About us

By the mid-l960s my husband D. and I had a family of two lovely daughters.  We then heard that adopters were being sought for ‘mixed-race’ children. We were hoping for a larger family and duly applied to become adoptive parents. In the early 1970s we adopted a baby. He was born in London.  His birth parents were originally from the Caribbean.

Some years later we adopted an older child whose birth parents had roots in the Caribbean, England and Ghana.  He came to join our family just before his fourth birthday. I am not using the real names of our children in this blog.

Over the years we had a lot to learn about racism in our society, positive identification and being a multiracial family.  Like every family we have had some great moments and some not so great.  Now we rejoice in having four wonderful grandchildren.

*****

Please note:  Unless stated otherwise, all posts are written by myself, Odette Elliott and are therefore protected by copyright.  I don’t write as an expert in any field.  I just seek to share some thoughts with the reader.

 

3 thoughts on “About us

  1. Ginnie

    Hey (Aunty) Odette!

    Keep writing! These sorts of testimonies are so important. I have so much respect for your courage in deliberately choosing to raise a multi-racial family, back in the 1970s, when the climate was noticeably less favourable than it is today. Of course, this issue is never without controversy – I’d be interested to hear about how, as white parents, you helped to support your sons in developing a healthy racial identity, which is one of the key concerns many still have about trans-racial adoption today. Yes, kids need a loving home, but they also need to accept and love who they are and this includes their racial heritage. Sadly, I still hear accounts of how some still get this wrong today, particularly when kids are adopted into a predominantly white area of the UK. I’m not arguing against trans-racial adoption, just that appropriate support and education should accompany this decision – so keep writing and share your insights!

    Much love,
    Ginnie (distant niece, I think!!)

    Reply
  2. Odette Elliott Post author

    Hello Ginnie
    You have put your finger on such an important point. Maybe that is one of the driving forces behind my desire to write this blog.

    In about 1973, at least one year after we had legally adopted our first son we received something so helpful through the post from our Adoption Society. It was a transcript of an address by a Canadian social worker to a conference of British social workers. There had not been much research done on white adoption of non-white children, but the Canadians had had more experience of these adoptions. Margaret Edgar, the speaker, was both a social worker and an adoptive mother of six children, some of whom were of non-white heritage.

    The whole speech is wonderful. I would like to quote just one extract. It certainly influenced us.

    “School children of any minority group suffer in varying degrees from name calling by their peers. However, the majority of these youngsters turn for comfort to parents like themselves who have learned, through experience, to cope with the iceberg-like prejudice which at this early age reveals only its deceiving tip.

    The white parents of a multi-racial family do not have this personal experience to draw upon. They are not the recipients of folklore and song handed down through generations. There must be a realisation, that when a baby is adopted trans-racially, the normal requirements of love, under-standing and concern for physical welfare are not enough. The parents have a responsibility to instil in their child, through the media of literature, art and music, a pride and understanding of his racial heritage.”

    From this I am sure you can see that I agree with your concern that “appropriate support and education should accompany a decision to adopt trans-racially today.”

    Reply
  3. Charles Hartley

    Thank you for sending me your blog. I shall follow this with interest and expect to learn many facets of the loving task that you and D set yourselves. Hopefully, it will encourage people to follow your lead with confidence.
    I am leaving to visit family in Singapore and Australia shortly so take this opportunity to wish you and all the family joy at Christmas and success in 2014.
    Charles

    Reply

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