by Anti-Racist Parent columnist Natasha Sky
I am excited to be joining the community of columnists at Anti-Racist Parent. My experience with multiracial families and interracial friendships started the week I was born. My mother’s best friend adopted a multiracial baby with Black American heritage whose birthday is three days after mine. He and his younger siblings were my closest childhood friends. I grew up in a large Midwestern city. From preschool through college, I had neighbors, classmates, girlfriends and boyfriends of different races and ethnicities.
In college, I learned my family’s heritage was not simply Irish and German, as I had been told. We also have English, French, and Cherokee ancestors as well. My two younger brothers have lighter skin and hair than I do, and they both identify as Irish and German alone. They want to know why I insist on identifying myself—and my biological children—with our Cherokee heritage. We’re just White, my brothers tell me. I think of my great-great-grandmother and the pressure she must have felt to assimilate into my great-great-grandfather’s English and French family. For many years, she was a secret. She is someone who was supposed to be forgotten, her blood diluted into White America—but I refuse to simply let her go.
From my earliest memories, I always planned to have children through both adoption and birth. I also wanted a really big family. I married my best friend who was excited about both adoption and homebirth, although he did talk me down to five children. Six years ago, we started the process that made me a mother for the first time. Our oldest daughter joined our family through domestic open adoption. Within three years we added a son and another daughter, both through homebirth. Our youngest daughter joined our family through a second domestic open adoption. All four of our children are multiracial: our oldest and youngest children have African American heritage, our two middle children have Native American heritage, and all of our children also have European American heritage.
I have been a fulltime parent for almost five years. We currently live in a small, predominantly White community where my children and our family will always be conspicuous. I want my children to be able to be friends with (and eventually date) people of all different races and ethnicities. I want my children to be able to blend in, if they want to. Living here is challenging for me; it is near impossible to find parent-allies who understand the issues my children and our family face everyday.
In 2006 I was searching the web for information about multiracial families. I found almost nothing. There were sites for multiracial individuals, interracial couples, transracial adoptees, transracially adoptive parents, several sites promoting the illusion of race, but nothing that addressed the real issues of a multiracial family as a unit. I began to compile all the information I had collected over the past 15 years and started developing a website of resources specifically for multiracial families. Written during naptimes and on weekends while dad was on kid-duty, it is almost complete.
I am currently thinking and writing about multiracial family issues, passing, adoption reform, and adoption as a first choice. I am also seeking a small town community where my multiracial family—as a unit and as individuals—can live and flourish.
Natasha Sky is a multiracial woman, a writer, an artist, and an activist—as well as the fulltime mother of four multiracial children all under the age of six. Two of Natasha’s children joined her family through open domestic adoption and two of her children joined her family through homebirth. Natasha created MultiracialSky.com, a website of resources for multiracial families. During naptime, Natasha writes about multiracial family life.