Monday, August 30, 2010

not ok.

here it is. the post that's been about one week, or ten years in the making. i have pondered, i have fumed, i have cried, ranted, and cussed. i have daydreamed about saying things that will never sound as awesome as they do in my head if i said them out loud. or write them here. but today, i realized that while my raving may be pointless and eyeroll-worthy, i want to do it anyway. when have i been known to keep my mouth shut?

what happened.

what happened was i made the mistake of commenting on the status of a Facebook friend that i don't know well. it was one of those "repost this if you believe in BLAH BLAH and BLAH. 98% of you are too chicken!!!!!!!!"

can i just interrupt myself to add that those status updates are ridiculous and most are probably written (poorly) by bored kids? write your own updates. mkay? mkay.

this particular zinger was about the tragic state of charity and how "we" send all our money overseas when there are people here who need things. troops who need supplies, and mentally ill who need hospitals. me being me, thought, oh, hey...let me shed some light. it's the nice thing to do. i politely explained that while it's true, there are MANY families in need here in the states, i feel it's important to remember that in some places, there are no programs in place to support the poor, the sick, and the hungry. there are earthquakes. natural disasters of all kinds. no matter where in the world these things happen, HUMAN BEINGS are meant to help one another.

i added something about charity being a personal decision and that i feel as long as we are giving what we can, to whatever cause we feel drawn to, then that's what will make the world a better place.

the response was all a blur except one line. to paraphrase, it said...

ready?

there are kids being adopted from other countries, while there are kids here in the US who need homes.

*pause for suspense*

*pause for you to collect yourself"

*pause for you to go find another blog to read if you agree with this statement*

honestly, i know that fellow APs i know have been told this very thing. i know all the responses that we are armed with, and yet, reading those words made me blind with anger. blood rushed to my head, which immediately started pounding. it was as if someone had told me "your son shouldn't be your son. he doesn't belong HERE."

is that not what it sounds like?

i tried to formulate a response that reflected my hurt feelings, anger, and also could provide some education on the subject. like it mattered at that point. it didn't work. i'm not going to waste any more energy reliving the conversation. basically, i was furious, she didn't seem to understand why.

here's what i came up with today. i don't live in a world, mental OR physical, where i am better than anyone else because of where i HAPPENED TO BE BORN. because NEWS FLASH you didn't do shit to get here. our ancestors did, but that's another story, that so many people obviously choose to forget when they complain endlessly about "immigrants". i love my country. i do. but it makes me so very, very sad when i see my fellow Americans take patriotism to a level that is nothing less than ignorant. and it makes me want to shout to the world IT'S NOT ALL OF US! I'M HERE! WE'RE EQUAL!

years ago, a fellow business owner in my town used to come in to my studio to chat. more than once she brought up, in a hushed voice, the topic of "black people". make sure you whisper it. "black people". i would stare blankly at her, remind her that we were in the process of adopting one of those "black people" and i would proceed to act bewildered. but i didn't speak up.

i should have said something. i should have told her HOLD UP. don't put me in your little club just because our skin matches. our hearts do NOT. please leave.

how many times have people, some my friends, made comments that made me cringe.

taking the car to the Mexicans to get cleaned.
do you know that one Indian at the BP station?
black folks can't drive or swim. it's just fact. i'm not racist.

right there. those words. here's what i'm saying, or trying to, but not making clear.

IF YOU FEEL THE NEED TO PREFACE YOUR FORTHCOMING STATEMENT WITH "I'M NOT RACIST, BUT..."

