Some Thoughts on Transracial Adoption

My dear friend Katie is amazing. She gets me in so many ways. Jon and I have found such sweet friendship in her and her husband. They live close to us, love Jesus, care about orphans and adoption, love the church, and love the city and all it entails. We "get" each other. Sometimes that seems to be a rarity these days, so when you find it, hang on tight.

Katie wrote this blog here on birthmothers awhile back as my guest blogger. She shared with me something she wrote the other day and I just had to post it. (Katie is a pregnancy counselor for a Christian adoption agency. She works with birth mothers who are making an adoption plan for their child).

(I don't know why my text wont' line up correctly. I keep trying to fix it, and it won't work. Sorry!)

I woke up at 4am this morning and could not go back to sleep. This never happens to me. Could it be due to the fact that I am pregnant? This is definitely a factor. Could it be my anticipation for our ultrasound today? Certainly. But honestly, what was racing through my mind—that finally made me get up—was adoption. As a pregnancy counselor, there are so many things that could keep me up at night. Believe me, the kind of stress I can experience as a result of my job can be overwhelming, but rarely do I let it keep me up at night. This morning is different. This issue, though not new to me, has especially bothered me recently.

I have met with two expectant mothers this week who are ready to begin the process of
choosing a family for their precious children. This is obviously a huge part of my job, in which I take great joy. I love seeing the sovereignty of God in choosing the perfect family for not only the child, but also for the mother. But for these two mothers, I was only able to show a combined two families. One mother is having a biracial (Caucasian/African American) and the other, an African American child. In the domestic adoption process, prospective adoptive families are able to fill out a preferences form. This form explains which traits they will accept in a child. These traits may include race, possible impairments, birthparent histories, and so on.

As I gathered profiles for these mothers, I looked at each family’s preferences only to see
over and over again, “Caucasian preferred,” “Open to all white races,” or “Open to all races except full African American.” Again, this is nothing new to me. I have been doing this work for about four years now, and I see this all the time.

I respect the agency I work for more than words can say. Many of the expectant mothers that
come to us choose to work with us because of two reasons. One, they hope they will be loved and cared for as they go through this difficult process. The other, which I hear most often, is that they desire a Christian family for their child. When I explain to a mother that there are only one or two families who are willing to adopt an African American (or biracial) child, I am embarrassed and saddened. Many mothers reply, “I thought all of your families were Christian.” I realize it’s a complex issue, but to a mother who loves her child and cannot possibly understand why there would be people who do not want her child simply because of race, it seems quite simple.

As Christians, we are adopted as sons and daughters into the family of God. “But now in Christ
Jesus, you who were once far off are now brought near by the blood of Christ,” Ephesians 2:12-14. God chose us in Himself before the foundations of the world to be His children (Ephesians 1:4). He did not choose us based on anything we have done, could have done, or will do. He did it because He created us, loves us, and desires to show His glory through us. What an amazing story of adoption! This is why, as I have grown in my relationship and understanding of Christ, I desire to adopt. As Christians, the desire to adopt comes from an overwhelming desire to reflect our heavenly Father to our earthly children. God has adopted a diverse family, as the church is made of members of many tribes, tongues and nations. When we are open to adopting transracially, we are reflecting the family of God!

I acknowledge many families are concerned that adopting an African American child may not be accepted by society, their community, their family, etc. What if you had a biological child born with a disability and the child was unaccepted by others? Wouldn’t you do everything you could to educate those around you and advocate for your child? While being African American is certainly not a disability, the love you would feel for your child would not be limited by the behaviors and ideas of those around you. There have been times when I couldn’t present a single family to an expectant mother who is having an African American child. This does not reflect the heart of adoption or the heart of our Father who loves us and went to tremendous lengths to bring us into His family.

It has been awesome for me to watch families overcome barriers to transracial adoption. Many
families have been concerned about how grandparents would react to a child of a different race being brought into the family. In fact, many grandparents have voiced their opinion that it is wrong or that they will not accept a child of a different race. In many circumstances, these are the same grandparents who melt at the sight of their African American grandchild. The passion and love parents have for their children is greater than most people can understand. Whether through adoption or biology, this kind of love transcends race, age, culture, physical and mental needs, and so much more. Would you be willing to stretch yourself to experience this kind of love even for a child that may look different than you?


nala said...

i know this is not the point of your blog post, but i can't help it...what agency does your friend Katie work for? or can you get me her contact info?? i have FOUR friends who would LOVE to adopt transracially and are waiting to adopt! wondering if somehow i could hook them up...

nala said...

also, just found out about john piper's new book on racial reconciliation!

see here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/book-reviews/review/bloodlines

Flinn said...

I love these thoughts and the fact that it may connect katie with some families due to the first comments. such truth in this post.

Julie said...

*like* We'll talk this weekend about this one.... :-)

Katie Nester said...

swow. this is a powerful post, and makes me sad for those birthmothers. i'd also love to know the name of the agency. perhaps for future - it might be cool for your friend's agency to see "only biracial or african american preferred" :)

lila's pockets said...

Way to go!!! Amen and amen! Katie's my little sister and sooo much wiser than me.

Jamie said...

Wonderful post. As a Caucasian family of a biological child and an Ethiopian adopted child I completely agree. I am not going to shape my life around society. A society that I think is so wrong the majority of the time.