Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Adding the Paprika

About a month ago, a lawmaker in my state made some comments about race and adoption. The subject of race is no stranger to my state. Alabama is known for having archaic and outdated laws still on our books. Section 256 of our state constitution (which, by the way, is the longest constitution in the world) still demands racial segregation in schools (which obviously doesn't still happen thanks to Brown vs. The Board of Education and other legislation). It wasn't until 2000 that interracial marriage was "legalized". We have some problems. Racism is rampant. I get it. Lawmakers making comments about race isn't uncommon, and to some extent...I get it. But sometimes, things just don't add up. In this particular case, Representative Alvin Holmes was in a debate over a new abortion bill that Alabama was trying to pass. He made some comments about how white daddies wouldn't want their daughters having black babies and how most of his fellow lawmakers would make their daughters have an abortion if that happened in their lineage (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the point). I get where this thought process comes from, somewhat agree, but we are in 2014 and Alabama IS making strides. Give us a little credit, Holmes. Then, he made the big oopsey.

He got into transracial adoption. He made the comment that not enough white families adopted black children. He even went as far to say that ""I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama. I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it cash in 20 dollar bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase." Well, Mr. Holmes stirred up quite a racket in Alabama. Hundreds of adoptive families and thousands supporting the adoptive families have joined forces in a Facebook group called Faces of Families in Alabama. I'm super excited about this movement. I'm super excited that adoption is getting out there in the news and that maybe more families will consider adding to their families through foster care and/or adoption. Maybe this can bring about awareness of all the kids that are waiting for their forever families. Maybe another family can add some "paprika" to their life!

Here's the deal. I have a brother that adds paprika to my life! I remember the day that we went to DHR to pick him up. He was 9 months old. I remember discussing nicknames with my mom- should we call him Desi or Mondo? (We settled on Desimondo and it stuck for a bit. Then he got old and nicknames got embarassing). 
Through the years, we've grown together. I can't imagine life without my baby brother. Even though he's really annoying at times, I feel like something would be missing in my life without him. In 2007, when Des was 5, my parents signed the papers and the adoption became official. My brother was now "officially" a part of the family that he had joined many years before. In our hearts, he's been an Adam since the beginning. Mom even kept his baby toys and coloring pages, just like the rest of us.
 Just because he's a different skin color, it doesn't mean he's any less of a brother to me. Yes, the repetitive questions and awkward answers sometimes get annoying. Explaining that he's adopted (which you would think was obvious!) gets old. He gets tired sometimes of people asking him why he has a white family. But, I'd pick this life with him over a life without him...most days at least. :)

 Des is now 12 years old. He's a character. He's charming and hilarious. He makes me laugh. I love running to his different sports events. I love the fact that he can have a sweet personality, when he wants to. I love his smile and his laugh. I love when he gets in trouble and Mom gets mad at him (Hey! I'm a sister! That's what sisters do!). :)
We like to say that Des adds the paprika to our lives. The rest of us are pretty boring, but there's never a dull moment with Desmond around! He adds spice to our lives. His extrovertedness brings us out of our introverted cages. He makes us smile and laugh. I love fighting with him about who gets to cuddle with our dog. I can honestly say that my life wouldn't be the same without transracial adoption....and I'm not even sure who or what I'd be without Des. This charming, witty, funny boy has charmed my heart....and he's here to stay.

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