Tears Of Joy & Sadness For The Barriers Being Broken

Last night, while Ava was tucking into her dinner, I watched the Oprah show. Last night show was titled: Race On The Oprah Show: A 25 Year Look Back. It was a very powerful look at how things have changed (and not changed) over 25 years of her show.

Right at the end of the show, she featured a man, Jim Rainey, who was a self proclaimed racist forced to change his views when his daughter gave birth to a mixed race child. What he had to say was really powerful and I cried tears of joy mixed with sadness while I listened to him speak, his last statement really touched a chord with me, when speaking of his mixed race grandson:

“He didn’t know I was a racist. He didn’t know how evil my mind was. He just knew I was Smoky…I was his granddaddy, and he loved me,” says Jim.

Today, Jim says he still feels ashamed of his dark past, but his transformation has come full circle—he and his wife have adopted two black children into their family. “It’s amazing that you can get this old and just now realize what your calling in life is,” Jim says. “That’s being a parent and a father to Robert and Walter. I hope that [my wife] and I both can last long enough to see them raised and have opportunities—opportunities that thugs like me would have denied them 40 years ago.”

This made me think of Ava and how she is breaking through the barriers of racism and changing the perceptions of our families and friends. I remember when we announced to our families and friends our intentions to adopt, the very first question almost everyone asked us was with regards to the race of our future child. At the time, we decided to keep secret our intention to adopt a mixed race child, both of us believing that once he/she was there our families would fall in love with him/her and his/her race would be of no consequence. I’m so happy to report that this is indeed true.
After all, how could you not love a child, based on race, who lives life with such infectious joy?

Perfect Miracle Child

Ava has been placed on a special path in life. I believe she will bring so much to the lives of those who know her. Not only will she teach people about the miracle of adoption but she will also teach people that love knows no colour.

After all, how can you choose not to love a child because of their colour? How can you judge the value of a child because of their colour?

I cried last night while watching that show, while realizing that in Ava’s life time she will have to overcome some obstacles, not of her choosing. She will cross paths with ignorant people. People who will judge her because she’s adopted, people who will make judgmental statements about her and about her birth mother, statements which will be made from pure ignorance and believe me, this has already happened, I’ve been horrified by some of the ignorant and hurtful statements the people closest to us have made about adoption. She will cross paths with people who will make cruel and ignorant statements about her because of her heritage, because of her mixed race. But I believe my child will teach these people to know better, she will teach them about love and love transcends colour and birth parents and adopted parents. While I am filled with joy to know that Ava will break these barriers, I am also saddened that this burden is placed on her and so many like her.

I have learned through my beautiful daughter that a child is a child is a child, regardless of colour, they all have the same needs and wants, they want to give and receive love and they are all equal in value, regardless of their colour.

It amazes me that we were chosen to be Ava’s parents because of what we could teach her and the life we could offer her. I often wonder if her birth mother will ever know the profound impact her placement has had on us, our families and our friends, I wonder if she will ever know how much Ava is teaching us?

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  • Reply Sue Stuart

    Must have been awesome to watch. Just goes to show, you’re never too old for anything. I hope that Ava-Grace will be able to handle any such situations as her name says – with grace – but also with confidence in who she is and how much she is loved.

    August 16, 2011 at 9:51 am
  • Reply Tanya

    What an amazing post!

    August 16, 2011 at 10:08 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    I don’t like racism at all. It annoys me that a child should be judged by their colour, or any person for that matter.Lovely post. I agree with all the sentiments fully.

    August 16, 2011 at 10:38 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    LOVED this Shar. Beautifully put. If only more people could “see the light”. I am completely intolerant of racism. It is unnecessary and hurtful. The World could do without it. x

    August 16, 2011 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Mash

    We did the Landmark advanced course a few weeks ago, and there was a section on racism. As you know their format is all about sharing, and so a black woman got up and admitted that she hates afrikaaners. By the end of it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I was sobbing like a child, it was so moving. We are all racists, even those of us that think we aren’t… we are all sexist, ageist, and we all have tiny bits of all kinds of prejudices. It’s owning up to it that matters, it’s owning up to it that starts to heal it 😉

    August 16, 2011 at 11:31 am
    • Reply Sharon

      I agree 100% with what you have said Mash. Every one of us, no matter how we would try to deny it, has some kind of prejudice!

      August 16, 2011 at 11:38 am
    • Reply St. Elsewhere

      Mash, I loved your comment. I have lost my alphabets recently, but it is a fantastic thing to put into words and all.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply St. Elsewhere

    I am such an ignorant bum. Will you hate me, if I revealed that I am an ignorant bum? I was not aware Ava was a mixed-race child. Seriously, nor did her 100 photographs here or on FB made me think like that at all.

    I loved the post totally and great perspective. The story of Oprah that you cited is amazing!

    August 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply reluctantmom

    That was such a great post – made me have a little cry jag.

    You know the issue is always that people will be afraid of what they do not know and judge it – often in a negative light.

    You can’t change everyone’s perceptions, nor can or will Ava.

    But you are giving her the best and most prized gift I think our children can learn from us: -an open questioning mind, a sense of being grateful for what you have and where you have come from to get there, an abundance of love, enough hugs to make your ribs sore and most importantly a sense of who she is.

    If a child knows who they are – really knows who they are – no one will be able to belittle them, or hurt them by trying to make them question their worth. Because they know their sense of worth by having parents/carers who love them for who they are – and they feel that sense of “I am important to someone” – I am not sure how to word it.

    Ava will be fine. You and Walter will be – and are – great.

    Kids have a tough journey no matter what their background is. I would hate to go through school and puberty again – it was tough, and kids are brutal.

    August 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm
  • Reply Laura

    Lovely post!! I missed that last segment.

    Sometimes our children teach us more than we teach them!

    August 20, 2011 at 10:12 am
  • Reply Julia

    Beautiful, moving, poignant post. Your girl is so, so blessed to have you and Walter as her parents.x

    August 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm
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