Posts tagged #Adoption

Not My Son

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It's the first shooting of a black man that has hit the news since we brought our beautiful son home. These instances used to infuriate me, now they terrify & grieve me so very deeply.

Because y'all... Not my son.

I'm not going to let him become a statistic without a fierce fight. And we all pick our battles... And for the record, this will forever be mine because...

Not my son.

And let me start with this... I love our police officers. It doesn't have to be either/or. I can love an organization and still say THIS IS WRONG AND HAS TO STOP. Police friends, those of you who love and serve our communities well and are fighting hard for racial reconciliation within our cities... Thank you. For those of you within who are saying THIS HAS TO STOP... Thank you. You are loved and supported, and we stand with you.

But y'all, as I hold my baby boy, my heart is raw because I know exactly what many of our white friends will say and as I look deep into my son's chocolate eyes I know it falls incredibly short.

I know the justifying of this behavior, the assumption that the fault lies with the dead, the attitude of "well if he wasn't doing _____ he wouldn't be dead," is the VERY belief system that fuels implicit racism. Pretending his blackness wasn't a significant factor in his killing is a belief that can eventually lead my son to death.

And y'all... Not my son.

His life, and all black lives, deserve so much more than that.

It grieves me to know that people will look at my strong black baby boy, and one day will make false assumptions because of his beautiful chocolate skin.

Y'all... Not my son.

It devastates me to think that my baby could be at a gas station, or outside at a park, or walking around our neighborhood and someone yell "he's got a gun!" and despite innocence, he could never come home again.

Not my son.

No more precious Jude smiles around our table. A chair empty. A picture of the twins without their brother.

NOT. MY. SON. 

From now, until Jesus returns, the news of black boys and men being beat up, man-handled, and eventually shot and murdered for a crime they didn't commit will forever be a fear of mine...

And y'all... Not my son.

This mama isn't going down without a fight and I believe it starts here, with all of us average folks.

Can you do me a favor today?

White friends, while you're out and about, when you see a black person today, I want you to do a little self-assessment. How did being around them make you feel? What was the first thought that came to mind? If you're alone in an elevator with a black man, what's your response? If their presence made you uncomfortable or fearful or hesitant in any way, can you work on changing that for me? For my son? But also for you? Because if those initial thoughts weren't what you'd hope for, the filter with which you see the world is off, and I'd hate for you to miss out on the beauty that is real and true about our black brothers and sisters.

And if it helps, you can come hold and snuggle the sweetest, easiest baby I've ever had the privilege to parent & I'd gladly talk with you about this. Because change happens when both sides love each other and fight for each other fiercely...

And I'm desperately fighting for change because well...

Not my son.

Posted on July 6, 2016 and filed under Motherhood, Adoption, My boy!.

"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" - The One Thing Transracial Adoption Classes Didn't Prepare Me For

I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed before, but I’m white. Like really white. Like blonde haired, blue eyed, unashamedly does the sprinkler on the dance floor WHITE. And I have an equally white husband (but with better dance moves than me) and white little identical twin babies who look like the both of us. And now, through the blessing of adoption, I have a BEAUTIFUL chocolate baby who does not look like us. At all.  

As you can imagine, we get a lot of stares & comments when we’re out and about. We're used to it (even before J-man came along), because having twins draws a ton of attention at the grocery store, but now we’re just blowing people’s minds. “Wait you have two kids who look EXACTLY alike, and then another who looks, well NOTHING like y’all?” 

Yup. Sure do.  

While preparing for our adoption, we took all sorts of classes on becoming a multiracial family & transracial adoption. One specific class we took focused on how to respond to all the insensitive (at best) or racist (at worst) comments we would receive while out and about. Honestly, it was A LOT to take in and in my naïvety, I speculated if folks were being a little extreme. Surely people don’t really ask such ridiculous questions?! 

But now I understand.

