We haven’t taken our newborn out much since birth. She has been to visit family, made a trek through the mall in her Baby Bjorn, slept through a couple of meals at our favorite Mexican restaurant and made a cameo at her older sister’s cheer competition. Although she hasn’t made many appearances yet, she brings curious and questioning (sometimes disapproving) looks anywhere she goes. You see, we are white and Ramsey is black.
Prior to Ramsey’s arrival, we were two white moms with three daughters who were adopted from Guatemala. Just a couple of months ago we received a surprising call from our adoption agent. We had been chosen to parent a beautiful little black girl who was soon to be born. Like most adventures in life, we jumped in with both feet.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that we have always had a diverse family. Subconsciously, maybe we were preparing for this time with the strong black men and women who are already amongst our extended family and friends.
Some people want to know how we will maintain her hair. Others are concerned with how we will teach her about her “blackness.” I don’t know that we are qualified to do either. What I do know is this.
We can teach her about love. We can teach her about family. My wife and I can show her what a loving relationship looks like, and how fierce a parent’s love can be. We can lead by example and show her responsibility, loyalty, honesty and integrity. We can fill her world with strong black role models who can teach her about customs and sow seeds of culture that we may never fully understand.
We will tell her that she will be seen as different from us, different from her sisters and sometimes, different from her peers. She will know that she may have to go above and beyond to prove herself at times. We will celebrate her accomplishments and love her through her mistakes. We may not be able to teach her how to be a strong black woman, but we can teach her how to be a strong woman. Both of us know a little bit about that.
Oh, and that hair! Well, my hope is that she will embrace the gorgeous pile of natural curls she has been blessed with. However, if she decides she wants to try a weave or a wig, that’s okay, too. Lord only knows I wasn’t born this shade of blonde!
One thing is for certain. She belongs to this colorful clan. We will love her forever. That’s what we do. A strong black woman chose us to be Ramsey’s parents. She had faith in us. Maybe the rest of the world can, too.