members getting counseling is that a close relative of mine had a similar situation, but they were the biological parent and the child decided to find out who they were. The adoptive parents always thought that the child they adopted was hispanic because the biological mother and grandparents kept that information secret. Once they biological parents were found and the child was known to be bi-racial, the liberal adoptive parents were not pleased because of the race of one parents. Because of their attitudes, it has been very stressful for my cousin to try to adjust to her new situation with her adoptive family and biological families.


OUCH!!!!

quote:
So I suggest quite a bit of counseling and get some things out in the open now and at least try to deal with them as much as possible.
I hope that it works out for them.


I think they're off to a great start. They have been very open with the birth mom (white) and met the birth father (black), both of whom are fairly uninvolved in the children they create. This is the third one to be given up for adoption, there were a couple abortions in the mom's life and mom also has 2 kids, one by this birth father. Our new niece was born with a trace of cocaine in her system, but praise God no withdrawl or signs of addiction and she is now over a week old. My sister in law is determined not to keep secrets from this child. She will know that her mom was white, her dad was black and that she went to a home where she could be loved and cared for because her birth mom didn't want her to be aborted. My sister in law and brother in law were even in the delivery room when she was born, and my sister in law cut the cord. They have a picture that thay can show their daughter so she will know what her birthmom looked like - there was no picture from the birthdad, nor was he ever present at the hospital.

Our family strongly supports this little one and this is not exactly a new experience for us. We also have a brother in law who is black and was custodial parent of his 4 sons who my husband's sister raised after they married. I remember well the family reunion where we met him for the first time. We knew he had kids, but Sis never mentioned that he was black. Helllloooooooo Dolly! Any rate, once over the initial surprise, the first thing I noticed was that these boys, (ages 4-8 back then) were polite, dressed in clean, nice clothes and well mannered. We went for a walk around the park in the small (white) Ohio town where we were then, and I noticed some stares ranging from curious to downright hostile. I didn't know I could feel so protective so fast - I wasn't a mom yet. That little man only 4 years old just went straight into my heart along with his brothers. They've been there ever since. That young man is now 6'5" and handsome as the day is long.

I think the idea of a parental support group led by a counselor is an excellent one. I have other concerns for this child as she will go to a rural, predominantly white school but that is a long way off. Gives the adults time to adjust to their new lives, read up and put down some strong roots to hold this child for when the mean winds blow.

Again, thank you all for any advice.

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
A couple of books:
(This one I have gotten for my little sister and she loved it)

Black, White, Just Right by:
by Marguerite W. Davol

other books: BLack is Brown is Tan by: Arnold Adoff

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla : Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite Wright

The Colors of Us by: Karen Katz

We're Different, We're the Same by: Bobbi Jane Kates

Why Am I Different? by: Norma Simon, et. al.

------------------------------
The Lord is on my side;I will not fear:what can man do unto me?
(Psalms 118:6)


If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.

I couldn't determine whether the circumstance involves one child and one couple, or two children and two couples. It also is unknown whether the parents' identity is the same in any respect to the child. These things will become increasing important as the child grows. The most important point is that the child/children is/are biracial. Biracial being African American and something else.

I think: The most important society-based thing for any child to learn is identity. Therefore, the parents must make the decision very early as how the child will be identified. It looks like a part of that decision has already been made with the child being identitfied as "biracial."
I have a particular defensiveness for the protocols of Multiculturalism. "Biracial" is one of the terms of those protocols.

The parents must decide if the child is to be raised with her identity being her color, or her color and her race, and of course WHICH ONE. I am also a strong advocate that identity should about WHO you are, and not WHAT you are. To me, color and race are what you are. This is not to ivalidate what you are. Multiculruralism says "what you are is who you are."

This is the system that has been used for Americans of unknown African ancestry for a very, very long time. Here in the 21st century, we, as Americans of unknown African ancestry, continued to subscribe to the practice. The practice exists because we were TOLD that such is the case, and it can't be change, because we are the "victims of history and circumstance." This can be changed, but it will have to be done on a family-by-family basis.

Such a decision is hard when the parents are BOTH Americans of unknown African ancestry. When neither parents is African American-American, the decision requires infinitely more insight and committment.

I have two grandchildren who are an Italian, and Polish parent, respectively. I don't try to inject myself into the parental role. I do however not give the parents a choice as to how they address me in terms of identity. How they "see" me is how their children must "see" me. My grandchildren are, in part, who I am.

I give them my flag. They love it. And they accept it without question, not for political reasons, but because it is my flag --- and therefore their flag. I also give the parents a copy of both my books which address ancestral nationality.

These parents have a special responsibility in our society. Clearly, we wish them well.

PEACE

Jim Chester

I

JWC
I read more of the postings and have a better understanding of the family. It doesn't change my assessment. Families such as this deserve better assistance than is being provided by the primary care agency in the system namely, Children and Youth.

Thousands of such children are placed in such circumstances each year. The philosophies driving the placement system are those of European Americans. Not because there is a planned malice, but simply because European Americans control the agency, and those providing the oversight of the families and children. Certainly, this is not out of place since these children are at least 50% European. But, the system typically calls them "Black", not "White."

[I know this instance is about adoption,and not foster care. The systems are essentially parallel. In fact, there may be better oversight in Children and Youth.]

The "warm fuzzy" alternative for identity is being taken. Rather than call these children "Black," they are called "multicultural," or "biracial." Clearly, there needs to be a greater input into the organizational culture of these agencies that are shaping the lives of thousands who MUST live in a society that is being taught it is better to be known as "multicultural" or "biracial" than "Black."

As much as I would rather have the children identified as African American-American and whatever else , to opt out of the currently accept designation of "Black" is a put-down, intended or not.

PEACE

Jim Chester

JWC

[This message was edited by Jim Chester on July 07, 2003 at 09:36 AM.]
Smile

Thanks, Jim, for your reply. You bring up a good point that I've often wondered about myself....why do "they" (agencies and society in general) look at these kids as black when they're just as much white? And why is being labeled so danged important anyway?

Could you please elaborate on what "better assistance" is needed for adoption? In this case, the adoption was done privately. Birth mom knew my sister in law couldn't have children and volunteered to place her child. No agency involved, except for the social worker who came to the house for the home study. Just the lawyers (hey, maybe that was the problem.)

FWIW, I really don't like being labeled European American. If people want to be known as African American (or Arab American, or whatever), that's fine, but please don't label me in return. I may be as white as Wonder Bread, but I prefer to be just American. It's what I am and I can't think of anything else I'd rather be called. IMHO, being American is the only citizenship that matters to me. Maybe it's because I was also adopted as an infant, from back in the days of sealed birth records. Never knew about heritage and know darn little now. Didn't matter then, doesn't matter now.

Unrelated note: Is Truckville anywhere near Maple Grove Raceway? We'll be there in 2 weeks, drag racing at the Pontiac event.

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply.
Amy

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."

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