Seven years ago I released the first edition to my memoir, Growing Up Black In White. I was really new to the adoption community and was excited to get my story out in the world. I choose to self-publish and rushed to get it out. It was a big accomplishment for me but I still couldn’t escape what I call my adoption residue; things that come with adoption that adoptees can’t easily wash off.
One of my biggest pieces of adoption residue is my amazing ability to self-sabotage. On one hand I had great work being put out but on the other hand I rushed it. The result was I put out a product that wasn’t edited properly and for the last 7 years I was ashamed of the product. I was hoping people wouldn’t notice. Consumed by what the book lacked I wasn’t unable to enjoy what it meant to accomplish such a goal.
Although the book was flawed it allowed me to help many families and touch many lives. I have been all over the United States talking about the impact of adoption and transracial adoption. What inspired me was that families wanted to know more to help their children. In talking with them it become very clear many wanted to raise wonderful children of color but they just didn’t know how. Many wanted step by step instructions on how to be better parents. Two years ago I started writing down clear instructions and strategies for parents to help them in raising confident children of color and that is when the idea of the second edition of the book was born.
So what is different about the second edition?
The cover is much improved. It has a picture of me on it when I was about five years old. The things I would tell that five year old! The picture inspires me to get this story out to help other children and families who are living a similar life.
I added a chapter about racism that I experienced and I I processed what that meant. I added more about my college experience and the struggles I had there trying to fit in.
More importantly, the first edition was simply our story. The second edition shares our story AND it includes 40 pages of instructions for parents raising children of color; things that parents can do to raise confident healthy families. In the second edition I cover:
Creating a balance in your multicultural family for both bio and adoptive children
Addressing family members who may not agree with your decision to have a multicultural family
Helping your children own their story and protecting their story
Search and reunion
Talking about race with your child
Honoring birth parents
Microaggressions and “othering”
Advocating for your child of color in school
Instructions on what to do when pulled over by the police
In each topic I give action items for parents to do to address each issue; clear step by step instructions families can do to address what comes with raising children of color.
Additionally, the book has been professionally edited; I can hold my head up when talking about this book now. I am so proud of what this book can mean for so many. We are marketing the book to the adoption community first but will also look to larger audiences to share this story and help facilitate conversations on race in America. My wife will be happy. She has been telling me for years this story is bigger than just the adoption community. I’m so excited to see where this will lead.
The book is due out in early April and will be available on Amazon as well as my NEW website. Right now, I’m going to just sit with the book and enjoy this accomplishment. My adoption residue makes that hard but I will push through and take the time to understand this is something to be proud of. Thank you all for your support and I hope you will help me get this book in to as many hands as possible.