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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

A Difficult Conversation About Hatred and Race

As my children get older, my adoption discussions with them get more complicated. Early on, our talks were cheerful and sprinkled with happy words, like “love” and “family.” Now it seems that the talks with my children, in particular with my 12-year-old son, are about the realities of being a transracial adoptive family.

This realization came to light one day toward the end of summer. We were at a local swimming pool and saw a Caucasian man with a tattoo that read, “Love My Race” across his chest and another down his spine that read, “Hittler” (yes, this is how it was spelled). My sister-in-law and I were talking about how disgusting we thought that man was, when my son overheard us. A few minutes later he asked why those tattoos made me so upset.

I decided to connect the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan (which has an active chapter less than two hours from our house) with the man’s “Love My Race” tattoo. I launched into a description of the KKK, what they were known for and whom they hate. I told him frankly that the KKK would hate him because he is Hispanic. I continued to say that they would hate our family because he and his siblings are Hispanic. At this point, I noticed that my son was clenching his fists as he listened to me.

Next, I spoke about the Nazi party to explain the man’s “Hittler” tattoo. My son knows quite a bit about WWII, but was unaware that there were still people today who followed Hitler’s teachings. As he and I discussed this, I saw that his eyes were watery. When I asked him if he was crying, he replied, “No. I’m just so mad. I can’t believe there are people out there who think those things. And I can’t believe that they would hate my family because of our skin color. It makes me so angry!”

I pulled my son to me and hugged him tight. I became overwhelmed with various emotions. I was impressed that I was able to talk to him about such a difficult topic. I was proud of his quick realization of the inhumanity of these hate groups. I felt guilty that I had exposed him to such an evil part of the world. Finally, I was extremely sad that my children may face racial hatred from others.

When he and I used to discuss adoption and race, I always said, “It doesn’t matter that our skin are different colors.” In reality, it does make a difference to some, to those who have hate in their hearts. I now was remorseful for having had this discussion with my son, who has a very trusting and sweet disposition. I didn’t want him to change the way he interacted with people.

More than anything, though, I felt fear that day at the pool. Seeing my beautiful children in a public place next to a man with racial hate tattooed on his body made my blood turn to ice. That moment made it obvious to me that I can’t protect my children from all the evil things in the world. Even though I was the one who chose to become a transracial adoptive family, it’s my children who may face negative consequences.

I foresee plenty more serious discussions on adoption, race, and perceptions of our family with my children as they get older. Many will be neither fun nor easy, yet I know these talks are my responsibility. By educating my children, I hope to show them how to bring more love and understanding to the world. There is already plenty of unnecessary hate.

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Thank yu very much for your comments. We are just at the beginning of this process. We would like to adopt a little girl with African roots here in Brazil where we live. Please share the following link with your friends and relatives to help us realize our dream of becoming a Family soon:

Thank you so much,

Bernd and Lóide

By Bernd on Monday, March 09, 2015 at 8:55 pm.

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Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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