"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
- James 1:27
My black boys are growing out their hair. Their hair is, at the moment, the bane of my existence. I believe that when I am not with my boys and black women see them, they say to one another, "That kid must have a WHITE mom."
Unfortunately, they are both receiving more than their fair share of compliments. No matter that their hockey helmets won't fit for much longer or that the bike helmets have to be loosened to the very tips of the straps to fit. They are cool kids.
Most adoptive parents are advised to place their kids in schools and neighbourhoods where there are other children that look like them. This is, undoubtedly, good advice. Due to circumstances, location and probably our own lack of motivation, we have not been very good at doing this with our boys. And so, they are the only black boys in their school. In fact, they are two of a very few non white kids in the school; there is a dappling of Aboriginal kids, and one adopted Chinese girl with a Ukrainian last name. Welcome to rural Saskatchewan!
The fact that the boys do not have black classmates sometimes causes great guilt in me. Not to mention the angst caused by the demands of parenting four kids (one is nearly a teenager, and already it's like having alien in my home) and managing my own insecurities about the fact that we are such an obviously mismatched (black and white) and imperfect (divorced) family. I am dropping the ball in so many ways. How will everyone grow up all right?
The other day Kidus brought home a tracing of his head that each child in his class had done to decorate the school gym for their traditional Friendship Meal celebrated each Easter. His tracing is huge and can hold the next biggest tracing in the confines of the bumpy green edges of his afro. It is hilarious and beautiful and I love it! On the tracing, his classmates have written the words that describe him: kind, fun, nice. That is him to a tee. I would also like to add understanding, compassionate, wise, and affectionate.
For the time being, this memento has calmed my troubled heart. His differences make him who he is, and "who he is" is kind, fun and nice.... and for the moment "who he is" is also a kid with an afro. But he is MY kind, fun, nice kid with an afro.
(But I am still hoping for a hot summer that makes them so uncomfortable that they want to shave their heads.)