Judged

Ok, ok, so this may be the sickest post I have ever posted.

Yes, I have erased my child’s face…just to prove a point.

Periodically I leave Zoe’s hair down and natural. It is beautiful, so beautiful in fact, my partner and I joke before going out in public and ask each other, “Do you want an average day of compliments or do you want an over the top day?” Over the top means we are goin’ natural. Meaning, every white woman we come into contact with, as well as every white man, will GUSH over Zoe’s hair and how beautiful and healthy and stunning it is.

BUT

I will run into judgement when I enter the black community. Case in point, the mall…

I felt judged by every black woman I passed at the mall this weekend with Zoe and her natural hair. I hear the whispers. I hear the comments they make to each other about me, “THAT baby’s hair ought to be in BRAIDS!”

And I ask, WHY?

Naturally beautiful

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S. Street Does it Again!

“Good Hair”

Oh how I wish everyone would see “Good Hair” the hair documentary by Chris Rock of all people. Well done and super interesting. I have been reading about african american hair a lot these past two years and it has been a huge area of contention in our home. We still have some contact with Birthmom who has all these notions on what black hair needs and doesn’t need. And really what it all boils down to is that it is a giant crock of you know what. I have posted about this before in my post My Daughter Came Home All Ghetto. But much of what is assumed that black hair needs is really more of a cultural, traditional and folklore “need”…black hair really does not need anything differently than any other type of hair. In fact, there is no such thing as “black hair” there are colors of hair and textures of hair…and they need to be treated as so…

The documentary “Good Hair” was just the icing on the cake for me. You have to see it!

Black/White It’s Alright

There is a blog I follow (what’s the word for a blog “friend”?) www.rageagainsttheminivan.com and today she posted about an experience her black boys had on the basketball court, they are 2 and 5 years old. This stirs up so many feelings for me as a mother of two african american (black, really because they are not african, they have no immediate african ancestry) adoptive children. I posted awhile back about a run in I had at Gymboree (I Had a Moral Obligation). And today reading this blog stirs it all up for me again.

You see, I see things like this happen already. We are blessed because our day care the children attend is an awesome day care on the campus my partner teaches at. It is also smack dab in the heart of downtown, and has a large african american population. So our children have  very mixed classrooms. But, we take our kids to so many places and have seen the looks.

There is a mall in Thousand Oaks, CA we go to quite a bit, it has an indoor tot area. We love to let the kids run some crazies out there. And I can see the parents look at our kids and then scan the area for the “black parents” that must belong to these kids. I can then almost see the sigh of relief when they realize we belong with them. It’s like they say, “Oh, good! The are adopted by white people, it’s ok.” But then, there is the added judgement that gets thrown in when they realize they are adopted by two lesbians…

I have parents wonder who our kids parents are at the children’s museum, and are always kind of shocked when its us. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people endlessly scanning the room when there are no african americans in it, wondering where the parents that belong to these children went.

I have run into children who say, “Is that your son?” When I say, “Yes” they say, “Cool”. I have run into kids who have said to Carter, “where is your mom?” When Carter points to me, he said, “Where?” Carter just kept pointing to me and then the little boy said, “The white one” to which Carter is just too young to understand that question. Staci ran into a child at one of the playgrounds who said, “Is that your little boy?” And when Staci said, “Yes” she said, “Oh, he looks like you.” Which is hilarious!

What to do? I worry about it a lot, our kids being ridiculed for not only being black but also adopted AND by lesbians to boot.

According to the 2000 Census over 46% of the children being raised by same sex couples are children of color. This gives me hope because according to a study done by Ellen Perrin, MD, professor of pediatrics at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, that studied and followed more than 500 children to adulthood that were raised by same sex couples, found that children of same sex couples do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals. But more astounding to me are these findings;

  • “There are interesting suggestions that these children are more tolerant of differences.”
  • “The children of lesbian couples also appeared to be less aggressive, more nurturing to peers, more tolerant of diversity, and more androgynous,” playing with toys for both boys and girls.

So, yes, it is up to us. To make the differences, to prepare our children for the world they are in. To think that the large majority of children being raised by same sex couples are of color and will be raised in an environment that is more tolerant of differences, less aggressive, more nurturing and diverse is so very hopeful and positive. Shame on others who are not raising their children as accepting.

We talk about it now with our kids. We say, “Carter, look at your beautiful black skin.” “Mommy is white, Carter and Zoe are black, Isa (one of their friends from Guatemala) is brown. And it’s ok. Everyone is different.” We talk about being adopted. They get none of this yet. But the point is, it will be their normal. It will not be foreign or scary. And it shouldn’t be. We talk about their hair and how beautiful it is, coarse and curly. As much as combing Zoe’s hair is a major battle and struggle in our home, I do not ever want her to feel that she has “bad” hair.

