Intentionality and our adoption

God called us to adoption from Africa in 2013.  It wasn’t immediately that I realized that I what having a child with black skin would mean or everything I would have to think through.  I don’t think figuring out how race will affect my child’s life will ever end for me.  It is a complicated, heartfelt issue that is constantly evolving in our culture and in my brain.

Our adoption agency helped us to begin thinking through a few interracial adoption issues by requiring us to read books on the subject and asking thought provoking questions on our home study paperwork.  Here are a few of those questions.

What cultures do you feel you have knowledge about?

What are some events you could participate in as a transracial family?

How diverse is your neighborhood, church, family, and friends?

How will you answer questions about adopting a child from another race? What about questions from your child?

Since first answering these questions 2 years ago, I begin to think about how to make our life circumstances fit better answers to these questions.  Our church is diverse.  Our family is somewhat diverse.  Family doesn’t change often.  

I realized I have control over three things: my knowledge about cultures, how diverse my friends are, and how diverse my neighborhood is.

I have always been naturally interested in learning about foreign cultures.  I didn’t know God put that desire in me because some day it would be important to my family.  Now I know, and I have soaked in cultural information with a new purpose.

I have also been intentional about making friends.  Just like when I decided to home school our children and was intentional about making home school friends for my children’s benefit, I have been intentional about making friends who have adopted internationally and friends who have transracial families.  I know it is a beautiful thing to have a more diverse group of friends, and I take joy in it.

We also were intentional about where we lived.  When I filled out that survey 2 years ago, we lived in CityView (a brand new housing development.)  We had moved to a newly constructed house when we had a newborn baby, because we wanted to never fix anything on a house again because it was taking away from precious sleep time.  Sleep was what I wanted to be intentional about.  Can I get an amen from a momma with a baby?

Looking at our neighbors, there wasn’t very much diversity at all.  I wanted that to change.  When we found our house, I loved that their was diversity among our neighbors.

I was also happy when I realized that our house was only a few blocks from the most diverse high school in our city.  I knew God was leading us to have our daughter attend that high school.  We are now very close to having her first year of public high school complete, and I know it has been the right decision.

This blog post has been difficult to write, not because I don’t want to share, but because, gosh, I’m afraid I say something wrong or offensive.  It is easy to do when race is the issue.

I have not meet my child yet, but my heart is full of love for my son with a beautiful Ethiopian culture.  I want the best for him, just like I want the best for all my children.  If living intentionally makes his life slightly easier or slightly better, I’ll do it.

The truth is God has blessed me with every choice.  I love my house.  I love my neighborhood.  I love my daughter’s school situation.  I love my friends, new and old.  I love learning about Ethiopia and traveling to Ethiopia.  I love being more tuned into race issues.  I love being involved in orphan ministry.  I love being more dependent on God.  And I love that my faith has grown because of this adoption.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” That’s code for want what God wants, and you will get what you want.  In my life, I have found that to be true.

Not everyone who is reading this is called to international adoption.  You may never be asked any of those interracial questions.  I wonder, is there something you have to face intentionally in your life?  Please comment, and let me know.

Everyone loves new.  I love how nostalgic this song sounds while it's talking about being new.  Sounds like it maybe could have been written by Buddy Holly or Bill Withers.  I have to say though, his girlfriend isn't that pretty.  I guess everyone wants to live where the buffalos roam.