You see, I’ve walked into a gas station in the middle of nowhere and wondered if we were “safe.” I’ve been asked, “Why on earth would you ever adopt a colored boy?” and “Was his real mom one of those crack whores?” I’ve been asked a thousand times by good intentioned people if I was babysitting or if he was really mine. And I’m fully aware of the stares from both white and black people who don’t approve of our family’s make-up.

I get it now. I get why they ask if you’ve read the books and watched the videos, because those ridiculous scenarios they tell you about are REAL. Those people DO exist and the classes are absolutely necessary.

But here’s what the classes didn’t prepare me for. 

I took the kids to our home away from home the other day… You know, Chick-Fil-A (God Bless the inventor of CFA lemonade). And as I found my seat, I noticed the smiles of two beautiful black grandmamas trying to get my attention. So I smiled back.

“Are they twins?” one grandmama asked.

“Yes mam!” I answered, wondering if they had spotted my chocolate baby and if they hadn’t would their demeanor change when they did.

“How old are they?” the other grandma asked. 

“3 and a half!” I replied and asked them how old their sweet baby was. 

“This is my great nephew and he’s 7 months. How old is that little one you have with you?” she replied.

He’s two months old,” I said as I reached in and got Jude out of his carrier. 

Their smiles got bigger. As I got him all settled, one of the employees came over and oooh’d and ahhh’d over Jude and asked how the adoption was going. I noticed the grandmamas were listening and I was pretty certain our conversation wasn’t over yet. When the CFA employee walked away, the grandmamas got up and walked over to me and one put her arm around me and kissed me on the cheek and said, “He’s absolutely beautiful. Adoption is a good thing.” The other grandma nodded in approval, “Mmm-hmm, you just have different skin color and there ain’t nothing wrong with that and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” 

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I hugged them back. 

They asked a few more questions about the adoption all the while giving me advice and saying repeatedly in their North Carolinian accents, “Ain’t nothing wrong with that at all. Ain’t nothing wrong. Don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise now, you understand me?” The one grandmama kept hugging me and speaking blessings over our little family, and when the time came for them to leave she kissed me on the cheek again and then they were gone. 

Y’all, here’s the thing… There isn’t a class or book in the world that will prepare for the love you’ll feel when people support your multiracial family. 

They left out the chapter on what it’s like when your friends and family (or complete strangers) whisper in your ear “We love you and your family... and you’re doing great! You're going to be just fine.”  

They left out that you’ll be so overwhelmed with gratitude when you have people sit you down and share their experiences with you saying, “If you have any questions about being Black/Asian/Latino/African/[insert your child’s ethnicity here] in America, questions on hair or skin care, or ANYTHING, you can always come to me. Nothing is off limits.” 

They left out the safety you’ll feel with your friends when they ask questions about your adoption and don’t tip-toe around the reality that you’re white and you’re kid is Black/Asian/Latino/African/etc. 

Being a multiracial family is amazing. Are there hard parts? Absolutely. Is one of those hard parts learning to navigate uncomfortable comments from strangers? Yes. The classes were right, people will say some stupid ISH; but others will say some of the sweetest, most kind words you’ll ever hear. And there is SO much joy in navigating hard conversations and learning.

If you’re thinking about adoption and are afraid to adopt a baby from a different ethnicity or have any questions, please feel free to contact me (You can start here by reading 5 common q's we receive!). We are FAR from experts (ahem… we’re pretty new at this) but we’d love to share more about why we love being a multiracial family and why we chose to be open to any and all ethnicities when pursuing our adoption. 

Because after all… there ain’t nothing wrong with that. 

Much love,

Ps. Let’s keep the comments kind. If by chance you’re an angry troller who happens to be a racist who is anti-adoption or multiracial families… MOVE ALONG. I will not hesitate to delete your comments so don’t waste your time. MMK, BYE. 

 

Posted on May 3, 2016 and filed under Adoption.

What do you do with that?