DON'T SAY IT TO ME.


ever.

it's not okay. i'm not okay with being hurt every day by people who should know better. it's not about religion, it's not about politics, it's about being a HUMAN. with a heart and a soul. it hurts me so much that people have so much hate in their hearts, even if they try to hide it. even if they make excuses about it "not being a stereotype, it's the truth". you don't know shit about any one's truth but your own.

it's not okay for me. it's not okay for my family. it's not okay for our future, for the children who are growing up in homes where parents use the "n-word" and "faggot". it's not okay that a good portion of the people i have been associating with in this world would have a problem with their child dating outside their race. if you say you love my family, then ask yourself that question. could your blonde haired daughter marry my son with your blessing? if not, that's not okay with me.

i think i had tricked myself into thinking that things were not so bad. now it seems every day i am slapped in the face with ignorant comments and it scares me. my small hope, the one thing that keeps me confident that it won't always be this way, are my kids. the kids of the beautiful families that i know feel the same way i do, down to their core. our kids will grow up and prove them all wrong. they will lead the kids that were lied to, to the truth. it's not their job. it's not even going to be something they know they are doing. but it can happen.

prop 8. the "mosque" drama. tea parties. arizona. people here, that i know, questioning the way we chose to start our family. as if they have the right. i don't have to agree with all of my friends' politics. we don't have to vote the same. i can be friends with people of any religion...
...but when you dehumanize someone by making their RACE, or where they were BORN, the main aspect of who they ARE as a PERSON, their ONLY identifying factor....THAT'S NOT OKAY!!!!!!

i don't know whether to run into the streets preaching equality (as if i could ever find the courage), or retreat into my home to keep my heart, and my family safe from hurt for as long as possible.

94 comments:

Kristin @ The Krumwiede 6 said...

Heather-
Know that my blonde hair blued eye daughter could marry your son and I would be gladly dancing in the streets with joy... heck your son could even marry my (well if it's legal by then) dirty blonde haired, brown eyed son and I would still be dancing in the streets...

Much love to you! I may very well have to steal this blog post (credit to you of course) and link it back to here... Love you girl and your whole family.... :)

June said...

TELL IT SISTER!! It is NOT okay! I hereby second everything you just wrote and honor you for saying something on that ignorant FB post. WE ARE ALL PEOPLE. If you believe in God, then you know GOD MADE ALL OF US! Not just Americans. Not just white people. ALL OF US.

Oh dear, it appears you've got me fired up. My use of CAPS is disturbing. :)

Love you!!
~Stacie

Deirdre said...

A-FREAKING-MEN, woman! You are wonderful. And I'm also scared about the horrible, rising levels of hate around us. Thank you for speaking out so eloquently.

Cindy said...

I agree completely! I am constantly stunned that we cannot just be good to someone because we are all human beings!!
I am with Deirdre. I am horrified and scared by the rising hatred in our country.
Thanks for speaking out!! Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated, Heather. Please continue to speak out when it's "not ok" (I know you will:)). I can tell from your writing that a fire has been lit and your timing couldn't be better! Now if only the world had more mommies like you!! ;)

Gingersnaps said...

Man this post really touched home with me. My former best friend used to whisper "black people." I'm like, why is she whispering? Is it a bad word? Ugh. And I hate the "why did you adopt abroad when there are plenty of children here available?" Makes me want to go Kung Fu on their @sses.

Laura Ciocia said...

Anonymous was me btw:). xo

Eastiopians said...

BRAVO!!!! AMEN SISTER!!!!


Theresa
www.eastiopians.wordpress.com

Debbie B said...

Wow! Someone linked this post and I all I can say is WOW! Right on. Our kids are kids regardless of their heritage.

Your statement about marriage is one that I've thought about a lot with some of my 'friends.' It's okay while my daughter is cute but once she's older and one of those people will they still feel that way. The world today scares me.

Cami said...

Wonderful wonderful post! I just may have to link to it if you don't mind!

Amanda said...

This is the first time I've read your blog (followed the link from FB)...

but, thank you.

I was having a crappy night/morning until I read this.

Thank you.

Jill said...

Thank you so much. Thank you. Too bad the people in my life that NEED to read this won't because I already unfriended them on FB and now I can't share the link with them!

I'm so tired of Americans feeling they are better than everyone else and that they are entitled to so much more than others......we are all descended from immigrants, save a very very few of Native Americans left (and none of us should proud of what happened there either).

Thank you.

andrewodom said...

