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Robyn Wells believed she went into the adoption of her Ethiopian son with eyes wide open.She and her husband Timothy, a police officer and Army veteran, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, brought Ben home when he was four years old.In our own adoption training I mostly remember sitting in our agency’s room with other prospective white parents nibbling on fruit and cheese, listening to white people talk about race.The main takeaways were either aesthetic in nature, about the practicalities of black hair and skin care, or hopelessly broad.
I don’t want Ben to ever be afraid of police or to ask So what can parents do?She accepts for now that she is confusingly adrift between her American and Chinese identities.“I think every adoptee inevitably is going to go through a period where the shock of race is real,” she says. And when you’re really depressed and feel really different you don’t want to hear .“I figured I’d have to explain some name-calling, have hard talks about language, navigate the waters when somebody’s parent won’t let my son take their daughter to prom,” she says.
“But what I have been surprised by is this: At no point in the process of considering transracial adoption did I think I would have to teach my son how to stay alive.” First, she says of her awakening, there was the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
She encouraged her daughter to apply for Chinese mentorship programs at UCal, though Scott resisted because growing up she found herself increasingly disinterested in exploring her Chinese culture.