Showing posts from February, 2011

Once again: On parenting cross culturally - From Precious Williams blog

Is love enough?

Earlier this month UK Children's Minister Tim Loughton vowed he'd relax rules around transracial adoption, making it easier for white families to adopt black and other minority children.

But can a black child really thrive in a white home? Is love enough? And why are so many white celebrities adopting African-origin children......?

This question was answered brilliantly by Cynde. Cynde is white and American, fabulous and also an adoptee herself, and she has gone on to adopt two black daughters. She also happens to be my Aunt, through marriage, and we first became acquainted when she contacted me after reading my memoir Color Blind, which of course deals with transracial adoption. Here is what Cynde has to say on the subject:

"As a trans-racial adoptive parent my answer is yes, color does matter in parenting. Especially when adopting across color and cultural lines. To pretend there is no difference serves only to help the parent stay in denial of a color cons…

This is what Precious Williams wrote back to me

Dear Martina

Thank you so much for writing to me. I'm up against a deadline right now so can't write very much but I just wanted to say hi and touch base with you. I had a quick peak at your blog and saw the absolutely adorable photo of your daughters on there!

I actually may be visiting South Africa later this year. It will be my first trip there although I've previously visited Zim and Botswana. If I do visit I'd love to meet for a coffee or something. But will write more soon.

All the best


and me of course can't stay quiet for 5 minutes had to reply immediately....

Dear Precious

I am so happily surprised and moved by your warm and positive response. I hope you don’t mind me publishing your email on my blog as I want more people to know about you and am so excited with the prospect of possibly starting some sort of dialogue around color, adoption, parenting and the joy and angst of it all!

One thing I am struggling with as my daughters get older is to…

Invitation to Precious Williams

Dear Precious

I have read about you in Elle Magazine – and as a white mother of 2 adopted African children I went through a roller coaster of emotions trying to put your story into perspective for myself and my family. I so wish I could meet you talk to you and just let you see my two utterly and totally beloved girls and how we live our lives together. There is no such thing as the perfect family and ours is by no means that. But I can say this with conviction and from the wisdom of my heart – nothing but love (or the universe or fate or god if you believe in god) put us together as a family. There were no ulterior motives (and Madonna had no hand in it either ). I did not “choose” to have black children. I chose to have children but they decided which way and shape and color they were going to come to me.

To me they are the most beautiful children in the world and the greatest gift the universe has ever given to me.

And as we travel on this journey through life we go nowhere unnot…

the color of love - Precious Williams story

Some of you might have read about Precious Williams in the February issue of Elle.  She is a "black"  woman, born in England to a Nigerian mother and a father from Sierra Leone. Her father  left shortly after her birth (which I think was sometimes in the 60ies or maybe 70ies) and her mother -unable to cope - advertised her (those were her exact words!!!) in a magazine to find a private foster home for her. Only days after her birth Precious Williams was handed over to a "kind hearted elderly woman who was lonely and suffering from agoraphobia (.... and who) felt a foster child would give her a new lease of life". The reason this lady wanted a "black" child was also explained: "...she'd read the novel Uncle Toms Cabin and fancied the idea of a child who reminded her of Topsy, a slave child depicted in the book."  ( comment from me needed here.....)

The article then goes on to describe Precious Williams life from her perspective in an al…

Yesterday I had a my midlife crisis - nothing to do with my kids and totally private!

It was horrible. How can one be soooo old and feel totally normal? In fact I don't feel any different from when I was turning 30. Clearly that was also horrible. Little did I know...

My mother - at 73 - did not have any advise to offer. As always her 7th sense when it comes to my moments of screaming crazy crisis kicked in and she phoned me at about repetition 5627 of  my 24 hour mantra (am old, am fat, am useless.... am almost 50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

How ARE you darling?

(how am I? HOW I AM? you should know! 50. Terrible . Distraught. I think I need medication...)

She made soothing noises and said: I know, it's bad! (?????????? ...Yes and??? the only alternative to getting old is dying young?????)

Here I was hoping to get some pearls of wisdom from somebody who's been there, but all I got was silent confirmation of my worst case scenario: It's all downhill from here on...

As I look around  at dinner tables, parent evenings, (senior citizen gatherings...) - I think to my…

You don't know what it's like - The race issue AGAIN

In the last couple of days the tiresome issue of racism forced itself into my life - not for the first time- things I've been reading, things friends have been telling me, things that I sometimes worry about - but have mainly managed to avoid so far.

Maybe it's time I give it some thought before the whole ugly truth catches up with me?

And which truth might that be?

As a lighter skinned individual with two beautiful daughters a couple of shades darker than myself or my husband (yes that would be Alan again) - I not only have to worry about what my children might be faced with in the years to come - it seems I am not qualified to prepare them adequately. In fact according to some I am not even qualified to raise them.

A most popular opinion amongst those who oppose cross-color-adoption - and they only say this as they love to point out With-The-Childs-Best-Interest-At-Heart -  is that because I haven't experienced racism first hand I should not be raising people who might …

The new kid at school - past horror revisited.....

I don't know about you, but I hated being the new kid - and still remember the feeling of dread like a horrible man-sized slug slurping around in my belly before going into a new class or playing for the first time  in a new neighbourhood.

In fact, thinking about last night's PT meeting at Leah's new school - I still have it. . .THE DREAD.  I can mask it better today (I hope). Well, I didn/t dissolve into tears entering the classroom and I didn/t cling onto Alan's shirt sleeve for more than a couple of minutes . I even talked to somebody I didn/t know and when it came to all-round-introductions (always my worst part of any event)  I managed to say my name and my daughters name without stammering or losing my voice. So that's OK, I am telling myself, I am not 5 anymore and things are looking up.

But do they? Every morning when I leave my 5 year old standing or playing by herself in a classroom full of kids who all seem to know each other - I have to choke back tear…