WOW! You said a mouthful there 'lil lady. I don't have anything prophetic to say or anything that would have me confused for a wise, old, sage, who spends hours in silent meditation. What I do have to say is that you are so very right in that we don't have to vote the same. We don't have to agree. We don't have to worship the same or eat the same or even drink the same kool-aid. But we do have to love and respect each other. It is a fairly simple principle that should come natural to us all but has somehow been tainted by entitlement, capitalism, self-indulgence, and socio-politics. I think that by living in this small town our sensitivity is heightened to the ignorance that accompanies a number of people and because of that we fight even harder to push the plow of tolerance. And on that note, I'll wear the yoke and work right alongside you.

Theresa said...

I couldn't agree more!

Rebecca said...

I found this entry through a link on Facebook. I also compose retorts in my head and in front of the bathroom mirror... One thing that I have noticed is that people who have said the bit about children waiting in the US to be adopted haven't adopted. It isn't an issue at all among my friends that have adopted domestic infants, through foster care or internationally. We all realize that children all over the world need homes. I usually say "oh, so you adopted from the US?" trying to make a point and then the reply is almost 100% of the time "no, we were blessed to be able to have our own kids"
sigh-- maybe I need to blog my own "not ok." Thanks for sharing your heart.

Themia said...

Love this. Heather, you are awesome and eloquent and too fabulous. Thanks for putting this out there.

Ashley said...

Heather,
I also found your blog posting via Facebook and I wanted to let you know how true your words ring! I also wanted to let you know that if you feel the need to shout in the streets equality, do it! Remember the Civil Rights Movement! The people who chose to participate did so because they strongly believed in the principals they fought for. Never underestimate the power of your voice, EVER!!!! Margaret Mead once said, "Never underestimate what a small group of people can do." It's true. America has seemed to have lost this sense of need. We like to sit back and think someone else will do all the work and yet it never comes. I encourage you to find a group in your community or start your own that teaches tolerance. If you need guidance you can go to The Southern Poverty Law Center for some great materials on the subject of teaching tolerance. I think it is something that should be taught in ALL schools. Thank you for sharing your feelings and keep up the good work raising your children!
Ashley

Laura said...

Heather, nothing resonated with me more than -- well, all of it. But specifically this:

Don't put me in your little club just because our skin matches. our hearts do NOT. please leave.

I love you for SO many reasons but mostly because our hearts match.

xoxo
Laura

Cathy said...

You go girl! Awesome. Couldn't have said it any better and couldn't agree with you more.

Bridget said...

Thank you.

J-Mac said...

In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing. -Antonio Porchina

What I love best about you is how much heart you have. We can all do our part by raising our children to be accepting and loving.

And I love "you don't know shit about any one's truth but your own."

Anonymous said...

But don't you see how courageous it is to post this? Especially right now, where s-t-i-l-l somehow inexplicably, tragically people are finding it acceptable to patently demonstrate and perpetrate intolerance and hatred in the good ol' US of A.

It sounds completely inadequate to say I wholeheartedly agree. I have also found myself on Facebook and elsewhere writhing in the trenches and running out into the line of fire armed with not much but conviction.

I don't feel like it's enough though. I only wish I could be more brave.

When you go to the streets, let me know. I will hold your hand. I will stand beside you. I'm not kidding.

Cindy

moonofcheese22@live.com
http://ethiodyssey.blogspot.com

TSEN said...

Go Heather!!! Thank you for speaking for me and my family in ways I never could! I'm so tired of the racism, sexism, homophobia, religion-identity "I'm-right-you're-not" crap that I could spit nails. Thank you for saying it way better than I ever could!

Jess said...

You're so right on Heather! Great post! My kids will be right there with yours, changing the world someday, one ignorant person at a time...And if one of my daughters, (or sons) wanted to marry CF one day, that would make me one happy momma:)

ErinM said...

Oh Heather, how I love you, and this post makes me love you even more. I am just so overwhelmed by how well you put this into words. I've also heard the "There are kids here who need homes!" and at that point, I figure I no longer need to be nice for the exact reason you're saying--they're basically telling me that they don't think my son should be my son. And when I've pointed that out, the response is usually "Well, I didn't mean YOUR family." Oh really? And I don't hold back--but it makes me see red for hours. I relive that conversation in my head for days, wondering if I've said the right things, wondering if anything I've said will penetrate their skull, etc.

