Our family gets some double-takes when we're out and about. Some of it is the eclectic nature of this party of five. A lot is Asher being arrestingly cute. Occasionally we will get disapproving looks from older African-Americans. Recently, one woman's withering glare did not escape Jada's notice, so she asked me about it.
I told her that some non-black families who adopt black kids do not seem to think it relevant to help their adopted children understand and embrace their blackness. When you don't have to think about race, you assume that it isn't relevant to how you raise your kids, "since love is all that matters."
This is obviously terribly devaluing to a child's heritage, and incredibly unhelpful for their preparation in a world that will view them a certain way irrespective of who their parents are and how they were raised. It is a destructive and insensitive worldview that has led many people to oppose trans-racial adoptions, so while I didn't want Jada to think that I was OK with this woman's disapproval, nor did I want her to think that that sentiment came out of nowhere.
Amy and I are keenly aware of the many ways we fall short as parents, but we are proud of the fact that we are providing a forum for our kids to learn from our clunkiness, especially on issues of race. In their lives, all of our kids will encounter racism many times over, and many times over they will knowingly or unknowingly participate in it. But it will make me immensely happy if their predisposition is to engage and not shrink back, ever seeking to understand and be understood, never shying away from being who they are or from sweeping an uncomfortable topic under the rug.