We wandered those baby aisles for quite a long time, Eisley comparing items and telling me how I could get the best bang for my buck (she is very shopper savvy). ;) Since we don't know yet if we are having a boy or a girl, we couldn't actually buy anything, but let me tell you it took all the will power in my body (and hers) not to clear the place out. Every five seconds Eisley would say, "Ohhhhhh mommy!!! Just turn your head and you will be absolutely amazed at the cuteness of this dress!!!" and "Oh. My. Gosh. These. Are. The. CUTEST. Shoes. I. Have. Ever. Seen." It was quite amusing, and it is a shopping trip I will never, ever forget, even though we didn't buy a single baby item. ;)
As promised, we hit the baby doll aisle in search of a new dolly for Eisley. I promised her that when we got the call about our baby, I would buy her a dolly that would look like our new baby so that she could "practice" and do everything side by side with me when the baby comes home. As you can probably deduce by the title of this blog post, the baby we have been matched with is African American! I cannot wait to kiss those soft brown cheeks, and I was pretty excited to find a sweet little brown baby doll for Eisley that she could care for and love until our baby arrives. She was even more excited than I was, and we couldn't wait to browse through the dolls and find just the right baby for her.
When we arrived to the baby doll aisle, however, we were pretty disappointed to find that the selection of black baby dolls was extremely slim. And by slim, I mean there was one. ONE. Seriously? How, in an aisle with more than two hundred baby dolls, can there only be one African American baby? I was kind of appalled. I was even more appalled that I had been in that same aisle about a zillion times over the course of my life and this was the first time I was noticing it. There were lots of Hispanic dolls, mostly white dolls, and a Baby Tiana from Princess and the Frog. And then one, very cute, little black baby that struck Eisley's fancy just fine. She took it off the shelf, asked me if she could buy it, and was happy as a clam. But I realized, right there in the baby doll aisle at Target, that I had just experienced my first "Huh." moment as the mother of an African American kiddo.
We have been preparing for the possibility of becoming a mixed race family since we started our adoption process months and months ago. I've done lots of reading and talking to other families, and of course just praying that God would prepare our hearts for that. It seems He has decided to change the very face of our family by possibly adding a baby of a different race to it, and we could not be more excited about it! But I have to say, I am also nervous! I don't know how to raise a baby of a different race! What if I don't do it right? What if I can't figure out how to do my little girl's hair? What if I don't respond to every quizzical look the right way? Will I deal with the bigger "race issues" correctly? What if my sweet little girl is sad that there is only one baby doll in all of Target that looks like her?
I asked Eisley how she thought it would make her little sister feel if she only saw one black baby doll in all of those dolls. She said, "She will feel unique." I asked her if she thought it would make her sad, and she said, "No, it will make her feel special that all the black baby dolls have already been boughten."
I hope so. And I hope that before that time, I am able to find a store that has a more diverse selection of baby dolls for our little one to choose from. But I learned an important lesson that day, and it is that I have to start being more aware of things like this. I have never had to before, I have always been in the majority. The majority has no need to notice things like the color of baby dolls. But we aren't in the majority anymore. We are becoming a multi-racial family! I have never had to be concerned over the color of Eisley's baby dolls, because she doesn't "need" a baby doll that looks like her. She is surrounded by people that look like her. Her mommy looks like her, her brother looks like her, her aunts and uncles and every single one of her classmates have the same skin, hair, and eyes that she does. She doesn't care what color her dolls are, but what if she was the only white person in her family? Might she take some small comfort in having a baby doll with the same skin color as her? I don't know. I do think that there is an unspoken security in being surrounded by people who look like you. And I think I'm going to have to start seeing the world through my child's eyes. And when I stood in that aisle at Target and looked at aaaaaall those babies and saw only one with dark skin, I wondered how that might make my child feel if he or she is already the only one in his entire family that has dark skin. Maybe Eisley is right, and it will make her feel unique. I just don't want it to make her feel alone.
I will be just as mama bear over our newest little one as I am with Jake and Eisley. I am looking out for my child now, and I will do that to the very best of my ability. Even if it means writing a letter to Target asking them to please add to their dolly selection. Because I really like shopping there, and I don't want to have to stop.