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Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Dreams

I've been having dreams... dreams about my future baby.

The dreams started shortly before we made the decision to adopt from Florida.  They are really vivid too.

In the dreams I see my baby... I see the baby's face.  I see his hands... yes, did I mention that it is very clear to me that the baby is boy, although I have seen nothing in my dreams to indicate that, it's just something that I know in my dreams.

The baby is also African American.  This, of course, does not bother me.  It worries me a bit because where we live has an disproportional number of bigots.  Am I ready for the challenge... absolutely.  Race has never been an issue for me.  I've never seen it as a barrier for anything and it has never made me uncomfortable.

I remember one New Year's Eve when I was about 22.  My best friend's mother used to invite her children's friends over for a huge feast.  My best friend was East Indian and her mother made the BEST food ever!!  Most of her brother's friends were from places like China, Africa, and India... all students studying in our province, but not able to go home for the holidays.  So my friend's mother would make the feast and invite everyone over to have a holiday time together.  It was awesome and it was nice to see everyone enjoying themselves... and did I mention that the food was awesome?

Anyway, this particular night, we sat for about three hours after supper just joking and having a good time.  Then, I looked around and it hit me... I realised that I was the only white person in the house!  I had not even realised it because I was simply enjoying the company so much.  Did I feel uncomfortable at that point... no.  It was a strange feeling of "wow, this is so bizarre".  As a white person in North America, that is not something that happens to us.  We are raised to know that anywhere we look we're going to see someone who looks "like us".  The comfort is inherent.  At that particular moment I had a very brief glimpse into what life would be like for someone of a different skin colour.  I don't claim to know how it feels to be a minority - I can never know that.  I have been raised with the white privilege that all white people have... it's not something that makes us bad, and we can't control it, but we need to be aware of it.

So what does this all mean for my future son.  It means, I think, that at least I have an awareness.  My child is not going to be able to look around and see someone who looks like him.  He is not going to be able to look around his own home and see someone who looks like him.  He is not going to have strong black men in his personal life as role models.  I have read where certain people claim that if you are adopting a black child, you should make friends with black couples.  That seems disingenuous to me.  Would I be friends with a black couple, of course.  But something about walking up and saying "hey, I'm adopting a black child, be my friend?  just seems wrong.

What I do know is this...  My son will be loved more than he could ever be loved by anyone else.  He will be raised to be a good person, a strong man, and man who loves animals and knows how to treat women properly.  He will be raised to understand and respect the views of all people in all races.  He will be raised to understand (unfortunately) that racism exists and that it is small-minded, unintelligent people who think that way... that he can't change how they think, but can only be the best person he can be and show them that they are wrong.  He is going to be raised to be proud of his race and not be ashamed that he looks different from his friends and family.  He is going to be raised to recognize his talents and abilities and develop those.  He is going to be raised to understand that people (including him) make mistakes and that it is ok to try and fail, as long as you put in your best effort.  He is going to know that he can be anything he wants to be, and that no matter what he does, his father and I will love him unconditionally.

So, no, I can't offer my future son a strong black male role model, but I'm confident that I can offer him a great start and the male role models that he will have (my husband, father, and father-in-law) will teach him what it means to be a man... regardless of race.

Oh and did I mention, in my dreams he is the most adorable baby you've ever seen?  But that goes without saying... right?

3 comments:

MN

I've often dreamed of a little African American son also. And while you do not want to force a friendship with an African American couple, you may find that you meet more and feel more of a connection especially if you are matched and know that your child will be African American. Whatever his race though, he will have wonderful parents. :-)

ADSchill

This is beautiful and I am so happy you are thinking about all this now. I think it's wonderful that you are going with your gut and your dreams and opening your heart to whatever comes your way. I wish you all the luck and happiness in your journey to mommy-hood.

Jenny

I think it's wonderful that you're dreaming of your baby. I know he's on his way to you. :)

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