At 2:30 in the morning two weeks ago, my wife and I decided to wake up the boys and head to the basement. There was a series thunderstorms approaching our community at 60 miles an hour and the National Weather Service was stating that the conditions were perfect for tornados. We gathered the boys out of bed and our two dogs and headed for the basement.
As we sat on the two futons in the basement, I tried to appear calm and unworried. We could hear the wind and rain upstairs and I was very concerned, but I didn’t want to startle the boys.
I was trying to have casual conversation talking about anything but the weather and then from the kitchen upstairs we all heard a sound. It was the sound of wind against the house followed by what sounded like glass breaking. At that point, urine almost evacuated out of me. I said something calm like, “ I wonder what that was,” but inside I was screaming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
About 30 minutes after the sound, I decided to go upstairs to see if we could emerge from our shelter. The sound of wind and rain had disappeared and it was now eerily quiet. My shaky legs climbed the basement stairs and to my relief there was no hole in the side of the house and I had trouble finding what made the crashing noise.
Finally, in the kitchen, near the window over the sink, I saw what generated what I thought would be the last noise I ever heard. The wind had pushed open the small kitchen window knocking off the window sill a small glass filled with decorative colored glass chips. As the glass chips hit the kitchen counter it made the sound of breaking glass.
I returned to the basement and notified everyone if was safe to go back to bed and explained what the sound was that we heard.
As I laid down in bed I thanked God for keeping us safe and I thought tomorrow I will have to come up with a better plan for emergencies.
The next day I learned several tornados touched down and 5 people in a rural area not too far from us were killed. Several of them were asleep and were unaware of the twisting danger outside their homes.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from authorities that you should always have an emergency plan for times such as this. There should be something in place that we follow to assure we have the best chance at survival. This thought of a plan wove its way in to my mind and attached itself to the thoughts I always have lingering in my mind about transracial adoption. Inside my head these two thoughts embraced and an important idea was created.
As many of you know, I always talk about the importance of connecting your transracial child with their culture and many agree this is an important concept. My fear is that this idea stays with you like the idea of having an emergency plan stayed with me. As life swallows us up, the important immediate need gets pushed back and an idea that seemed so pressing becomes something you only think about on the way to the grocery store when you can’t do anything to act on it. Soon the idea is lost and snuffed out by the next important thing until the original idea is 5 years old and unused.
Having a Cultural Connection Plan(CCP) is vital. This is a plan that you commit to doing to help your child connect to their culture. It has specific goals that can be measured so you know whether it was followed or not. The plan tells you what to do and how often to do it and just like an emergency plan it helps assure your child has the best chance at survival.
My parents didn’t have a Cultural Connection Plan that they had to follow. Instead they submerged me in my cultured assuring that I would have contact with kids who looked like me everyday. By doing this they were able to flip on the automatic pilot switch and I gained that vital cultural connection through my classmates and neighbors that surrounded me.
I realize not all transracial parents can transplant the whole family in to a different environment or community and I am not saying that is necessary. What I am challenging you to do is draw up a CCP and stick to it. Come up with measureable goals and specific strategies to incorporate your child’s culture in to your lives; plans that are more in depth than wall art, special meals, or books on a book shelf.
For those who are doing this please share what you are doing to help others who may not have designed their CCP yet.