Like you said, just because our skin colors match doesn't mean our hearts match. And if someone can't see that, then my family is better off without them in our lives.

I wish we could protect our kids always. Mama-bear mode kicks in so quickly. I'm not about to put my children in a position in which they're going to be knowingly subjected to that kind of ignorance and intolerance but I know that they will face it, and it breaks my heart.

gigglechirp said...

Namaste! Thanks so much for so eloquently gathering your thoughts on all these matters and sharing. Powerful. Way to go!!!!

Anonymous said...

Love this..more than love this, I am speechless. So many jumbled thoughts go through my mind in all of the situations that you describe..and typically nothing comes out of my mouth! Love your honesty and writing..I dream about standing up for my son this way. My heart stands up for him..I just need to find the right words. Thanks you.

Ms. Fricknfrack said...

I am so proud to know you. Thank you and bravo, Heather!

BoShanks said...

You are the best human being I know. I love you!

shoto said...

Found this post by accident. One word: Excellent! I just had the adoption argument yesterday with my own mother. I didn't consider violence (it was mom.) I do find I have this conversation far too often. Why do these people feel so entitled just by genetic happenstance? or as Bill Hicks put it so bluntly, "Your parents f**ked here."

Just know, any one of your children may marry anybody from my culturally diverse family (as long as they are great to each other,) with my blessing.

Daisy Dreams said...

Followed a link on FB.

A powerful post indeed. My kids have the cards stacked against them....being raised by a single (by choice) mom, Chinese with a soon to be sibling from Ethiopia. You can only imagine the horrible things that have been said...and IN FRONT of them. I can speak up and try to educate these ignorant people, but more importantly, I can empower my children to be bigger and better in their thinkings than most out there.

Hope you don't mind, I'd like to share this on my blog (and link back, of course).

Shannon

Nadia said...

Holy cow. I love this. As one AP to another, thank you.

Ladybugs appear said...

Bravo!

docgrumbles said...

I would be thrilled if my daughter came home with your son on her arm.

I came here through a link on Facebook, and I am glad I did. I agree with everything you wrote. Your family is beautiful, and I am glad your son gets to be a part of it and be taught rational thinking.

habeshachild said...

love love love this. LOVE it.

thank you.

childofourheart said...

Thank you for saying what I've been thinking so eloquently. It breaks my heart to think my son will one day understand and be hurt by racism. Ignorant people...why can't we ship them all off to some remote place where they can't hurt us anymore?

MRK said...

Bravo. Sometimes I almost think it's funny how ignorance shows in the intolerance of so many people, and then I realize that it's not at all funny. It's horrifying. Well put. I felt my blood boiling right along with you when I read it. And either one of my daughters (the dirty blond haired blue eyed one or the dark haired dark skinned one from GASP another country) could marry your beautiful son with my sincere thankfulness that they found each other.

Christine said...

Loved this so much, the raw honesty and your protectiveness of our children. Found you on facebook, too, from a link. I am in the 'Amen Corner!!' I want my children to know they are children of the world, not of just a country.

Bravo!

Bettina said...

Thank you so much for sharing - very well put! I'm a first time visitor via Facebook :) Love it!

Sarri said...

Thank you.

Sarah said...

If/when people have the gall to start this sh*t with me, I just quote Maya Angelou and tell them "I will not tolerate this hate speech in my presence."

Now THOSE are my boundaries, idiots!

And it works...they shut up and are stunned and I leave, because, why would I keep talking to them?

shelly said...

I was at a Christmas party and was asked if I wanted to have some n i double g r toes.
"Really?" I said looking quizzically at the older man asking the question. "You must think you are talking to someone else," I blurted out totally aghast with confusion and disgust.
"Oh," he said, "I forgot. You are the one with all the kids from different races. Don't get me wrong," he continued, "I'm not prejudiced. I just think the whites should stay with the whites and the negroes with their own type."
Hmmm...I will have to remember to tell my blonde haired, blue eyed daughter to dye her skin to match her black African boyfriend. Would that make them the same type?

abaco said...

