The Poster Children For Mixed Race Adoption

I started Trinity Heart out of a deep desire to offer support & encouragement to others who found themselves in the same position as we had been in. Lost, hopeless and believing that their chances of adopting were slim to none because of all the myths that shroud adoption in South Africa. And Trinity Heart quickly became my passion project. If I could, I’d dedicate every moment of every day to that project.

What I hadn’t factored in was that my children would become the poster children for mixed race adoption in South Africa and its something I’m not always entirely comfortable with. My children are exactly that… my children. I don’t see them in terms of a colour or a race and I’m not always comfortable with the fact that whenever anyone asks on a support forum on blog about mixed race adoption, that my children are mentioned… It’s not that they’re mentioned that bothers me, it’s that they’re mentioned as a colour and not as people that gets my back up at times.

Being a cross cultural family means that we do have our own unique set of challenges. And this is an area I struggle with the most. I receive daily emails off the Trinity Heart website from people looking for assistance and the number one question I’m asked? The possibility of adopting within ones racial group. Now don’t automatically go assuming that its only white folk who are asking this question, this comes from all slices of our colour, cultural & religious pie. Indian couples wanting an Indian baby, Muslim’s wanting a Muslim, Chinese wanting a Chinese baby. It is natural to want to adopt within ones racial/cultural group. I get it. I understand why that would be first choice.

And herein lies the conflict. I get it because we too were like that when we first embarked on the adoption journey. We only wanted to adopt within our own racial/cultural group. But that changed. And with that change came some great lessons, lessons I’ve learned from my children, the most valuable of all… my infinite ability to love, because God knows, I love my children. Even though they don’t look like me, even though we don’t share any genetics, even though we’re from different & blended cultural, racial and religious backgrounds. I love them! I love them more than words can ever fully describe.

So I’m often left feeling frustrated when I counsel people who have contacted Trinity Heart. Firstly, I feel as though my children are rejected by them as not being good enough because they are not one specific race and secondly I feel frustrated for the desperate people out there, desperate to have a child, to experience what it’s like to be a mother or father and yet willing to limit their miracle, their chances of experiencing parenthood in all it’s beauty and challenges because of something as inconsequential (and it IS inconsequential when that child is placed with you and you fall so deeply in love that nothing else matters) as race/culture/religion.

And then I have to remind myself that I get it! I really DO get it because I was once there too and how lucky I am to have experienced what I have experienced and to know what I know and to love the way that I love my children.

photo (11)

And I have to remind myself to take my experience, my emotions, my thoughts & my opinions out of the equation and out of any advice I offer. And THAT is not always easy to do.

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  • Reply Rene

    This is such a difficult topic. My sister couldn’t have children, and I could never understand why she didn’t adopt. I think she might’ve been scared of having a child from another race. Recently she was in Namibia and they took toys to an orphanage and she fell in love with a girl there. One from another race. Incredible how she just connected with this girl. But she is now too old to adopt.

    At a teambuilding event recently we had to discuss biases, and the discussion ended up with one of the guys saying he can’t understand how people can adopt children from another race. It ended up with lots of fighting. He was saying it is a disservice to the child, who will never fit in anywhere or know their culture etc etc. My stance is the same as it is with gay marriage. Fine if you don’t want to adopt from another race, but why judge other people when they do.

    August 1, 2013 at 8:18 am
    • Reply Sharon

      I think people who think that way are very short sighted. His opinion is that it’s a disservice to the child. I believe it’s a far greater disservice to the child to put them in an orphanage and let them age out a system where they will never have known what it’s like to be part of a family, know love and support and people who have your back. I cannot agree with anyone who believes a child is better off growing up in an orphanage for the sake of race, culture or religion.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:10 am
      • Reply sophie

        Well said Sharon.
        I can understand the worries our kids will face because of race and religion or colour. This is such a pitty and has nothing to do with adoption but with our society not being open for “difference as an advantage” …. I personnally do not see my girl as black anymore because it matters so little, i just forget. It is only when I look at myself in the mirror that I think “God, I look so pale … ;-))”. I guess we better laugh with all those nasty comments showing narrowness of mind and better put our energy in giving our kids all the love and self respect they will need to laugh at those nasty comments themselves. After all, if we feel comfortable with it, they will too. You are obviously doing a great job and even if you get to deal with those nasty comments at Trinity of Heart, I am sure you inspire people with your example, that is great mothering and absolute love for your children !! Go on, you are doing a great job, Sharon !!

        August 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Tania

    Your daughters are beautiful! I can see they don’t look like you but I can say that I don’t think they stand out next to you as not being the same race, they stand out next to you because they are totally adorable and have sparkles of joy all over their faces and in their eyes.

    August 2, 2013 at 11:06 am
  • Reply Julia

    I LOVED this post. I actually wrote a post on race but I’m not brave enough to publish it.

    August 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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