Written by Rebekah McGee a New York Adoption Consultant with Adoptions from the Heart. She and her husband adopted an infant son from Ethiopia in 2012 after a 2.5 year adoption process. Their family then had two biological daughters in 2013 and 2017.
In our family, my husband and I and our two daughters are Caucasian, while our son is African-American. We thankfully live in a very diverse community and our son has the opportunity to attend a school that has many racial mirrors among his teachers and peers. At this point in life, we are eight years into parenting and one thing I have learned this far into being a transracial family is that there is much for me to learn!
We live in New York City and happen to be friends with some amazingly cool and inspiring African-American people. Our son has role models in his natural environment. However, I cannot depend on my son to naturally pick up that there is an amazing culturally history that he is a part of. One thing that my African-American friends have taught me is to take Black History Month seriously. This is a month that we have the opportunity to specifically highlight people from his birth culture that have been trailblazers. If I want my son to intentionally understand Black History, then my husband and I need to talk about it, read books about it, and go to events that celebrate it. It’s not only important for my African-American son, but for my Caucasian daughters to understand! If I am going to raise culturally aware children, it takes intentionality.
If you are a transracial family (or even if you are not!) this is the perfect time to have dinnertime discussions, check out books from your library, and watch movies that highlight the perseverance and accomplishments of African American people. As parents we should remain teachable and remember that it is okay to step out of our comfort zones so that we can be a positive example to our children. If Black History Month makes you a little nervous because you feel uneducated or unsure of how to incorporate it in your home, that is okay! I encourage you to start taking steps to incorporate Black History into your conversation today! As transracial families, we have the honor of bridging the gap between our children’s birth culture and their home life not only during Black History Month but all year long.