Diversity Training

I recently sat in a diversity in the workplace course.  The course discussed all types of diversity – age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

At some point in the course, I used the example of my family brought together through adoption with a son who may be of a different ethnicity then his parents, but also may not be.

The example served two purposes as we are an example of both being a diverse family and racial diversity.  I shared how our family doesn’t fit the mold, as we have been brought together by open adoption, which many people still do not understand.  And, I shared that as a Caucasian women I am now truly seeing a side of the world I was naïve to in respect to racial prejudice.

Like normal I was protective of many pieces of our families personal information, but I do believe my family gave a real life example to a room full of largely 30-50 year old Caucasian individuals.  Probably a much needed example considering the demographics of those in the room.

On the first day of the class I shared the following:

  • Strangers are more respectful of our son’s possible ethnicity then family and friends are.  Family and friends seem much more willing to cross lines and ask insensitive questions.  And strangers actually always comment on how Little MPB looks just like Mr. MPB or just how cute he is.  His possible race just isn’t something people ask us about (likely in part due to the fact that it’s not obvious).
  • Strangers who we tell that our family was brought together through open adoption are more respectful then family and friends.  Again, family and friends seem much more willing to be insensitive with comments or questions (we think this is likely because they don’t take the time to think through their questions)..  And they also seem much more likely to continue to discuss it, constantly.
  • Difference attracts attention.  Both positive and negative.  And what the sender views as positive may not always be received as positive.  I shared that Mr. MPB and I are constantly told how amazing we are for “saving” a child and how lucky he is to have been adopted by us.  And that this is a very troublesome comment to hear all the time because our child should be no more grateful to us then any child is grateful to their parents.  And by constantly hearing how lucky he is may set him up for some very challenging emotions later in life, as can be common in the adoption community.  I also stated that our answer to this is that we are the lucky ones because we are the lucky ones!
  • We’d rather people ask questions then not ask questions and make false assumptions and have incorrect information.  But, with 2 caveats – the questions must be respectful and socially appropriate.  What matters to me is why are you asking.  For example, if you want to ask why we chose open adoption, I’m happy to share that.  If you want to ask did your son’s mom smoke crack or drink alcohol well pregnant, I’m probably going to decline to answer and I may even ask if your wife smoked crack or drank alcohol while she was pregnant with your children to demonstrate how that question is inappropriate.

At the end of the two day class a women, who I hadn’t really chatted with, came up to me and simply said:

You are a beautiful mother and I can just tell how much you love your son.  Your son’s not lucky you adopted him, he’s just lucky you are his mother.  You really are amazing, I can just tell.

Yup, I nearly started crying, right then and there.  I thanked her and one again said:

I’m the lucky one.  I couldn’t imagine my life without our little boy, he truly is an amazing child.

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8 Comments on “Diversity Training

  1. A family is complete with all of its members similarly its incomplete if just 1 member is missing. Your family is complete with your perfect bundle of joy, Baby MPB. Who I feel is a charming and amazing child who was made just for you!

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  2. That is amazing! I want to say that to you every single day. You are truly a special beautiful person. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so beautiful!! Your son is lucky. I think that just the fact that you decided on a open adoption (I’m sorry if I’m saying something foolish as I don’t know much about your situation) and allow him to have contact with his birth family shows how good of a mother you are. I’m not sure I could do it. I might be selfish and want my baby “just for myself”. It’s also amazing that you celebrate diversity! I don’t have a racist or discriminating bone in my body and I love people who are the same! Lovely post! xx

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  4. I love this part: ” If you want to ask did your son’s mom smoke crack or drink alcohol while pregnant, I’m probably going to decline to answer and I may even ask if your wife smoked crack or drank alcohol while she was pregnant with your children to demonstrate how that question is inappropriate.”. Yes. THIS. I can ask too invasive of questions sometimes, and I’m going to remember this always. Thank you for the reality.

    I love that you shared so much at that training. Diversity training is usually pretty…. Useless (because of how they present things) but I bet your group felt like it was a great use of time with you sharing your perspective!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I was able to impart some wisdom from our experience. But, what I will add, is that I don’t have a problem with more invasive questions if I understand why you want to know. For example, if you are considering adoption I’m going to be brutally honest with the good and the bad. If you are someone who asks questions and will be supportive of my son I’ll probably be more honest too. If you are my parents just digging for into, I’m probably going to roll my eyes and walk away.
      And I hear you about normal diversity training…. It was not a fun class, and honestly that’s why I started sharing our experience because we needed some sort of real life example.

      Liked by 1 person

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