Should I adopt a white baby, wonders Sipho Yanano.
Firstly, I would like to thank American singer, Madonna, and film stars, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, amongst others, for helping to lift the veil off interracial adoption. These kindhearted people have taught humanity that in the end, love is all that matters. I honestly believe that I’m kindhearted too, that’s why I’ve toyed with the idea of adopting a baby, a white one. I’m black. Why a white baby? Because I want to give a child a home. It’s also a matter of preference really. All my siblings have black children and I think it would be nice to have a bit of variety in the family.
This baby will be brought up in a loving family environment and English will be his second language. As a family, we’ll hunt for names, as we’ll be excited about the new arrival. We’ll probably come up with a list like this one: John, Xolani, Bongani, Njabulo, Jacob, Lovemore, Blessing, Innocent and Adopted. Because of the happiness the baby will bring into our lives I’ll chose the name Njabulo. Njabulo Yanano will be my son’s full name, and a unique one at that. I Googled it and nothing popped up.
I want my son to be aware of his African heritage, to enjoy the best of both worlds - the city life and the rural life. When Njabulo is older, we’ll take him to the countryside during the holidays and he’ll learn to herd cattle with his cousins, to milk a cow straight into his mouth and to swim in a river.
Back in the city, he’ll attend the best private schools that I can afford to send him. Because of our cosmopolitan friends, he’ll have a rounded view of people and life.
As he grows up I know that he’ll have lots of questions. He’ll probably ask, “Daddy why do I look different from you and everyone else in this family? Why are my eyes blue and yours brown?”
I’ll take a piece of blank paper and ask him to draw two identical triangles, side by side, and ask him to colour one triangle using a black crayon and the other using any other colour. He’ll probably choose blue.
“What’s the difference between the two triangles?” I’ll ask.
“They are of different colours,” he’ll reply.
“So why do you think I’m black and you’re white,” I’ll prod further.
He will probably muse and say, “Oh, now I get it Dad. God used different crayons to colour the two of us!”
“I love you son,” Tears will have clouded my eyes by now, as I give him a fatherly hug.
After freeing him from my embrace I’ll remind him, “We might not look the same but you’re my son and I’ve always carry you here.”
“In your chest?” He’ll ask incredulously.
“No. In my heart.”
I do worry though. Will my son survive the constant harsh scrutiny that our family will get from people who do not think I deserve him? What if other kids tease him over his accent and his name? Will he cope? What if one day he’s angry with me for uprooting him from his world? It would be heartbreaking for me to see Njabulo unhappy. These fears keep me awake at night as grapple with the decision of whether or not to adopt a white son. Would we raise these questions if Sipho really did mean to adopt a white child?