In the same way that pregnant couples read books about 'what to expect when they are expecting' as adoptive parents-to-be we also have a reading list to work our way down.
Our book list is long because it includes books about infant care and parenting skills - just like every other mummy and daddy to be, but we also want to read books about attachment because we understand that this may take more intentionality with a child that does not share our genetics. We want to prepare ourselves that our own attachment may take longer than if I had birthed a child myself. Of course, it may happen instantaneously but we don't want to be shocked if it takes longer. It's big stuff and also a topic I have avoided in my reading to this point. Procrastination is still my best friend when it comes to facing hard truths!
However, at the moment I am reading a book called, "Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?' by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. J and I are open to adopting a baby that is of a different race than us so we want to learn from other families who have walked this path before us. After only reading the introduction of this book I am realising that living as a trans-racial family takes a ton of intentionality so that our children grow up with strong self image and a strong sense of connection to us as their parents, even if we are not the same colour.
Right now, I am reading the chapter about talking to children aged 2-5 about this issue. It is so interesting to hear the interviews and snippets of conversations from parents and their children to see how race is observed and understood by little ones.
We want to raise our children to know that they fully belong in our family even though we may not all be the same race, and it would not be in their best interest to just pretend that we were. Society is not colour blind. Our choice to (potentially) have a multiracial family is not something we want to be a struggle for our children, but we have to understand that to send them into the world without preparing them with a strong and positive sense of self image is unfair. Our home will be a safe, happy place but we cannot guarantee that the rest of the world will be.
I pray that this book and others we read will continue to prepare our hearts and minds for the job of parenting ahead. I have no doubt that we will love our children, but I am not naive enough to think that will mean there will not be hard times. Intentionality is vital in raising children that are well-adjusted and have a positive self image. Parenting, whether you have biological or adopted children is always challenging but we are hoping that we can be as prepared as possible before we have our little miracle. Not that we will learn all we need from books but it at least begins some good thinking and necessary conversations between J and I before we have a babe in our arms.
If any of you have book recommendations I would love to hear them. We are interested in reading about all sorts of parenting, child development and adoption topics.