Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Does it Matter?

Yes it's been at least what... two years since my last blog? My excuse, in case you have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting (HA!), life got in the way. The last two years have been beyond busy. But that's all for another blog at another time.

In case you are unaware, Jimmy and I are now parents to FIVE children. Of course, when they are 26 & 29, "children" seems a bit infantile but they will always be our babies. Two of them are biological (or mostly) and three, we are in the process of adopting. Two of our children have blond hair and blue eyes. Three of our children don't share our ethnicity at all. They have beautiful, chocolate-colored skin, black hair and brown eyes. They are all beautiful in a myriad of ways. We love each of them equally for a million reasons they don't even know about. 

When Jimmy and I set out on our adoption journey almost two years ago, it never occurred to us to be race or gender specific. Why should it matter what the child looks like? We knew that God would provide the children He wanted us to have at the right time. We have spent the last two years on the most insane, emotional roller coaster I could imagine. We had several children we were just SURE we were going to adopt and it didn't work out. All along, God was working behind the scenes even when I questioned Him. And the children we were going to end up with were children that two years ago, didn't need a home. Their story is not quite ready to be shared in its entirety. When the time is right, I will.

When we were matched with our children, I began reading as many websites as I could find about caring for african american hair, as well as asking african american friends. I've read blogs about making sure my kids know and understand their culture. I've tried to be prepared as much as I could for whatever may come my way. However, nothing prepares you entirely. What's comical about it to me, is that the things I read may be an issue haven't been one for me. It's the things I wasn't really prepared for at all. 

Today I took my two chocolate daughters out with some family. On our way home, we had to make a quick stop at Walmart. (Is stopping at Walmart ever actually quick?) The girls are 18 months and 2.5 years old. They are tremendously friendly and if you don't respond when they say, "Hey," they will keep talking until you do. They sound like their daddy and grandpa if you ask me. Today though, in midst of checking out, we received several dirty looks. Some, you could tell, were because of my daughters' enthusiasm. I understand if you don't want to speak to them. Let me be clear, they weren't being loud or obnoxious. Those kinds of things frustrate me too so I don't ever expect anyone else to tolerate them. They just like to be friendly. But some of the looks that we received were towards me. By people that look like me more than my chocolate children. As if we had done something inherently wrong by adopting children that don't "match" our older children. Or worse still, that I might have married someone of a different race and these were his children or ours together. Mind you, our children do not remotely look mixed race. I wanted to say to these presumptuous individuals that while it was none of their business, I hadn't done that. 

But even if I had, who cares? Who do they think they are judging me or our children? Why should it matter to you? Why isn't it more important that my husband and I clearly love each other and in this world of "I-just-don't-like-you-anymore" divorce, we have been married for over eight years? I know that's not much considering my parents who have been married for 43 years. However we seem to live in an age where Hollywood celebrities that are married for more than two weeks have a "long term relationship." Maybe I'm just being too presumptuous about what I perceived as dirty looks. It's not something I'm sensitive about. But maybe I was today. I can't say for sure.

When I was younger, I used to hear a lot about 2 Corinthians 6:14 saying "Be ye not unequally yoked..." while conveniently leaving out, "... with unbelievers." I was always told that meant you didn't date outside your race. Being a naive child, I took what I was told at the time. "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." 1 Cor. 13:11 NLT. Once I started examining scripture for myself and was mature enough to learn for myself, I actually read the surrounding scripture. Because race relations have always been a hot button issue, even though they have become more acceptable, it was easier for those tradition enforcers in my denomination to make a point using scripture. Even if the point was... well just wrong and the scripture was taken out of context. 

I guess the bottom line for me is outlined in a few simple facts. We love all our children! You won't see any of our children dirty or unkempt unless it happened in the time since I got them ready and they were playing outside in Awana or the like. You won't see us abusing our children in any way. We do our best to make sure our children are not a disruption because we don't like when other people's children are a disruption. The color of my children should make absolutely ZERO difference to you. I have always had friends and roommates of all different ethnicities from caucasian to korean to african american and everything in between. I have been taught to not see color or to ever judge a book by it's cover. So I do my best to not do those things. I'm not perfect and will never claim to be. The only person that ever was is Jesus.