We all know that certain decisions will change your life. Steal something, get caught, go to jail. That's not a mystery. Get pregnant and have a baby and your life will change...also not a mystery. But other changes can catch you unaware.
Recently I've made two changes to my life. I've converted to Judaism and I've adopted a brown child. Her racial identity isn't important because that's not what caused the change. The change came because she's brown. People look at us now. Sometimes I can tell people are just curious. Other times we get glares or people avoiding us. For the most part people have been good about the adoption but even parts of the family have been less than enthusiastic about this addition. Is it because she's brown? Doesn't share our DNA? Or are they just not interested because they simply don't care? Because we adopted I now see all interactions or lack of interactions this way. That has changed.
I've been called a "Jew Bitch" in traffic and spit at by a Muslim tech at a Dr's office. Obviously anti-semitism is alive and well in our world. I was not particularly upset by either incident because the people who did those things are from groups that I expect to be hostile towards Jews. But that I was anticipating these things means that my life has changed.
What this all means really is that we have given up portions of our White privilege...something most white people don't even realize they have. Our brown daughter as gained some white privilege by virtue of being adopted into a white family but not enough to get her treated as an equal by white people. It's an odd feeling being thrust into this new position on the social scale.
I'm not sure what this means long term and how it will change our lives but for better or worse, we have cast our lot with the Jewish people and our daughter can not change the color of her skin. The world will have to accept us as we are, our family will have to accept us as we are, or even more changes will have to be made. How can we change the world? Well just noticing what we had before, because it's gone now has made me aware of what is still very wrong with the world. Is there something I can do to change it? I don't know. But it's something I'm looking into. Things have to change if we want peace in this country. And I think the change begins with families like mine.