Transracial Fostering and Adoption: Committing to Fatherhood

b6a13b26-2477-43ec-94bb-e57ce01c0dbb.jpg

“Why so young?” Is the million dollar question I always get. Committing to be a father didn’t mean my life was over - it meant Life was finally starting to get better for me. Fatherhood gave me a purpose and it was at a time in my life I really couldn’t see what was ahead for me. While becoming a foster parent I definitely couldn’t predict the outcome would be Adoption.

If you thought adopting a child at 22 years old was out of the ordinary, throw in the fact that your child is Caucasian and you’re African American. Now, at the time, I didn’t understand how uncommon our situation was as a family. I must admit, before Jaxon came along my experience with white children was at a zero. I didn’t realize how much I needed to know about before caring for him.

Here’s the shortlist of what I didn’t prepare for:
1. Where to go for haircuts
2. What kind of foods he eat
3. Yes, I forgot sunscreen once or twice
4. Proper clothing (cultural wise)
5. And the fact that he would call me “Dad”

This list, among other things, is not something I anticipated when agreeing to take Jaxon into my home. I definitely had a lot to learn at the time and didn’t have a problem admitting it. Out of that list, the one thing that surprised me the most was Jaxon calling me Dad. Honestly, when he first said it I was extremely surprised. In that moment what I realize was that this child is about to change my life for the better. Jaxon is going to teach me so much more then his little heart knows. I would think to myself, “How can he just call me Dad without giving it a second thought?”, “Am I really deserving of this title that this child has bestowed on me?”, “Does he realize I’m Black?”. Here’s the truth, Jaxon didn’t care what I looked like, all he wanted was to have a consistent father in his life. He wanted someone to commit to take care of his needs as a child. For him to embrace me as his father and not feel embarrassed to call me, a black man, Dad spoke volumes. Sure, we would get looks when he would call me Dad in public it just didn’t matter to him.

d39887d7-0699-4c39-a3d1-1f5232b6deb3.jpg

Committing to being Jaxon’s father meant, to me at least, that every decision I made had to revolve around him and his well-being. We lived in a very urban area, personally I didn’t feel comfortable keeping him there in that environment. Me being a committed father, I felt we needed to move to a more diverse area with schools that presented better opportunities and resources, so that’s what I did. In addition it was important to me that Jaxon was able to see more people that looked like him on a regular basis.

Let’s face it, we will never avoid conversations about race outside our home but inside I’m thankful there are no issues. I actually don’t foresee any issues in the future. Why? My boys know they have a father that is committed to their character and well-being, not their skin.

“Get Connected, Stay Connected”