Many find it strange that our white family is adopting an African child. We have been “jokingly” accused of attempting to start a “rainbow tribe” – a comment that, while meant in jest, implies that we are more interested in the colors of our family than we are in simply getting our baby home.
Many have asked why we’re adopting from Africa. I wish I had some HOLY reason.
The answer, instead, is practical. Once we felt sure of our calling to adopt, we were faced with this question: domestic or international? We favored international for a couple of reasons: 1) We had no fertility issues and felt like it was wrong to jump into line with those who did – this was an uninformed opinion, and I now would love to someday domestically adopt a waiting child who may otherwise not find a home. 2) We were too insecure to deal with all that comes with birthmothers – yet another uninformed opinion that we no longer hold.
The way that we chose Uganda is almost embarrassing: of all of the international programs that our agency offered, Uganda had the shortest wait, and allowed adoption of young babies. Voilà, adoption is that simple – HA! (I have since changed my mind about age constraints, and somewhat lament that I didn’t broaden the age limits in our home study!)
I knew then that adopting an African child in Montgomery, Alabama would cause some unfavorable opinions to fall against our family. But I thought: We may not have some HOLY reason to choose a particular country, (we had no “signs” from God,) but we have a very SINFUL reason to avoid the country that seems best for us. We are not adopting to gain favor from others.
More than once, when striking up conversation with a stranger, something similar to the following has happened:
Stranger: Do you have children?
Me: Yes, we have a two year old girl, and we will soon be adopting.
Stranger: (sympathetic face, thinking that adoption is a consolation prize instead of my burning passion) Aw, well you know, it always seems like adopted children end up looking JUST LIKE their new parents!
This makes me laugh, because the baby we are head-over-heels in love with is guaranteed to look NOTHING like our gene pool! But we will not love him/her because we see ourselves in that little face. Instead, we will see sweet Jesus in that face. We will see the way that God chased after us and loved us, and was willing to pay far more than what we’re paying in adoption fees, and willing to go much farther than Uganda so that we could rest in His arms as His children.
In light of this, racism proves petty and perplexing. I love our baby. Black, white, purple, green – color doesn’t mean a thing in regards to our joy in raising this little one. Others may disagree. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I truly do not care what anyone else thinks.