You’re so lucky you were adopted by a white family…
These are the words my son heard the last week of kindergarten. His teacher’s assistant pulled him aside, I guess…Dear Lord, I hope…thinking she was helping him in some way.
In what, I hope, was her attempt at helping, her inappropriately spoken words had a lasting effect. With those words, she changed the way my son saw himself.
Prior to that moment, D was only slightly aware that he was different than the rest of his family. It was obvious, he knew he was not caucasian, but he never realized that was a significant part of his life.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important. It is a significant part of his life, but it is not a part of his life that should cause him shame or embarrassment.
Those words, spoken by someone he trusted, changed his understanding that his skin tone was different. At that moment, he realized that he was different. That was one moment that stuck with him, a moment that made him consider that he may be less important or less valued than his caucasian peers and family members.
Since the time the teacher’s assistant spoke those, less than helpful, words, D has been hyper-aware of the differences in his family.
He has refused to have us attend school functions, he has been afraid of what the other students would say. Since that day, D has been terrified that if we showed up, his classmates would ask, Why are you black and your mommy is white? Yes, terrified.
When he went to residential treatment, many of the other children there had mixed families. Those families, however, were part of the foster care system and the children rarely had visitors. He still did not see the mixes in families, nor the value of a family no matter its make up. Instead, he saw that his family was still different. He was still upset and concerned about what others might say.
With the help of therapists, we got no where. We had to realize that a time would come when his perception of what other people thought would finally be less important than having his family involved.
Spike has speech therapy at D’s school one day a week. During that time, we are guaranteed to see D at least once, depending on how quickly we can get out, we may see him twice.
Last year, to avoid those meetings, I would drop Spike off outside the cafeteria on the back side of the school, her speech therapist would walk her in and out of the building. While she was in, I had to park out of sight from any windows so he could not spot my car. Otherwise, we were guaranteed a meltdown of epic proportions. We were guaranteed that he would throw down trying to either leave, or get us to leave.
The first time we had one of these meetings this year, I got a wave and, Hey, Mommy!
Yes, I nearly fell over! In fact, I almost jumped for joy, ran up and down the halls telling everyone (because I guarantee, everyone knows him and our situation), He saw me and he didn’t flip out!!!
Since then, most days when we see him, we get the same greeting, an occasional, Can you take me home after Spike’s speech? Then, he heads back to class.
This week was different, so very different!
This week, he asked me, Mommy, do you think you can stay for lunch today?
I told him that meant having lunch with all three littles, as well as me. He was fine.
YES!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!! HE WANTED ME TO STAY AND BE A PART OF HIS DAY!!!!
We joined him in his classroom to have lunch with him and his friends. (It was a short school day, so they had lunch in the classroom to avoid having to eat an hour late…you never ever come between a pre-pubescent boy and his food!)
We sat at the table, D, the three littles, and two friends. They ate, we talked… No one, none of the kids in his class thought it was odd that his mom and siblings were white.
It isn’t odd…
It is a blessing…
One thing the teacher’s aide had right when she told him, You are so lucky you were adopted by a white family …
Someone was lucky when D was adopted by THIS white family.
THIS white family was lucky. We love him and we are blessed beyond belief by him!
The days aren’t always easy. Sometimes the days barely pass for liveable.
No matter what, though, every day is a blessing.
Every day is one that God has used to teach us about unconditional love.
Love that sees no colors.
Love that knows no boundaries.
Love that, no matter how difficult the days, never ends.
Love that makes us, the white family, the lucky ones!