WHAT?My friend was very distressed about it. She thought she had said something or done something to make Jameson say this.
I have to admit when I first heard it, I too was quite distressed, upset, and honestly embarrassed. Have I failed as an adoptive parent of an African-American child that she would think it, much less say it?
Embarrassed? Why? That's an odd response. I know. I'm pouring my heart out here people. I don't have the answers. I'm really trying to work this one out in my mind.
I guess a part of me is devastated that she would even think that. We try SO hard to make sure that we don't and others around us don't ever insinuate that anyone is better than anyone else. There is no difference. And we make sure to tell that to ALL of the children. Girls can do anything boys can do. We learned sign language to communicate with our deaf friends. We talk about people who look different than us and the fact that God made us all. We are equal in His eyes, therefore we should be equal in each others eyes.
I don't know. I don't even know where to start with this. It's not that she doesn't have friends who look like her. I can't imagine she wonders if people are embarrassed of her dark skinned friends. We have more friends who have dark kids than we do friends with light kids. It's not that she doesn't see many, many other families that look just like ours.
A part of me wonders if what she was really saying was not about race or ethnicity, but more about Jameson herself.
"Are you embarrassed to be with me?"
She has such an innate sense of inferiority. I see it all the time. I see it in her nervousness to answer questions in school. I see it in her constant need for approval from everyone. Her performance anxiety follows her everywhere. I hear it in her apology for every thing she does.
Today I heard her asking the Magic 8 Ball, "Am I special?"
She comes from a country where, let's be honest, women and especially little girls, are not seen as having a lot to offer. She has lived in superstar brother Josh's shadow her whole life. Before they came home, when people who had met them would talk about them, it was always about him. Never about her. It's like she was invisible.
And to be perfectly honest, a part of me wonders if she doesn't say and do things like that with the right people just to get the attention she so desires. I notice when she's with other maternal figures, she often does things to "cling" on to them.
If I'm talking with friends, Jameson won't leave the room to play with the other kids. She often asks friends mothers to do things for her that she can very well do on her own. The mom she said this to is one of the moms she really clings on.
It screams attachment disorder. And perhaps it is. I researched some on anxiety and attachment disorder and she seems to meet a lot of the criteria. I just kept thinking *hoping* it would get better. She doesn't seek others attention to avoid contact with me. Believe me, she's just as attention seeking with me. She knows who her caregivers are, yet it seems as though she never can get enough attention.
And I know it's about her. It's 100% about her, but it also becomes exhausting to attempt to make up for all of her inner issues.
It's not pretty. I admit it. It's becoming my own issue. My own parenting inferiority.
So what do I do?
Call Oprah and ask for advice on how to raise a secure African-American girl? Maybe I could get on her show...
What would you do?And which scenario is worse?
The fact that she believes herself to be inferior because of her race?
The fact that she would say something like that just to get more attention from a mother who isn't hers?
For the first time ever, I questioned whether I had done the right thing... bringing children of a different color into our family. Not so much our family, but rather into this very Caucasian area of the country.
I will be honest, I never thought much about it. I exaggerate. I thought about it. I just thought it would be something that enough love and enough reassuring would make up for it.
Did I just admit that?
I guess I had so much love to give, that I assumed we'd all be singing kumbaya around a campfire somewhere not noticing that we were all different colors. Color was never an issue to me, therefore I wrongly assumed color wouldn't be an issue to them. I'm so afraid I made a crucial miscalculation in the importance of what is means to be black. What it means to "fit" in and be a part of the black community.
How do I go about that when I have no idea?
I would love to hear from my African-American readers about your thoughts on this. Adoptive parents - any ideas? I'm desperate to do the right thing. I don't want her to spend another minute thinking any of these thoughts.
Makes me wanna sing kumbaya by some campfire and not think about it... kinda like sticking my head in the sand.
Ah... sweet campfire sand. I miss you.