I’ll be honest with you, I really believed that our Christmas this year would look much different than it’s going to. I thought it’d be a bit louder, more sleep deprived, and we’d have one more crazy Salmon mouth to feed.  I thought that by this week, we’d be so deliriously thrilled with the newest addition to our family that no one would care about the messy house, additional noise, and little sleep. And come Christmas morning, we’d wake up and celebrate the birth of our Savior as a family of five.  And yet, the month has flown by and still no baby.

What do we do with that?

What do we do with the Christmas pajamas we got for a baby because we just really honestly believed that he’d be here by now?

What do we do with that empty nursery that has turned into a storage room for our Christmas décor boxes?

What happens when Mr./Mrs. Right doesn’t show up? Or after months of trying, those lines on the pregnancy test don’t appear? Or in the adoption/foster care world, What happens when your placement is taking months or years longer than you initially thought? What about that job you thought you’d have by now? That book you thought you’d write? The ministry you thought you’d be leading?

What do we do when our greatest desires don’t match up with our reality?

This is the hard stuff of life.

This week of Christmas, I would be lying to you if I told you that I was valiantly walking this journey with my head high and eyes dry. I’d be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t disappointed. I’d be lying to you if I told you I was handling this EXACTLY how a good Christian should (as if there is such a way).

But here’s what I know about our God. He is close to the brokenhearted, and He doesn’t expect his followers to walk hard paths in pretense, ignoring the pain. He doesn’t expect us to live with disappointment perfectly. Or just “suck it up” and “pull up our boot straps” and keep going.

Rather, our God sent His Son to live among us. To be both God and human. God with us, Emmanuel. And what exactly does that have to do with our suffering? 

Everything.

This God-child came to earth and He changed everything.

I love the story of Lazarus and how Jesus loved him and his sisters so. I love that even though Jesus could have arrived sooner to heal Lazarus, he didn’t. Sometimes when life gets difficult and I start telling God, “If you had been here, this wouldn’t/would have happened.” I remind myself of Mary and Martha and how they told Jesus, “If you’d had been here, my brother would not have died.” I love Jesus's response. He didn’t accuse them of blasphemy. He didn’t tell them how they should be feeling. He didn't tell them not to doubt Him. Rather, Jesus saw how deeply Mary hurt and Scripture clearly states, “He was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” And so He wept. His affection for those He loved was displayed through tears. He wept.

That baby in the manger, grew up into a man who cared so deeply for the pains of His people. So much so that He wept for the ones he loved. So much so that He went onto raise Lazarus from the grave.  So much so that He would willingly give up his very life so that every wrong will one day be righted.

And when I read verses like 1 Peter 5:7 that say “Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” I remember the way Jesus cared for Martha and I know He cares the same for me. And when I read Psalm 55:22 and am told to cast my every burden on the Lord for he will sustain us, I know that the Jesus who sustained Martha and Mary, will also be a sustainer for me.

And I know that He will also sustain you. This low point. Your dark hour. That disappointment. The waiting. He cares for you. He cares that it hurts. He cares SO much that He sent His son to live among us, Emmanuel. 

So this week, what do we do when our desires don't match up with our reality? 

First off, we do what Mary and Martha did. We run to Him. We are honest with our feelings and our fears and our disappointments and we bring them to Jesus. All of them: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Knowing that the Savior of the world is both BIG enough to right all wrongs and COMPASSIONATE enough to care for His people, even to the point of death. Will this fix your circumstance? No. But the journey will help you learn how to trust this compassionate Savior and glorify God during the difficult paths. 

Second, we celebrate that baby in a manger. This Jesus we sing carols about isn’t some feel-good Christmas song that fixes our problems. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is loving. He is fierce. And He will one day come again and right all the wrongs. And for that reason, regardless of our circumstances, we celebrate and we sing with eyes fixed on our great and compassionate Savior. 

Merry Christmas y'all!

Posted on December 21, 2015 and filed under Adoption, Spiritual Journey.