Monday, November 22, 2010

Voices of Adoption


Anyone connected to adoption from any angle should check out the first issue of a brand-new magazine, The Adoption Constellation. It will be a quarterly print publication from Adoption Mosaic, a website which seeks "to create a safe space where adoption community members can voice their experience, dialogue about issues, and learn from one another."

I'm honored to have been invited to adapt my "White Mind" columns, directly addressing white adoptive parents of children of color. Many of the articles in the magazine touch on aspects of transracial adoption.

(Sketch of young dancers at a New Year's celebration sponsored by the Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine, 2010)

Becoming the parent of a child of color is often (and should be!) a radicalizing experience of seeing the significance of race and racism, and of becoming committed to racial justice and awareness. Such families are often on the front lines of the discussion about the importance of diversity in children's books, seeking stories in which our children can see themselves reflected.


4 comments:

Michelle Cusolito said...

Please drop by my friend Alison's blog. She was adopted as a child and has both biological and internationally adopted children. She writes passionate, thoughtful, inspiring, and sometimes upsetting posts on this topic.

http://theyreallmyown.blogspot.com/

mamacandtheboys said...

Hello Mama! So great to share the honor of being in that magazine with you! I'll be pushing that when it comes time to woo the publishers! Wishing you and yours a marvelous holiday season. Thinking of you.

BENRALI said...

I found your postings in SCWBI and found them meaningful, powerful and overdue within the children's book market. Congratulations on your invitation to discuss adoption as well. This comment is basically to respond to your previous postings. While I think its very important for minorities to be displayed as the hero or heroine...what ever happened to minority artist who simply wanted to do naturalist books or books about animals etc... In other words I feel there is so much pressure to add minority characters that in a way it pigeon holes us too. Don't get me wrong I believe what you are saying is true....but where are the minority "Audubons", or voice overs for natural history channels, or the authors for those tons of natural history learning books you find in museums etc... Discrimination doesn't only happen on the character level...but even in assignments that minority artists get to work on. White mind...I hate to say is just the tip of the ice berg....it almost seems as if there is a conspiracy to force it upon people... studying White anglo saxon ( free mason) beginnings in America...I find it hard to believe that things will change.

Anne Sibley O'Brien said...

Thanks so much for raising this important point, Benrali. Amen.

It seems to me one more argument that all of us who create books for children should make sure we consider allour children. In the current setting, (mostly) white editors sometimes seem to impose that responsibility on writers and illustrators of color alone, with the expectation (and sometimes outright pressure) that if you're black, you'll necessarily create "black" books, if you're Asian ..., etc. Imagine the works we are losing by imposing such a narrow vision!

If we all saw all of our children as all of our responsibility, that would be reflected in the books we created. If many more writers and illustrators of color were being published, there would be more room for a wider range of work. It would free individual artists to follow their own visions, wherever that took them, without the burden of being expected to fill a gap.

It's one place where a certain kind of colorblindness could actually be useful: that each of us would be seen first and simply as an artist, with the whole world as material.