Last night I watched the documentary Closure. A husband documents his wife’s journey as she attempts to locate her birth family after 26 years of unknowns. She is a trans-racial adoptee like Isaac- a child of color having been adopted into a white family. I was hesitant to watch it and procrastinated for a few days. I needed my head to be in a place to accept whatever this film was about to feed it. The thing is, researching trans-racial adoption (or in many instances adoption in general), makes me want to pull my head into my shell. Sometimes, I do figuratively need to hide out after reading a blog post or news story. There are so many hurtles for which to watch: the ability to code-switch, having strong black male role models, finding a healthy balance of birth family interactions, handling racism, and all manner of things relating to his heritage for which Ryan and I are unable to ever fully hope to understand… the tip of the iceberg upon which we stand.
I know I need to be aware. I refuse to handle the heaviness as an ostrich, burying my head and choosing only to believe that love will be enough. I will continue to seek from those who have walked similar paths as my son so I can gather as many tools for him as humanly possible.
On the other hand, I am weary of the darkness. I am exhausted with worrying that my son is destined for a life of depression and solitude because of the twists his life took through no choice of his own. Feeling like there is so little Ryan and I can do to raise our son to be a strong, good, kind, courageous, honorable man is oppressive.
I recognize the pitfalls of adoption. I agree that if many mothers had a better support system, had been given more parenting knowledge, hadn’t been coerced into believing that giving their child up was their only option that more children may still be in their first families. I support that. I support the need for adoptees to know their history and to be afforded the understanding that wanting to know from where you came is a primal urge.
But… there are exceptions to everything and I need some light in this tunnel. I wish so deeply that I could give him first hand education on what it means to walk this world as a black male, but no amount of wishing will make this happen. Angela, the woman in Closure, was self-assured and confident. She strove to see her family into which she was adopted and her first family in a positive light. She was positivity born out of a shaky start. She was what I pray for Isaac.
I am here. My family is here. We are here with these skin colors, with these genetics, in this society. We have done nothing wrong. I am listening to the naysayers, the fearful, the obstacle revealers; I understand the importance of your warnings. But just for the sake of balance, could we please hear some encouragement also? Could those of us who are trying our damnedest to raise our children to be self-assured and confident hear that it is POSSIBLE? Could we have a few more stories like Closure? I’m sure they’re out there. I’ll keep listening…