I was born two weeks after the ‘67 riots in Detroit. I am biracial with a white mother and a black father and was adopted by a white minister and his wife who had 3 preexisting biological children. My childhood was a good one albeit one defined by race, which had a lot to do with the city's racial history and the fact that transracial adoption was very much in it's infancy.
Upon my birth, I was immediately placed in foster care, where I stayed until I was adopted at three months old after being passed around at a tea party held by Lutheran Social Services. This was a common thing for LSS to do in the hopes of matching potential adoptive parents with children in need of a family.
Adoption has created a lifelong struggle for me to restore the bond torn apart when I was given up by my mother. My biggest challenges have been with relationships, whether they’re with peers, girlfriends, family, or colleagues. Since writing my memoir and putting my experiences into words, I started to understand just how profoundly I was affected by my adoption.
I still find relationships extremely challenging.
Now that I have become more cognizant of my struggles and their implications, I have become able to stop unhealthy relationships before they begin. Many times I’ve had to walk away from relationships for my own safety and peace of mind.
Being adopted is really the only state in which I have ever lived my life. This coming year my wife and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage; Although relationships have been and remain a challenge my marriage and familiy life is a source of joy for me now.
I’m very proud of the book I wrote and the commitment I have made to help adoptive families, professionals, and birth parents in their own journeys around adoption.
The next big step I have to take is to truly fulfill my professional potential. Due to the fact that I struggle with relationships, I feel like I’m behind in regard to the impact I would already have made had I not let my struggles with relationships hold me back.
Looking ahead ten years, I see myself as a very active speaker and trainer in the field of cultural intelligence. Nothing to speak of is holding me back. I simply need to take advantage of the opportunities I have in front of me to build my experience and reputation.
I wrote my memoir 8 years ago, and when asked why I wrote it, I would often say it was because I wanted to help other transracial adoptive families. In fact I’ve said that for the past eight years.
However last year, I partnered with a lifelong friend to do work in the field of diversity and Cultural Intelligence, and then he asked me why I wrote the book I gave my standard answer. And then he asked me why I wanted to help families. With every answer I gave he would ask why, and after about five rounds of this questions-and-answer exercise, I uncovered the true answer to his original questions, “Why did you write this book?”
I wrote the book to tell my story because I want to be heard. I, as an adoptee and as a person of color, simply want to be heard.