Question: Your perspective on how white adoptive parents can work at gaining support from the AA community in adoption (in terms of trust). I find that many of my AA friends/ acquaintances aren’t to keen about my adoption. I want to work at finding that support in my local AA community. I want to meet folks where they are I’m not expecting them to come to me.
Answer: Well, this is quite a dilemma you have here. Don't feel bad because you are not alone. I'll let you in on a little secret, a lot of African Americans aren't too keen on us (other AA) adopting African, Haitian or any baby of color that is not "African American." I get criticized regularly for my Ethiopian adoption so, my first point is: you will not be accepted by all African Americans simply because you are adopting a little brown baby. Now, once your little bundle of joy is here he/she will clearly be American and be considered African American through most eyes. So, how do you get the adults to understand you want to meet them where they are and you don't expect them to meet you where you are? Simply put, lots of hard work and effort.
Don't use where you live, your family, friends, work, community or any of that as an excuse. What I mean by all of that is, it takes a concerted effort. Let me give you an example. In Cleveland my Aunt has a friend who is white who adopted a black daughter. They live in an all white community yet weekly she drives 35 + miles (one way) to make sure her daughter can play and socialize with another black child and family. The mother has made friends with my Aunt who, in turn, has introduced her to other families. Her child may live and go to school in an all white community during the week but, on the weekend she is part of an African American community and activities (The irony of this is my Aunt lives in a white community also but hers has a few more Blacks). The mother joined a black mother's group and no they were not too keen on her joining at first. She said she joined for her child and kept coming back, they eventually got over it (she had a lot of "balls" and my Aunt had to fight for her). Ultimately, you simply need to have very, very, very thick skin and keep the course. Eventually, the community and your acquaintances will come around. And then the honest truth is some of them never will. I have lost some friends on my journey to adopt my child(ren) and you know what? That is fine by me! If they can't accept this new part of my life and that God has called for me to be a mother to 1 or 2 children from Ethiopia then they are not meant to be in my circle.
So, you have to continue to expose your child and make sure it is all about your child. Be clear, what they are saying under their breath is "uh hu" sure...we'll see...but is that really any different from what I would get if I decided I loved hockey and am now a huge fan. I want to know everything about it and go to all the games and become part of the community. I want to be accepted and I want everyone to love me. Nope! Probably not. Hockey is a predominately white sport. Are there any blacks that play? I'm sure there are at least 1 or 2 we are everywhere (heehee) but you get my point! Eventually, the people at the hockey ring would see I really am serious about hockey because I keep coming back every week...then I can speak the language, I know the people and I'm comfortable in the arena, nothing is made up.
Becoming part of the African American community will be the same for you. However, whatever you do please, please, I beg you as you try to meet AA where they are do not speak Ebonics or say one of my best friends is black, neither are cool at all! LOL