Our Beautiful Tapestry

Yesterday, AussieKim left this comment on my last posting:

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” — Maya Angelou

What a beautiful thread Ava is in your families tapestry Sharon~!

I cried when I read it. It’s so beautiful and so true. Now that we have acknowledged our truth, I’ve had a slow dawning of just how Ava is going to revolutionize our families. How she is going to break stereotypes and how she could possibly change the way many who know our story view adoption and race selection in adoption. Those of you reading this from far away places will not understand how huge this actually is. It’s difficult to understand the society we grew up in, here in South Africa. I think the children in Ava’s generation are the ones who are going to save South Africa, I see it already in my nieces and nephews, when they talk about friends at school they don’t speak of  So-and-So the black girl, they refer to So-and-so, the one with the curly dark hair.

Having Ava in my life has also meant that she is teaching both Walter and I many many lessons. Many of which I’ve learned but I’m still so confused by them I don’t know how to put them in words just yet, but I will and I’ll share my thoughts as more and more of these realizations and lessons are learned. For now, I’m having difficulty finding the words or rather making sense of a lot of what is going on in my head. All I know is that I grew up in a very different society to the one Ava is being raised in today. I grew up in a society that had very distinct idea’s of what was black and what was white and even what was in between (coloureds, brown people, Mulattos, whichever label you choose) so where does my child fit in? In a society still hung up on labels & classifications? She’s doesn’t fit any of those labels, she doesn’t fit in any of those classifications. Mixed race… it seems such a stupid label. I mean technically, she’s 75% white and 25% coloured. Actually, technically I think it means she has not race. I think the most interesting thing for me is that she’s taught both Walter and I not to think in terms of colour/race mostly because she doesn’t really have one. Its a challenging and confusing concept when one has been raised in a society that is so focused on that.

This changes a lot of other things as well. For example, it opens the door even wider for us, should we choose to adopt a second child, it widens the scope of children we could bring into our home and integrate into our family. It also means that a lot of the other taboo’s will be broken. Believe it or not, mixed race relationships is still frowned upon by certain sectors in our South African society, and I have a few friends in mixed race relationships, so I’m speaking from their shared experiences, but what of Ava? She technically has no race/classification, she doesn’t fall into one group or another, she sits squarely in the middle of two groups? This means that regardless of what our families or friends think, Walter and I have accepted and have peace with the fact that as an adult, Ava may choose a man of any race.  We’ve both agreed that as long as her chosen man loves and treats her well, we have no problem with whatever is “colour” may be.And again, I’d like to reiterate that to those of you living overseas, you can’t fully appreciate the gravity of what that means.

One of the other issues Walter has had to bravely tackle with his family is their penchant for including hate speech in everyday conversations. He has had to explain to them in no uncertain terms that that is not acceptable behavior and will never be allowed around our child. I hope that they will abide by this rule, but even more so,  I hope that having Ava as part of our family will change some of the unfounded stereotyping they so many of them buy into. My family, while far more liberal, will also have to change some of their thinking, because while we’re far more liberal, we still live with some of the beliefs indoctrinated into us by the previous government, but I guess it’s a process towards change and one which Ava is speeding up.

So, we’re figuring things out as we go along. It’s an interesting process because Ava is changing everything we thought we knew and understood. But it’s also exciting and I’m proud of my rainbow family.