Bravo! Stanley Fish had a great, related column yesterday: Stereotypes apply…unless the person has the same skin color as me and then it’s just plain wrong. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/weve-seen-this-movie-before/?hp?hp

Annie said...

Amen!!!! wonderful post!

one + one said...

THANK YOU for saying this. And saying it so well. I hope it's okay to share?

Ronnie and Suzi said...

Great post! You never disappoint. You have a real gift being able to process all of this 'stuff' and transform it into words, words that impact. Keep it up!
PS I have been 'following' on and off since your post about having a bio baby after adopting. Used that post to explain to my parents why it's not okay to say all sorts of crap that comes out when you call with the "We're pregnant" after you've adopted. So 'thank you' for that too, a little late! ;)

Athena said...

I followed a link from facebook as well (this is the first time I've ever come across your blog). I just have to say that you moved me to tears. Thank you for speaking the TRUTH! Thank you for standing up for HUMANITY! And, thank you for standing up for our CHILDREN however we chose to bring them into our lives! You are awesome & I look forward to following your blog & I'll be linking it to my facebook as well :)

my life, my loves! said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I needed this today! I have read this blog post about 5 times in the last couple hours. Thank you for saying this. We had ANOTHER situation today and I was fuming!! I read this and wow- you have a way with words and I am so thankful for reading this esp. when my brain was all jumbled with thoughts today!! I think Suzi linked me to your blog once before, because we too had a bio child after adoption! I love your blog and look forward to reading it more!

shelly said...

I was thinking...perhaps when a person says there are kids here that need homes...we should suggest that perhaps they should adopt one!

(adoptive mom of 7)

cathy said...

darling heather, you rock. please consider running for president.

Sharon said...

Yeah, you are one of the more eloquent ones I was speaking about in my rant last week... http://followingthewayhome.blogspot.com/2010/08/who-is-worthy-of-love.html

Go girl!

Karin said...

You can't see me but I'm standing up, clapping, giving you a standing O. Bravo!

Kristine said...

Great post! I hate those FB things! Most people who post those have never traveled outside the US. Never been friends will someone of another culture. So sad, they are missing out on so much that makes the world awesome. One of my a favorite quotes is "There is no American flag flying outside the gates of Heaven."

I would however, take exception with your reference to "tea parties" and "Arizona", though. Those issues are about political, governmental issues, and are not inherently racist in nature. I am not denying that some supporters of certain issues are motivated by race- as there will be with any issue- but there are Black leaders in the "tea party" movement and Latinos who support enforcing immigration law. Racism is evil and it hurts. It also hurts when good people when falsely accused of racism just because they do not subscribe to a particular political ideology.

We should all do more to understand the "others".

Nicole Anderson said...

Thank you, just thank you!

I have been reading a book 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa. I can not get it out of my mind. Thinking about it ALL the time. One paragraph in it talks about how people must think it easier to die in Africa than any other place, etc.
People don't get it, but speaking out...and a blog is a HUGE step... it is a step. Because you are so right. NOT OK!
Thanks

Brooke said...

*claps hands* Well said Heather!

Lisa said...

Again, yet another who linked through FB. Hadn't come across your blog previously. I appreciate your post, thank you! I happen to have adopted three from "here" but they could have come from anywhere, it's all the same to me. We're in process for the first time internationally from Hong Kong. Love your words, again, thanks!

M and M said...

I'll take it to the streets with you, sistah....you tell me where and when. I've been practicing in my own town :-)

The Gregs said...

Well said. You are not alone.

Alida said...

Wow .... AMEN to all of this ... U couldn't have said it any better! I truly hope and have faith that our children will make it better, but we have to keep showing them the path!

Orange Girl said...

Great post! Hope it's okay that I linked to your post on my blog. I'm going to do my best to let not let those moments slip by unnoticed but instead let it be known that it's not okay in my world either!
Katie

Julie said...

