A while back, I featured an extensive interview with Chad Goller-Sojourner about his experiences growing up black in a white adoptive family. Since that time, Chad has been a great source of information and perspective for me as I navigate parenting in a transracial family. (He’s also a great source of entertainment . . . I swear he’s the funniest person on facebook.) Chad has a new venture coming out and I wanted to help promote it. I think it will be of great interest to adoptive parents. I’ll let Chad explain (and keep reading for an excerpt!)
Greetings, I’m Chad Goller-Sojourner, a Seattle-based writer, performer, transracial adoptee, and the creator of two solo performances: Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy and Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness. Most recently I was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, in segment entitled: “Growing Up ‘White,’ Transracial Adoptee Learned To Be Black.”
Currently I’m raising funds to complete, publish and promote my new book, From Lutefisk and Lefse to Cornbread and Collards: Narratives, Essays and Interactive Exercises in Transracial Adoption. In this book all chapters open with narratives culled from the above referenced memoirs, followed by essays, exploring and expanding upon unearthed themes, including: transracial adoptee identity development and maturation, the paradoxical relationship between transracial adoptees and white privilege, transracial family dynamics and the importance of cultural competency for the adoptive parent.
In the third and final section I present a series of Interactive Exercises, providing both concrete tools and best practices as they relate to adoptive parents and transracial adoptees. For the adoptive parents, raising transracial children, for both this world and the one they will one day age into. For the transracial adoptee, creating a world where conflicting experiences can be claimed, transformed, and accepted for what they are: the building blocks of our unique identities.
As the number of transracial adoptions continues to rise, the voice of the adult transracial adoptee becomes all the more important. Currently, the vast majority of transracial adoption literature is written by white adoptive parents. And while this is an important lens, when it comes to creating and navigating a healthy racial and ethnic identity, one where whiteness is the background, it is the adult transracial adoptee who is the expert. For many of us older adoptees, we are also the expert when it comes to taking on our adoptive parent’s racial and ethnic identity, only to see our honorary white identity and privileges vanish upon leaving home. Thankfully, it no longer has to be that way. With your financial and promotional assistance, “From Lutefisk and Lefse to Cornbread and Collards,” can serve as an important, necessary and relevant resource for transracial families.
An excerpt from Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness.
“One of the first things I learned about having white parents was that when it came to dealing with people in authority, they got listened too. In sixth grade after still another racial-charged incident, mom threatened to go to the papers and for the rest of the year things actually got better. In Junior High, the Black Parents Association would enlist mom’s help and suddenly it got a whole lot harder to write them all off as hysterical over-reactive black parents.
By high school it was clear, that at least in the eyes of the authorities, having white parents wasn’t exactly a bad thing, with white parents came: white neighbors, friends, classmates, relatives, privileges, and experiences. And with that, came witnesses, white witnesses, white witnesses more than willing to vouch for me, go to bat for me, stand in the gap for me, and should the police have killed me, why it would be they, who spoke from my grave for me. Have you any idea what that’s worth?”