Tuesday, July 12, 2005

what to do

The social worker at our adoption agency has labeled us a biracial couple (this is an advantage in many agencies, because birth families often request biracial families). The problem is, in the adoption context, I have only ever seen the word "biracial" used to mean black and 'other'. When children are labeled biracial, it means they have one black parent and one "other" parent--white, asian, whatever. So it seems like a very narrow definition, in the adoption world. Now, in the regular world, we are definitely different races, whatever that means, I mean I am white and she is not white, but she's not black either. So I'm not sure we fit the biracial category as adoption people would use it.
We're a little nervous that the social worker has mistaken (we met her face to face). Sometimes people see what they're expecting, you know? In south and central america, she has been briefly mistaken for a south or central american by other travellers. People of her own heritage usually spot her as "one of us", but other people--not so much. You know, people ask "where are you from" and that kind of thing. So could the social worker have identified her as black without realizing? How do you correct someone when they've done that? Will she think we misrepresented ourselves? (She said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are a biracial couple, aren't you?" and we said yes, cause, you know, we are.) Will she be embarassed? will it no longer be an advantage in the matching?
Do adoption workers every use biracial to mean 'two different races' instead of 'black plus one'?
Ok, I just realize this sounds vague. She is Indian. The actual color of her skin is brown, you know, like people call "black" for some reason.

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