Heather for President!

Paula said...

Heather, I don't know you, but gosh you rock! One of my best friends, someone I love dearly, just last week said to me, after I was eloquently espousing the cause of a particular Ethiopian charity for orphans, "but there are lots of poor kids in orphanages here." Huh? Where are the orphanages? Does she understand the degree of poverty I'm talking about? No, she doesn't. I tried to enlighten her, but I had to go, and honestly, I don't know if people that haven't seen it do get it. And at least she doesn't make racist statements. There is just still a lot of education needed for Americans about how much of the rest of the world lives. And that all of those lives are worth just as much as ours.

More Dorrs said...

I second Julie: Heather for President!

Mama Papaya said...

Welcome back, Heather. Welcome freaking back.

Jennifer said...

"you didn't do shit to get here" pulled me in and held me til the end, hoping for more. You, in all your anger and hurt, said it so perfectly for so many of us. I hope people's families and friends and neighbors will read this.
Remember the campaign "ONE"? I was wondering to what ever happened to that sentiment? There should be no "they" and no "us", there should be "we". "We" are one.
You did good. Thank you.

The Crabtrees said...

Heather,
I do not know you. We may not agree on all our politics, pro-life, or religious beliefs, but I just want to support you and let you know that it is so sad that there are so many prejudiced, selfish people in this world, our country, and others. But so many of we Americans have such vast blessings, and riches, and we want to horde our resources, keep them to ourselves, etc. I am not speaking of myself, but of the people you were addressing. And I for one, just want you to know, that I would give my blonde haired, blue eyed daughter, HAPPILY, to any young man, of any race or color, if he were kind, a believer in Christ, and loved my daughter with an obvious incredible love. If my daughter were to marry a black young man, who was adopted from overseas, or who was born and raised in this country, and I liked him, and thought he was a good person, I would be thankful for my daughter's happiness. In NO way would it be second best, etc. It is the heart that counts. That's it. Best wishes to you and your family. Try to do your best to be happy, and know how blessed you are, and whenever you can fight evil, or have the change to make things right, do so, and then be sure you don't let it keep you down. Because you have beautiful kids who need a happy Mom to enjoy their childhood with them. your post was great.

C.C. said...

Well said! I have been there and will be again. I know the blinding anger you speak of. So far, it's only been me that these comments have been aimed at. My stomach gets sick when I think of my kids being on the receiving end.

sandi said...

Great great post. Completely agree. All the way up until you said Arizona. :(

BTW all the people who live in AZ don't support AZ laws, just like all the people who live in your state don't. Just my two cents as a 4th generation AZ native.

Certainly don't want that to overshadow my feelings on your entire post. I think that the things you said about racism are so true. I see it all the time.

Kamala Mantha-Thaler said...

Thank you heather for what I as an adoptive parent want to say all the time. Our daughter is from Ethiopia and live in NY city and yet in this so called great city get the most obnoxious comments. I also get tired of Americans people from other countries especially from poor countries as those poor people, and the natural superiority that they exude over all others especially at people of color.
It is comforting to know that there is a community of people of the world with multiracial families like yours and ours and other friends we have made over the course of our journey which hopefully will make this world a tad bit better for our kids

Kamala Mantha-Thaler said...

Thank you heather for what I as an adoptive parent want to say all the time. Our daughter is from Ethiopia and live in NY city and yet in this so called great city get the most obnoxious comments. I also get tired of Americans people from other countries especially from poor countries as those poor people, and the natural superiority that they exude over all others especially at people of color.
It is comforting to know that there is a community of people of the world with multiracial families like yours and ours and other friends we have made over the course of our journey which hopefully will make this world a tad bit better for our kids

Kamala Mantha-Thaler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stlouis63 said...

agree totally but for different reasons...all these uplifting feel good comment are because the main focus of your post was about children. No one will disagree with you on that nor do I! In the end you mention prop 8 ( my focus) not really for me but for so many of my friends, I know the people that commented here feel different about that even though it is still about discrimination towards a group of people! Still about equality to all humans! Total equality amongst us will never happen in my day thats for sure and who knows if it will ever happen hard to think what this world would be like it it actually happened? End the end you stated you didn't know what you should do? Thats the real problem if all of us marched the streets demanding it preaching it instead of staying in your homes protecting your families it would be accepted alot quicker. Leaving this post spreads good feelings amongst everyone here that reads it in your homes work wherever safe but does nothing to show that YOU WANT AND DEMAND EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE!

