When I was a teenager and my parents first adopted my teen brother, there were a lot of changes that happened quickly. Back then, I had never heard of the word transracial adoption. I just knew that my experience was very different than that of my friends or anyone that I knew. This was also my first introduction and experience of understanding my whiteness. Before that my white privilege let me believe that race was something that “other” people identified with. I struggled to make sense of my “new” identity as a white person and as part of a multiracial family.
I also know now that my feelings of uncertainty, exclusion, judgement, and anxiety were not unique to my multiracial family experience. Looking back now especially as a therapist, I can imagine how being connected to a multiracial community could have made experiences much less emotionally challenging for me and my family (including my brother, being a person of color coming into a white family).
As a therapist, when a client comes to me struggling with a life and/or family challenge, I have a plethora of methods and techniques that I can use to help them. One of the most effective tools that I can provide is helping clients connect to a community of people that are like-minded and/or share similar experiences. The natural hope, healing, and connection that community provides is in itself is therapeutic.
This became really clear again in my personal life when my husband and I were dating and attending pre-marital counseling. Our therapist also used community to help us navigate our challenges of forming a family unit being an interfaith couple, as I am Jewish and he is Muslim. She connected us with an inclusive community where we were accepted, where we could both fully be ourselves without being asked to change, and where we met other couples like us. Those community connections and opportunities were life changing in that we were able to see how we could exist in a world together as a couple and build a family despite receiving messages that we couldn’t.
Creating communities and joining communities where we are accepted, see our reflection in others, and build meaningful bonds is necessary for the well being of our children growing up in multiracial families. Being able to form these connections for ourselves as moms, with our partners, and for our families can be life changing.
In case you haven’t heard about it yet here’s how I describe the Multiracial Parenting Network:
In our multiracial parenting community we desire to raise our kids to believe in themselves, have pride in their background, and dream big.
As moms, especially white moms raising multiracial and/or children of color there is often a lot we have to learn and prepare for to ensure that we are addressing issues of race and culture in the most supportive way for our children.
As a white mom of multiracial children and a family therapist, I created this non-judgemental community so that we can learn, grow, and share together.
We ask hard questions about race with an openness to learn and without fear of judgement.
We celebrate our families multi-identity background.
We share books, tv shows, and other resources that support our identity as a multiracial family.
We brainstorm about the best way to advocate for our children at school and create inclusive spaces for them.
We receive advice for challenges with our partners and family that others don’t always understand.
We take action to create the community and world we want our kids to grow up in.
We are inclusive and welcome all voices including parents of color and LGBT families.
We don’t judge. We don’t criticize. We all love our kids. We are all doing our best. We all desire a better world to raise our children in.
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