Democracy, rainbow nation, colourful. All sweet sounding words to sugar coat a rather bitter tasting pill. As a mother of two adopted (black) children I am painfully aware that we have not moved forward since 1994, or ever, when it comes to racism and bigotry.
I’ve had so many comments directed at me, from complete strangers to a few family members. The first was just after Emma was home with us and we were out at a park. A woman came up to me and very angrily expressed her opinion about me ripping Emma away from her biological mother and not raising her according to her culture. I’ve had people comment about me being a k***** lover and that I’m trying to be Madonna or Angelina.
A little closer to home I’ve had people tell me that Emma is very clever…for a black child and the first time Emma rolled off the couch onto the floor, a well-meaning ‘friend’ told me not to worry because their heads are much harder than ours.
People have asked me whether Emma is “healthy” (yes, in inverted commas) because all black babies have HIV / AIDS. I have been asked if I’m going to get Ben circumcised according to his cultural beliefs. Of course I am, because we send all the boys in our family up to the hills when it’s time and they come back as men.
And more recently I had a person comment to her friend, while I was kissing and cuddling Emma, ‘would you kiss THAT?’
There is also discrimination from black people. In their opinion I am trying to ‘colonize’ my children. On one occasion when I actually entertained a conversation on whether a black baby is better off in a ‘shelter’ or with white parents, I was told that the baby, without a doubt, should remain in the shelter. I, as a white woman, cannot teach a black child their culture or traditions and therefore am robbing them of their identity. Sitting in a home and getting stuck in a system that neglects children is a better option than being with me? Because I’m white? No identity is better than growing up in a home with parents who love them, regardless of colour? Really.
I battle with this narrow mindedness. I did not open my heart and home to two children to make a statement, political or otherwise. The cards I was dealt meant I couldn’t have my own children but that did not take away my need, want, love to be a mother.
As far as I’m concerned, our diverse little family is creating our own culture, one where respect, kindness and love is encouraged. Surely that’s all any family wants for itself. Regardless of race, colour or creed.
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