Dionne said...

I am amazed at the pursuit of equally that many like you provoke through dialogue. I am one of those people as well, and in recent times I choose not to stand by and let derogatory comments go by. Continue your conversations...we are listening and engaging in the same pursuit of change!!!

Krista said...

So very well said! It is amazing how insensitive people can be... As an AP, and just a person of the world, Thank you!

Lewis said...

Heather, I've known you a good while. You have a hugemongous heart. That's a virtue not many have. Don't let ignorant and deplorable comments get you down. I know you won't. Anything worth having is worth fighting (or working very hard) for.

You rock, Heather! :)

Mark and Sarah said...

Heather-Thank you for writing this!!!

elisabeth said...

To Heather and all the other folks that replied to her,

Please go ahead and say what you are saying OUT LOUD, and often, to the appropriate audiences. That would be everybody. Too often we have the chance to impact other people, but let it slide by because we were raised to be polite. Or because we are so stunned by what we are hearing that we forget to speak.

Just try to remember to keep your head and say what needs to be said in a way that your audience can hear. Maybe, just maybe, if they hear it often enough it will make a dent.

Also, reality is that America is getting browner. In all likelihood, most of us will have beautiful brown babies with wavy, curly hair in our families in the next generation. You do much to educate people by simply living your lives with your children.

LCB said...

Perfectly spoken! I will definately repost. What I love the most is how your blog post can be linked thru Facebook and shared with so so so so so so so many more who NEED to read it. Thank you!

leslie and adam said...

All of it, Heather. Every. Single. Word.

love you,
Leslie, Adam, Maia, Gifford, Dereje, Loie and Ada Birhane

Vive...rie...ama said...

well said! i wish the holier-than-thou attitude (had by so many people) would change to empathy and compassion for all.

Williams Family said...

Thank you so much for this post!! So very well said!

50 foot QE said...

Just as there are beautiful mommies like yourself in America there are racist people, (who are backed by their government) in other places outside America. Our job is not to change people's perceptions (albeit ignorant and anti-human). Our job is to let them witness us and to speak on behalf of our children.

We live in Singapore and we are a multinational family. We receive every kind of eyeball you can imagine and we know we are strange. Racist people here are encouraged to make comments and to hurt their domestic help who come from less privileged places.

Most people, especially those that don't travel, don't do "different" very well. Luckily, we have come along to shake things up and show them another way to be.

You are right. We are humans. And that should always come first.

Rachel said...

Here, here. Thanks for writing this!

Mamaj541 said...

Found your blog through a friend's link and I love each and every thing you had to say. I am linking to here from my blog and I hope it makes it all around the world! Thank you!!

Bethany and Isaac said...

I mostly agree with this post, and much of what you said needs to be said. I also have a black son and I cringe when I think of what he will face. I've also heard the "why adopt from other countries when there are so many kids here" BS and it drives me up the wall.

BUT.

TEA parties and being against illegal immigration (note: NOT immigration, just ILLEGAL immigration) is not racist. TEA parties are about limited government, and most of them are attended by (and feature as keynote speakers) people of all ages, ethnicities, and economic standing. And illegal immigration is illegal. Hence the name. No one I know opposes legal immigration, and for the record, the AZ law is just a restatement of a federal law, and Mexico and most other "modern" countries (like the UK) have harsher legal immigration requirements than the USA does.

So please stop grouping those of us who are pro-TEA party and anti-illegal immigration as racists, because we're not. And we as adoptive parents and interracial families need to stand together, not tear each other down. =o)

Grant said...

http://www.understandingrace.org/home.html

We are all members of the human race!

becca albertson said...

amen girl.
way to preach it. we need more of this... everywhere. BRAVA!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

THANK YOU!

autumnesf said...

