Transracial Family


For those who are interested, here are a few random photos taken over the last week:

N, 2 years, and R, 2 days

R, 2 days old, sleeping soundly

A, 2 years, admiring R's little hands

R, 4 days. I can almost picture her smiling.

M, 4 years, and long-awaited sister R, 4 days.

JR, 6 years, and little sis, R, 4 days

 

Will, babysitting R (he seems to be sleeping on the job!)

Nap time. R, 6 days

 

Cuddle time

 

R, 6 days old.

Why are we so blessed? Thank you, Lord!

Advertisements

…and I’m not talking about Christmas. 

It is almost time for our next PCS.  For those of you who aren’t military, that means it’s almost time to move again.

Unloading during our last move

I grew up an Air Force brat.  The longest I ever lived in one house was 5 years.  Snce I got married, the longest we have stayed in one place was 3 years.  You’d think after all that, I would not stress over moving.  WRONG!

Each time PCS time nears, I get a little ….. OK, a LOT…….obsessive over the whole deal.  Interestingly, the move itself hardly fazes me.  We have had as little as 2 weeks notice to move from one state to another.  I think I pretty much have my moving system down to a science.  For example, I have already started cleaning out closets and files.  We are already preparing for one last big yard sale.  Whatever doesn’t sell goes to Goodwill or Freecycle.  Then we decide whether to do a DITY (move ourselves) or let the military handle it (NOT as good an option as it may seem!)  I am totally OK with all that. It helps that we tend to be pretty simple.  Remember that unexpected trip I took to FL recently?  I packed myself and 3 kids for one week in one medium sized suitcase and a diaper bag.  I am a light packer and don’t tend to stress over that part either. 

So what’s my problem?  For me, the problem is living arrangements and medical issues.  I don’t know why I let myself stress over it, but I do.  Once I have any remote clue where we are headed next, I can’t keep from browsing the classifieds.  The fact that a realtor won’t even talk to us this far out would cause any sane person to stop wasting their time.  Not me!  I have already spent far too much time perusing housing locations, base ammenities, looking for doctors, calculating our BAH (stipend for housing), looking at animal options, pricing out the raw milk and grass-fed meats in the area, and looking into fresh-produce co-ops.  Why bother so soon?  I haven’t the foggiest clue!  But I do.

I also have to admit that I am a little nervous about the family-integrated church situation.  We have crossed into an unfamiliar realm with our family beliefs and principles, and I am praying that God will guide us to other like-minded individuals there.  Inevitably, though, I know we will likely have to walk into a few churches first to try them on for size.  And we aren’t exactly inconspicuous!  I mean, by that time, I will have a 1 yr. old, 2 yr. old, 3 yr. old, and 5 yr. old–we are beyond the accepted “norm” of 3 or less children, all of our children are young, and we are a transracial family on top of that.  We also happen to enjoy attending service as a family, and therefore, rarely utilize the nurseries.  We don’t exactly fit into most groups anymore.  I don’t know why I am nervous about it, but I am.

 Plus, since the military can change its mind on a whim, I know anything can happen between now and then.  Nonetheless, I keep researching the potential new area, dreaming what the next chapter in our lives may involve, and praying for God’s guidance in all the decisions that will soon have to be made.

These days, I always seem to be the one taking the pictures, and rarely get to be in them.  Last night, though, we couldn’t resist capturing this photo.  After a long day, N was ready for bed, and both babies had been sitting with me for our Family Worhsip time.  I also thought it was a beautiful picture of the colorfulness of our family. 

Me with A, 18 months, and N, 8.5 months

Me with A, 18 months, and N, 8.5 months

I took the kids on a rather big adventure today….we ran errands. I tend to avoid making more than one stop when I am alone with all the children, but today, I went to several different places. I wore either N or A in a wrap, had 2 others in a cart, and JR or M walked along side. The kids were awesome, and I felt right proud of our success. OK, I’m done bragging.
During one of my errands, a lady with a little boy came up and asked about the children. Turns out she, too, was a mom of 4 youngsters, all of which were adopted from foster care. She had 2 that were adopted transracially, and several had been meth exposed. I took the opportunity to mention some of A’s symptoms. Sure enough, all her meth-exposed babies had had the same symptoms. If I wasn’t convinced of exposure before, I am now! We had a lovely chat, exchanged phone numbers and e-mail, and agreed to meet up for a play-date.
.

N, 6 weeks

While we were chatting, we noticed a middle-aged woman pacing around us, stealing glances at all the children. She had a strange wobble, and I still do not know if she was drunk or had some type of disability. Finally, she approached us, smoking a cigarette, and started asking questions. Turns out she had overheard the majority of our conversation, so, she looked at me and asked, “So these are your adopted kids?” Since I still wasn’t sure whether she was drunk, I just briefly nodded yes. Then, having no tact whatsoever, she looked at A (who I was holding) and asked, “So, is he a half-and-half?” EXCUSE ME? “Is he a half-and-half? Half white, half black?” I was so shocked by those words for some reason, that I honestly can’t remember my response. Obviously, it is another response I need to develop prayerfully and lovingly to add to my “list” for the future.

