Former Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl has penned a heartbreaking Instagram post, asking how she'll protect her eight-year-old daughter Adalaide, who is black, from the harsh reality of what's happening in America right now.

"I've debated posting this," Heigl, 41, wrote on Instagram, sharing a collection of photos of Adalaide and her other two children.

"I don't typically use my platform or social media to say much when it comes to the state of our country. I keep most of those thoughts to myself. I act quietly and behind the scenes. I let those with far more experience, education and eloquence be the voices for change. But I can't sleep," she said.

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Page 1. I’ve debated posting this. I don’t typically use my platform or social media to say much when it comes to the state of our country. I keep most of those thoughts to myself. I act quietly and behind the scenes. I let those with far more experience, education and eloquence be the voices for change. But I can’t sleep. And when I do I wake with a single thought in my head. How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so? I can’t sleep. I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby’s spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly. Eyes squeezed shut. Images and cries and pleas and pain banished from their minds. White bubbles strong and intact. But I lay awake. Finally. Painfully. My white bubble though always with me now begins to bleed. Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece. It has taken me far too long to truly internalize the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism. My whiteness kept it from me. My upbringing of inclusivity, love and compassion seemed normal. I thought the majority felt like I did. I couldn’t imagine a brain that saw the color of someone’s skin as anything but that. Just a color. I was naive. I was childish. I was blind to those who treated my own sister differently because of the shape of her beautiful almond eyes. Or her thick gorgeous hair. Or her golden skin. I was a child. For too long. And now I weep. Because what should have changed by now, by then, forever ago still is. Hopelessness is seeping in. Fear that there is nothing I can do, like a slow moving poison, is spreading through me. Then I look at my daughters. My sister. My nephews and niece. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. The hundreds, thousands millions more we haven’t even heard about. I look and the fear turns to something else. The sorrow warms and then bursts into flames of rage.

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The US has erupted into violent, nationwide protests since horrific footage of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minnesota police on May 25 shocked the world.

Heigl said she was plagued by thoughts about her daughter, who she and husband Josh Kelley adopted in 2012: "How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so?" she asked.

"I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby's spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly."

Heigl wrote that her "white bubble" was finally beginning to burst, as she saw more clearly the bigotry faced by her non-white loved ones – including an adopted sister and daughter from South Korea.

"My upbringing of inclusivity, love and compassion seemed normal. I thought the majority felt like I did. I couldn't imagine a brain that saw the colour of someone's skin as anything but that. Just a colour. I was naive. I was childish. I was blind to those who treated my own sister differently because of the shape of her beautiful almond eyes. Or her thick gorgeous hair. Or her golden skin. I was a child. For too long. And now I weep," she wrote.

In a second post, Heigl spoke of "rage," saying she wished for a "hard, ugly life in prison" for the police officer who has been arrested for George Floyd's murder, Derek Chauvin.

"What I want is for them all to be so scared by Officer Chauvin's consequences that they are afraid to breathe in the direction of a black man, woman or child. Let alone try to hurt them."

"I want them to shake in their beds at night for fear that they too could end up like Chauvin. I want him to be an example of what happens to a racist in this country. I am aware that this rage is not very Christian of me. Or is it?"

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"Jesus got pretty damn mad at the temple. God brought the floods, the famine, the locust and the pillars of salt. Perhaps rage is part of the divine. Perhaps the heavens want our rage right now. Perhaps our rage is theirs. All I know is that I want it to end. Today. Forever. Whatever it takes."

Heigl and singer-songwriter Josh Kelley wed in 2007 and have since welcomed three children. In 2009 they adopted a daughter, Naleigh, from South Korea, the birthplace of Heigl's sister Meg. Adalaide was adopted in 2012, and in 2016, Heigl gave birth to a son, Joshua.