There are parts of this story I can’t tell. I have questions, here in my brown skin. I wonder what it’s like to adopt a child or marry a person who doesn’t look like you. I wonder what it’s like to hear these conversations when your skin isn’t the same as mine. And, while we probably won’t cover all the questions I (and you, too?) ask, I’ve asked a few people to share a bit from their own experiences. Today, meet Rachel.
One of my beautiful daughters is black, growing up in a white family. I write a lot about blackness versus whiteness, and about Western attitudes towards the rest of the world. It bothers me to talk persistently about these things. It feels more polite to pretend each race and culture is a carbon copy of the others.
I would love to stick my head in the sand and believe race doesn’t matter. Once upon a time, I did believe that. But as the white mother of a child who looks nothing like me, I no longer have the luxury of singing kumbaya and pretending the world is color blind.
Who wants a color blind world anyway? Who wants to overlook Amelia’s gorgeous chocolate skin in contrast to Caroline’s milky fair complexion? Who wants to look past the variety between my stick straight hair, Caroline’s soft waves, and Amelia’s thick, tight curls? Diversity is too rich to risk ignoring.
I embrace diversity because it is exquisite.
I scrutinize diversity because this world renders it excruciating.
I want to ignore the articles I read. The proof that racism is thriving. I want Amelia’s appearance to bring a form of joy, without it carrying serious consequences about the way society views her. I want to celebrate her outward beauty like my friend Amanda’s family celebrates the curly red hair she does not share with either of her sisters.
I do celebrate. But, at the same time, I notice disapproval. Preconceived notions. The subtle feelings of superiority and condescension. Worse still, I cannot forever protect Amelia from them.
I can only educate myself, empathize with others, and teach my daughters how to live.
The irony is, it’s my daughters who teach me to live.
They are the best friends blind to centuries of superficial division.
They are the mismatched hands clasped together through the park.
They are the sisters bound not by the blood of genetics, but of Christ.
Does any other lineage matter?
My preschool aged daughters preach the profound Kingdom of Heaven daily. They yell “Sissy!” across playgrounds, turning curious heads. Let’s turn heads because of our deep familial love for God’s children. Even those not like us.
Rachel Goode is a writer, speaker, and adopted daughter of God. She blogs about faith, motherhood, adoption, Jesus, and racial harmony at heirswithchrist.com.