Any adoptive mother knows that comments like that, spoken directly in front of all the children, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Sure, we have adopted children, and yes, it is a fact of our lives. But we do try to be a bit more tactful in the way we choose our wording–particularly if the children are around. We try to be careful to never introduce a “label” of being “adopted” or “our own” to our children. Unfortunately, I am learning it is a label to many folks, and I am beginning to see more of that. All of our children are “our own.” Some were physically born to us, while others were “born” in our hearts. When it comes to their skin color, of course, it is obvious that we are different from each other. But that is a blessing from God. He created each individual after His likeness, and to be unique, and that is something we have learned to treasure with our children. To call my child a “half-and-half” is quite offensive. That is a type of cream, not my child. Don’t get me wrong, I honestly do not mind answering people’s questions. I love to educate–whether it be in regards to service animals, training horses, or adoption. Over the years, however, I have learned there are those who genuinely seek answers, and although their terminology and questions may be somewhat innappropriate, I realize it is an innocent mistake. In fact, I have made many of the same mistakes as I have learned. I am certainly not known for my smooth way with words! *blush* There are others, however, who are just plain tactless. They seemingly do not care who they offend, who they label, and who they look down on. For some reason, they do not view all people as equal in God’s eyes. As much as I would love to educate these people, I have found it is very difficult. I tend to have little nerve in such situations, and hate confrontations, and often times, I have found these people already have their minds made up. A quick encounter in a store parking lot will not likely change that mindset.

Thank you for allowing me this little vent, and for those of you who have gone through these adoption processes with us, I thank you for your support and encouragement. When we decided not only to adopt, but to be open to transracial adoption, we had a lot of concerns. We did receive a few negative opinions and remarks, but in most cases, we learned that we are surrounded by people who see all children as God’s creation. You can see the bigger picture of how God puts families together, and that love knows no bounds. I can’t tell you how much that support has meant to us.

Baby #4 is seeming more real every day. In the last 10 days or so, I have re-arranged the kids’ bedrooms, cleaned up my infant carseat, packed the infant diaper bag with basic essentials, researched plane tickets and schedules so I know who to call, created my packing and “to do” list for when the call actually comes, and found a crib, mattress, and bedding set. Other military wives just gave us the crib and mattress, and the bedding set I found at a children’s consignment store for about $40. I also found a little universal stroller frame that I can just clip the infant seat into. That way, should I need a stroller while stuck waiting on ICPC, I will have one without the bulk of a standard stroller.

The set is actually pretty gender neutral, with burgundy, hunter green, navy, tan, and denim colors, though this pic makes it look very blue. I wanted gender neutral just in case….you never know what the future might hold.

The car seat and diaper bag are just sitting, waiting for the call!

S and I spent the morning in a Red Cross CPR review class. It was required for our first adoption, and although we haven’t been asked for it this go around, we decided that, just in case it had been overlooked in our file, we would go ahead and get current to avoid potential issues later. While the class itself was what we expected, one of the other participants was our first experience dealing with outright racism. We have been warned about it, so were somewhat prepared fortunately, but it still caught us off guard. She happened to be an African-American woman, and when she found out (just through the course of conversation) that A was biracial and our new son would be full AA, she was obviously not pleased. She began asking questions like, “how are you going to see a child of color the same as your bio kids?” and “why do actually seek out AA’s to adopt?” and so on. The questions themselves were not that bad, but her tone and the barrage of questions (some accusing and confrontational) made it obvious we were not dealing with an pro-adoption person. We calmly answered her questions, explained first that we did not actively seek to adopt ANY race, but rather, were open to the child God wanted us to have. We further explained that we were concerned initially about comparisons (mostly by others), discrimination, and learning about hair and skin care, and we had many discussions with friends of other ethnic backgrounds for their opinions and advice. We also prayed–HARD–about it. Although in a typical situation, it would likely be best to just politely excuse ourselves, we were kind of stuck in this situation, as we had several hours of class time left. So, as the conversation progressed, we patiently answered each of her concerns with our limited knowledge and statistics. We also mentioned the fact that, at one point (during our match with A), we had been offered 2 healthy babies who were laying in hospital cribs because no one wanted them due to their skin color. I told her that, no matter what a child’s skin color and risk of discrimination, EVERY child deserved a loving family. We would (and will) do what we can to help them through future situations and teach them how to handle issues that arise in the future. She did finally agree that a loving, Godly family was the most important thing for a child. I don’t know if we finally gained her confidence or if she just gave up. Honestly, we never got to find out, as, a short while later, she became very irritated with our instructor over another issue and abruptly walked out of the class. I can only pray that God will touch and soften her heart. Overall, she seemed like a very angry, miserable woman, and I hope that this experience will at least help her see things in a more positive light. We learned a few other things about her during our conversation that possibly shed some light on why she had this attitude, but those are past issues that only God can help her deal with. I pray she will seek Him and let Him help her work through those issues.

Nonetheless, although we have experienced some subtle forms, this blatant form, and may very well experience more discrimination, prejudices, and racism as we continue in our journey, trusting and allowing God to work in our lives, we are confident that we are doing as God has instructed us to do. We will continue to seek God’s guidance through our quiet times with Him, through prayer, and through the calling we feel God is distinctly laying on our hearts to care for the “fatherless.”

“All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”(Matt. 10:22)