One of the biggest points I try to drive home when I speak to TRA families is the importance of having consistent mirrors in their children’s lives. If you are raising children of color it is vital that they see themselves in peers, mentors, professionals etc. The presence of someone who looks like you tells you that you and people like you are accepted and valued. For an adoptee especially that means so much.
This year I will be 50! Wow that hurt to type that! Over the last week I have watched 3 very important pieces that feed my desire to have mirrors….at 50!
I watched the movie Moonlight first and for the first 20-30 minutes I was glued to the screen. The actor, who played Juan, Mahershala Ali, is amazing, worthy of the Oscar he won for this role. It was touching to see such a powerful presence be so kind and attentive to a child who needed some positivity in his life. Deep down in a small spot tucked behind my pancreas there was a need in me to see someone like me portrayed in this manner on the big screen. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Juan’s occupation(we are more than that!) I enjoyed the space he filled in the movie and for me. Juan showed me strong Black me exist and have value.
I watched the movie Lion next, a true story about a transracial adoptee (Saroo, played by Deve Patel) and his quests to find his birth mother. For obvious reason this story spoke to me and by the end my chest was heaving and tears were running down my shirt into my lap. The fact that transracial adoptees and our stories are being told means so much to me. Again on the big screen I have mirrored for me that other transracial adoptees not only exist but yearn for the things I have yearned for. Saroo showed me my experience matters.
Lastly, I tune in every week to watch the TV series, This Is Us. Every week my heart responds, THIS WAS US! To have showcased the life of a transracial family feeds so much in me. Every week I am a sobbing mess because the show speaks to my life’s experience. On top of that the fact that the show is so popular and has touched so many outside of the adoption community shows the cross over appeal of such a life and gives normalcy to what has always been viewed as abnormal. This Is Us shows me my family’s life matters.
Today’s transracial families have no excuse. Our presence is being shown and validated and should be shared with your children so they see themselves reflected in today’s world. I thank Mahershala, Deve, and This Is Us for filling that spot behind my pancreas.