I know that Carter will also have greater difficulties because he is darker than his sister Zoe. The fact that I worry about them is a good thing, it is not a paralyzing fear but rather a cautionary fear that moves me to action. It moves me to make every encounter count. Every encounter with other children that are different  a learning experience and a positive one.

More Nudred pics…

Not so sure about this thing yet…let’s see what he looks like when he wakes up tomorrow. The potion is all natural and smells nice but it sort of greasy.

Nudred attempt one

I’m undecided on the Nudreds ability. I think Carters hair on top is too long.

My Daughter Came Home all “Ghetto”

The bane of my existence right now are the once a week for 2 hours, supervised visitation our foster daughter has with her "mother". Our daughter is African American and I have been dreading this day…she is almost one and today she left our home with two cute pig tails in her hair, only to return with a head full of "grease" and 4 pony tails in her hair. Seriously? Now, this is where some may not agree with me…I was warned that this is a huge HUGE thing in the African American community…hair…but I have read tons in the past two years AND spoke with hair professionals and the truth, TRUTH is, that "grease" and crazy pony tail styles are NOT needed…it does not, "train" their hair…"grease" does not need to be applied to the scalp to make the hair softer…I am so sick of all this crap, which is basically folklore…it's what my "momma" did…etc.

Now, I embrace the fact that my children are black…I do…I know that hair is a huge part of identity and that is why I will maintain their hair with pride and make sure NOT to straighten it or anything that would make their hair different or damage it…but the "grease" and 900,000 hair pieces in their hair to me is crap. Its down right cruel.

We have books we read our children about african american hair and people…and knowing that our son is going to be a huge baseball player (I'm telling you this kid can run so fast and throw a ball with such accuracy it is scary) so we have already talked about making sure he is very educated on the Negro league, etc.

But this hair thing…I'm not buying it! And you tell me that if you put "grease" all in your hair and then went to bed at night it wouldn't rub off all over your sheets and then all over your face..that cannot be good.

I actually got into it yesterday at a CST meeting with "birthmom". Her visits have not been going well, and I had to sit and listen to how Z cries most of the two hours…and how mom needs to be prompted on when to pick her up and how etc…my blood was boiling…and then I had to hear about how she insisted on doing her hair, even though I had it up perfectly acceptable and cute…and Z was crying and she, even after her coaches told her to just leave it as she clearly was not happy about it…she insisted on doing her hair…I lost it…

She went on to say Z's hair was "nappy"…OH NO was I going to let her get away with that…I said, "Excuse me, that is NOT fair of you to say, nor is it accurate, you need to take that back because her hair is NOT nappy." She repeated (as if she were 4) "It's nappy"…I said, "NO, I know what nappy is and her hair is not nappy…you can comb through it at any time…it is dry but not nappy." Seriously WTF!

You see Z has a list of OT exercises we gave "birthmom" to work on with her during her visits…hard to find time to do those if you are spending time doing hair don't cha think? I nicely said, "What I would like to see for Z is for her to have help with her exercises during her visits instead of her hair done, as her hair is already done and her exercises are more important." She got very defensive and said, "I DO her exercises." (which two minutes ago she had said she sometimes does them) and I pushed…nicely…

I called her out on her shit is what I did. I was sick of her "I bore this child I know everything about her" shit…because truth be told, she has NEVER asked me a single thing about Z…she has asked me for photos and about her hair…NEVER has she asked me her favorite song, how I calm her down when she is upset…because she THINKS that she has some COSMIC connection because this child came out of her.

I nicely said, "I'm just trying to give you ideas to help you have better visits with Z"…to which she said, "I have nice visits. I know, I'm her mother…I know how to take care of her…I KNOW!" and I said, "Oh you know everything huh?"

THEN THE KICKER CAME…out of nowhere she yells, "YOU LIED TO ME!" I was like "WHAT?" I have NEVER LIED to you, when did I lie to you?" 

To which she says, "In court…" and she goes on to mention part of my testimony from last June…June of 2008! In the case her son we adopted…I was like, "IS THAT what this is all about? You're mad because we adopted your son?"

It was a complete mind Fu&% of a day…but in a way I am glad I flushed that response out of her…it just proves more that she does not change, she does not accept help or guidance because she thinks she knows what she is doing…

Ugh

I hope this is over with and in our favor VERY VERY soon! I have had just about enough of this woman!