Adoption. Part 2: It Hurts Me

It did not rub off. The “dirty” skin I was teased for just a few steps away from my favorite spot on the monkey bars, this dark skin felt permanent. Frustrated and glaring at skin and soul both, my childhood heart detached from part of my identity. I did not return to recover it again until my mid-thirties. Nearly three decades after the dismissal of pride and the onset of shame, I started to be free again to live vibrantly as me. Only recently have I been okay with not being white.

My skin does not make me less than or make me smaller than others as I was taught that grade school day. Now I know it clarifies my uniqueness in some communities. My skin crosses bridges to people, to humanity, to trauma, and to belonging. This dark skin coupled with a tender spirit dilutes grudges and fears and helps those who have been systemically and institutionally oppressed or oppressive. I get to speak truth as a dark skinned person in ways that oppressed feel heard and oppressors see aggressions.But before I arrived at claiming ownership of my skin and its beauty, I endured the detachment and the ugliness of self-loathing. In order to free myself from shame, I had to learn my life experiences and heart could help others find their path to freedom.

The color of my skin has always been linked with my adoption into a white family and white community. Inferiority and identity angst as the rescued brown girl lapped over the edges of my thoughts for decades. I want to share more about adoption. Yet, I always stop myself. I assume others do not think like me or my words would come off as ungrateful…


Today, invited to write more than usual of how adoption hurt me, I share some of the cost of being a transracial adoptee.. Read the full post by clicking here to read my contribution to the The Mudroom Blogseries on Race and Culture.

Please also check out Part 1 of this series and stay tuned for the third and final part. I am willing to speak of hurt, but to those who loved me, those who are waiting to adopt, and those in the years of navigating a multi-race family, please take heart. Adoption has beauty; let love lead.

5 thoughts on “Adoption. Part 2: It Hurts Me

  1. We just picked up a car from our favorite painter in Mendota, Va. The couple has adopted a brilliant and bright like African American boy at birth and now at seven he is asking similar questions about why he is the only “brown” kid around. I sent them a link to your blog for their information. I know it will help to see things from the adopter side. So happy you are feeling better. You are an intelligent, beautiful woman and I am proud to call you a friend. Peace.


  2. I read your words through the lens of Ilana, Mike and Claudia, and hope that your experience will help me to see more clearly what is innately so foreign to me (a very white person in a very white world). I know how much that little girl is loved and adored and can hardly imagine a day when she will think of herself as anything but loved and adored and a part of our family. Yet, as she grows older, skin color will point out to her that she’s different. Her story is different in yours in that she will know her birth family. But yet – the struggles that go along with being given up…. 

    Thanks for pointing out that while adoption is a wonderful thing, it still can hurt. You’re right in saying that we (I) all want to brush over that fact and just land in the land of gratitude.  I believe your struggle with it is being used for conversation and deeper understanding – that it’s never all just cut and dried.

    Much love to you. I would write more, but have an appt and wanted to scribble down my thoughts while they were fresh in my mind.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Marie, it is a gift to me and to others that you wrote your thoughts as they came. You help me view family and hope in renewed ways and I am thankful that we can learn from one another. I pray a blessing over those you love.


Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s