written by Love Isn’t Enough guest contributor Tonggu Momma; originally published at Our Little Tonginnator]
Last year I completely freaked out the first time I walked into the Tongginator’s kindergarten classroom and saw only two children of color in a class of 20 students. It took my husband – calm, rational Tonggu Daddy – to talk me down from my obsessive “we are ruining the Tongginator’s life” mantra. I mean, we live in the Washington, DC area… it’s not like our area is completely lacking in diversity. And it’s not like it’s too late to make changes for our family if, in fact, we do need to make changes.
The husband urged me to consider the big picture.
So I did. I took a deep breath and looked around me. And what I saw was one kindergarten class that did not match the overall diversity of the Tongginator’s school. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the school isn’t as racially diverse as I would like it, but it also isn’t terrible. The Husband and I also work hard to expose the Tongginator to more racial diversity outside of school, most notably through our Saturday morning Chinese culture classes. Plus, while our county is about 75% Caucasian, we live close to two more diverse counties, one of which is 62% Caucasian, with more than 12% of the population Asian-American, and the other which is only 28% Caucasian.
I decided to wait it out… to take it year by year… before freaking out again.
This year the Tongginator is one of seven children of color in a class of 28 students. And I’m left wondering… as do all parents who adopt transracially… how much diversity is enough? Where is the line? Is this area racially diverse enough? Or do we move in order to ensure more diversity? In one of the neighboring counties, the middle and high schools are some of the worst in the state. And, unfortunately, we seriously cannot afford to purchase a single family home in the other neighboring county.
Besides, neighbors like ours are worth their weight in gold. Not to mention the fact that we live just down the street from a Chinese-American family that is ALSO an adoptive family.
I think fretting about diversity is part and parcel with being a parent that adopted transracially. Last year I felt confident in our decision to stick it out. And this year? I don’t know. My insecurities came to the forefront when we dealt with that whole “Chinese food looks like throw-up” comment. The school handled the situation beautifully, but still… I can’t help but think that such a comment would never have occurred in a more culturally diverse school.
Seven. Out of 28.
How much diversity is enough?