Those of us white parents that have adopted African-American/African-Canadian children have had hair care and skin care at least, hopefully, mentioned during the home study process.
With our Super Social Worker, we were required to go beyond that. We took a course, we read books and articles. We talked with other parents.
And it was all filed as aproximately #78 on my list of important facts to know. Ahead of hair and skin care came attachment parenting, transition, grief and loss, toys to buy, appropriate bedding and how to cook for a family of 5.
In other words, I was an idiot. A naive, ignorant idiot.
One night, about 3 days into our transition, Eric was unable to fall asleep.
Why, you ask? Scared? Grief? Nightmares?
Oh no. He couldn't fall asleep because he was ITCHY. His dry, flaky, ashy skin was ITCHY. Because I hadn't been putting cream on him.
Five dollars and a hotel vending machine later, he fell asleep and I suddenly had an epiphany -- BLACK HAIR AND SKIN CARE IS DIFFERENT. And when they said it, they actually MEANT it.
As I said, an idiot.
Things have gotten better. I still can't corn row, but I harrass my boys just as often as any other non-adoptive mama of black kids does. In fact, Cousin made a note to his mom on our visit to Missouri "She made me put LOTION on mom!" Half shocked, half proud.
Greg and his big brother owned the same pick. I am no longer a complete idiot, at least in this area.
I listened with great joy as my sons' mother harrassed and teased their brother about his fro and the need to take care of it or CUT IT OFF. Oh do I understand her frustration.
In my family of origin, neatness IS Godliness. I have never, ever heard my mother refer to a young man in a positive light without the words "So neat and tidy" attached.
I am growing. I am TRYING to be cool. Heck, I can do twists now with the best of them (evidence above). BUT, nothing compares to a cutie with a #2 on the clippers hair cut.
What a neat and tidy young man.