December 12, 2007

Who's most worried about 'race' in our transracial adoptions?

mother and adopted baby daughter handsThis week I mail off the last letter and photo updates to the biological mother of my three- and four-year-old daughters. It is the end of a sweet season in my life. I have been writing letters and taking photos with Aris (not her real name) in mind for the past 4 years. She has received more mail from me than any of my own family members and this is the last time I have her name written on my calendar as a milestone in the girl’s lives.

One thing that stands out with Aris and the other birth parents we are linked with through our children, is that none of them has been overly concerned that we are White or about how we are going to teach our children Black culture. We hear fears about it from the larger adoption community, from strangers on the street, and through the media. But never has it been a prominent issue for the African American families (birth parents, grand parents, sisters and cousins) we have met during the adoptive process. When they choose to entrust us with their children they are each looking for something different, but never has it been our ability to raise those children as Black. Or maybe it has, and those birth parents have not chosen to place a child with us. In those situations we may never know the underlying reasons, but the issue was never brought up so I have nothing but speculation to work with.

I believe that the women who bore my 6 adopted blessings were looking for families to love and enjoy their children. They wanted adoptive parents who felt called to protect, treasure and accept their children. This was much more important to them than our ability to teach the children about being Black. I see the halo of birth parents that surround our family as a beautiful testimony of God’s drawing people from every tribe and tongue into fellowship. I am reminded often not to neglect or to overemphasize the color of our skin or the origin of our ancestors. But rather, to celebrate each of our unique identities in Christ staying far away from any idols we have built regarding racial identities.

0 comments on “Who's most worried about 'race' in our transracial adoptions?”

  1. Dorothy,

    I've struggled with what to write in response to this post, and so let me ask you some questions:

    Do you think that our society has made "idols" of the concepts of racial/ethnic identity? If so, how, and what are some examples that you see?

    And by "idols," are you saying that racial/ethnic identity is overrated in its importance/impact, or do you mean something else? I just want to make sure I understand.

  2. Sang-Shil Kim

    First, thanks for posing your questions and being honest that you have struggled with what I wrote. In looking at your comment I see two basic questions which I will attempt to answer on my personal level rather than the larger societal one.

    First idols. I do believe that many of us are quick to carelessly replace God (permanently or temporarily) in our lives with many lesser things which become idols. These idols could be anything - money, power, race, religion, education or even children. By 'idol' I mean anything that replaces God as first in our minds and hearts. I can not make a blanket statement about our society doing this with racial/cultural identity, but I can speak for myself and say that I have made idols of them and been confronted with my own sin. Even though our society at large would applaud the 'idols' I made of my AA and NA children's racial identity I do not believe that they were pleasing to God.

    Your second question is the harder one. For the general American public, I have no valid opinion regarding whether racial and ethnic identity is overrated in it's impact. Outside of an identity and foundation in Christ, it makes perfect sense to identify ourselves by race, culture, sexual preference or whatever else we value. What I am willing to say, is that if we are sold-out followers of Christ, then our identity should be based there and anything else becomes secondary.

    In our family, race and culture as well as physical and mental ability and individual talents, are all parts of the package prepared by the God who made us and areas of each individual to be wisely explored and developed in healthy ways. We are careful to let no one area become too focused, in case it should become an idol to us and bring harm rather than blessing.

    I hope this clarifies where I was focusing in my blog post. I do believe that large segments of our culture seems to have an unhealthy concern over the race/ethnicity of the children we adopt and how we are going to meet some impossible imaginary standard of racial and cultural achievement for them.

    The people most concerned with my children's racial identity have never been those who demonstrate a strong commitment to Christ or an honest desire to adopt orphaned children. The discussion for them seemed to be more hypothetical and political rather than practical and personal and had nothing to do with Christ. For a more indepth discussion on this topic you might want to check out the interview that Dan Cruver did in September with Thabiti Anyabwile here.


    1. - Love love love this. I love how you always give glory where glory is due and look at yoluserves as the great receivers in the story of Zion. One of the words I hate the most is deserve . I hear way too often how people DESERVE a pedicure, or DESERVE for things to work out, or DESERVE a higher salary. We deserve nothing and are given everything through Christ's sacrifice & mercy. Thank you for writing such inspiring posts! November 2, 2011 8:28 pm

Talk with our experts:
© 2024 Nightlight Christian Adoptions | Sitemap