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White Mom Guilt

An Transracial Adoptive Mom Shares her Experience


Feeling a little broken over this? You have black children and you aren’t black enough. Their hair is crazy-fuzzy and you went to Walmart that way. You got some looks. So then you spent fifty bucks on black hair-care stuff that you weren’t sure how to use and made your kids look like they fell into a grease pit (even though you begged for and received instruction from the nice black woman in the same aisle).


You went to church and didn’t notice your little girl’s ashy legs until she pranced off to Sunday school. Then you went nuts hunting for that bottle of raspberry hand lotion that might be in your purse. It wasn’t, and you gulped back frustrated tears.


So a concerned friend (we won’t name their race) comes back from their car with baby oil gel because we are NOT going to let her walk around in public like that.


You realized all your favorite books on your shelf feature white-o people, and there was probably not a black Jane Austen in 1800 that wrote anything like Pride and Prejudice (a black Jane would be SO cool). Then you figured it out. You weren’t black enough. So, the next time you finagled some kind of hairdo that looked better than the last, you admitted it to your kids: “I’m so sorry I’m not black.”

They replied, “It’s okay, Mama.”


“Yeah, it’s okay!”


The third child grips your legs in a hug. Because he just loves his mama.


You begin to say this often, and they begin to notice the difference between you more. They fold their arms and glare. The guilt deepens.


This is my story. Is it yours? Stop it now. Look me in the eye and please stop believing and thinking and proclaiming guilt.


Here’s what guilt means:


1) The fact of having committed a breach of conduct, especially violating the law and involving a penalty.


2) Feelings of culpability, especially for imagined offenses.


God made you their mama, and that sure isn’t wrong. Besides, your heart and emotions don’t have time or room for false guilt. There’s so much to do, so many memories to make. Being a white mom is who God Himself planned you to be.


Next time there’s a what-have-you-done-or-not-done-to-their-hair experience? Laugh guilt-free, then call your black girl-friend.


By the way, my teen girls love Jane Austen movies. I leave you with 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”


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Ann Fryer helps manage CFBU’s Interethnic Families Support Group. She is a transracial adoptive mom who writes about her experiences at White Mom, Black Kids. This post was originally published in 2019 on her blog at https://whitemomblackkids.com/white-mom-guilt/.

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