Although I agree with the majority of your post I'd like to say a word on the "why not adopt right here".

This is not always about race (although it can be). From some points of view its about helping out those in your own back yard first. Too many of us adopt and send money to help other countries (which is not wrong) and never help out in our own towns.

Having a few friends that live well below the poverty line and seeing this through their eyes has caused me to look at this very differently than I used to. Why aren't our poor good enough to help? (I have actually been asked this question by several people who just want to understand.) It's not even about we should ONLY help "our own" and being over patriotic....its about so many of us that almost never help our own communities and pour our resources into the other countries.(And yes I do believe you can be called to help specific countries.)

Personally, we are trying to find a balance. We are helping out our community much more than just the local school food drives or scout food drives or the easy stuff we used to mostly do...PLUS helping out our daughters home country AND others.

So please do understand that not all the questions about "adopting right here" are about race or thinking our kids are better than another countries - or even more horrifying, that our adopted kids don't belong here. The point is American kids deserve a home just as much as the children overseas. And people right in our own towns are confused as to why we would overlook the parentless kid sitting next to ours in class...and throw money at any other cause.

And what I am NOT saying is that we shouldn't help the other causes. I'm saying its not all we should help. And I know far far far too many transnational adoptive parents that help overseas exclusively. As in a bigger percentage than not.

We are never going to make progress helping all those who need it if we ignore those right under our own feet. That is what many people see when they look at our beautiful transnational families. Its not they don't belong in our country...its what are you doing for your own countries parentless children?

And you all know our social programs don't work. Thats why a large number of adoptive parents go overseas to adopt in the first place. It was a small part of our reasoning. There are so many horror stories. Yet there are so many successes.

I do hope this has all come across respectively. My point is not to argue yours, it to show there is another line of thinking than just racism when someone asks why you don't adopt from your own country.

YoonSeon said...

Hi, I'm an adoptee, and I came across your blog from Tonggu Momma.

I think that although your points are good, it's still a demonstration that race DOES matter, regardless of the ideal that we're all human beings. Yes, we're all human, yes racism sucks, but in reality, race matters. It matters to a lot of people, and it will matter to the child you've adopted.

Like many of us adoptees have said, colourblindess is a nice value to have... but it's only that: a value. It's not the way the world works, and although your sentiments are nice, reality is what affects adoptees.

Just my 2c.

Brein said...

You wrote exactly how I feel so eloquently! It's so hard when people are so closed minded and they don't even seem to realize it. I always ask myself, "Is it worth it to speak my mind to someone like that? I obviously can't change it." But after reading this I have decided it is worth it, and I'm going to from now on. THANK YOU for inspiring me to do the right thing.

givingherallshesgot said...

Amen, sister.

And, FWIW, I think you did a great job recognizing that colorblindness does not exist in the world...but that that doesn't mean you can't fight for acceptance for your son (and all people who are "different"). Doing so doesn't mean you're pretending color is no big deal...if you were, you wouldn't see the need to fight!

I just...love your post. Amen. That's all I can say.

-Wildflowers, 4cats and HomeTarts- said...

hi there! i just joined to follow your blog. we too are adopting from ethiopia :)

thank you for sharing your thoughts within this great post! well done indeed.

i wrote a similar post via our adoption blog; its under the page tag at the top under 'posts' .

we feel what you are saying. we do. i think i ranted about all i could within my post, but to sum it up ' wake up people ' !! we are all human. i think attitudes are changing, which is good; but there are still those ones out there that are so full of ... well, ignorance. and you are correct, it is not okay.

stop by and visit our blog sometime.

Tina Michelle said...

when someone I know posted that on facebook I asked him which charity here at 'home' he was giving too. He had no answer cause he was not even giving, just judging others who were giving. You could also ask which orphanage here at 'home' are they adopting from. I am not sure racism will ever go away or the judging about others. I sure hope it happens in my childrens' lifetime tho.