I was adopted when I was two weeks old. My parents are my parents. Home is home. It is a place where you are loved even, or especially, when you make mistakes. I am the youngest of five children. We were all adopted and at a wide range of ages. We are also a mix of sexes and races. Because of this the dynamics and components of our family changed several times in childhood. I knew that most families were not like ours but it never seemed abnormal.
In addition to our parents, people from our "extended family" were involved (in some cases intimately) in raising my siblings and me. These people were of all ages, races, and walks of life. My wife once told me I have "more relatives not related than anyone I know."
As a corporate trainer and consultant who facilitates courses on diversity, I have noticed that while most people I train truly "get it" or want to "get it," most of us continue to struggle with the meaning and value of diversity in light of our own experiences.
I have been living the benefits of diversity my whole life. Being adopted-and in my case it was a trans-racial adoption-allows me to go into the training room with very tangible experience and examples from my own life. Not to say I have nothing else to learn; far from it we all have learning to do.
More and more companies are realizing the benefit of diversity in the workplace. They recognize that there is real value to having an environment in which a diverse population can bring their experience and uniqueness to the job everyday. It is more than the nice thing to do. It is more than the fair thing to do. Organizations are realizing that there is a bottom-line benefit to a diverse workforce in terms of recruitment, retention, and productivity.
Globalization is a fact of life. Our profile as a nation is changing. Our children will have a view of diversity that is different than ours. This will happen because of what they see and experience. My wife and I will make choices as we raise our two birth children and those choices need to demonstrate and instill the value of diversity, both that I experienced as an adopted child and they will experience in a diverse world.