I am a white adoptive mom to a beautiful, 9 year old, African American boy with emotional disabilities. When I started my journey to become an adoptive mom, I was well-intentioned, but incredibly unaware of my white privilege, and naive about what parenting a black child meant in spite of all of the parenting education classes we completed.
My son was a toddler when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. I was smacked in the face with the reality that this could be MY CHILD. Since Trayvon’s murder in 2012 and all those that followed, I have struggled with the insurmountable fear that one day that could be my child, killed for being black in America - a fear that every mother of a black child faces daily.
Like so many of us, I am traumatized by George Floyd’s death. Furious that he was slowly murdered by a monster wearing a badge and uniform; and horrified by the inaction of the officers who stood by, allowing Mr. Floyd to die. I am furious and disgusted by the systemic racism that STILL exists in our country, but, most of all, I am tired of always fearing for my son; fearing for his safety; afraid that one day he won’t make it home; that it will be my son, dead.
I want things to change and change now so that in 3 years, when my son is the same age as Tamir Rice was when he was shot and killed, I can just worry about the normal mom-stuff like has he finished his homework, will he look both ways before crossing the street and will he wear his seat belt in the car - even if I’m not there to remind him. I know that change is not going to happen overnight - and I know it is long overdue. As we work on change, these are some of the steps I am taking to educate myself, prepare my son, and be the change I want to see in the world:
- We are talking about racism and discrimination, we are reading books about black history and black leaders, and we are seeking out black role models.
- I am continuing to work to be a better advocate and ally.
- I am making financial contributions to organizations that support the black community and will start volunteering my time when Covid-19 infection rates are down.
Some resources that I have found helpful:
- Child Mind Institute: Racism and Violence: How to help kids handle the news
- Pretty Good Design: Are Your Kids Too Young to Talk About Race