white mama, brown baby



I have always found the phrase " being color blind" when referencing skin color a bit odd. How can you be blind to the beauty of humanity? I absolutely love all of the shades that God has painted his creation. Rather than being color blind I think we should celebrate the Creator and the fact that He is an artist who uniquely designs each individual.

One month ago today we brought Faith home. It has brought my thoughts back to the day that we first met her. We walked into a room filled with beautiful Ethiopian children. My eyes immediately centered right on her, the little girl whose picture had been constantly on my mind since the moment we had opened that email. I couldn't believe it was reality, she was actually there right in front of me. The thing that captured me initially was her amazing big brown eyes. Many people never even notice the mass on her head because her eyes and her beautiful smile draw your attention. As I wrapped her up in my arms and held her there was only one thought in my mind, "This is my baby girl". Outward appearances alone she looks nothing like my daughter. If we were separated in a room no one would put us together, but I believe the love we share for one another crosses over any physical characteristics so that there is no doubt she is my child. We chose her long before we ever held her in our arms and now it is incredible that she is choosing us to be her family and give us her love.

It is interesting the reactions we have received from other people this past month. I will often see people look at her, then at me, then at the boys, then back at her all with this questioning look across their face like they just can't piece it all together. The braver souls will ask me if she is adopted and want to know the story. For the most part, so far, the reactions we have gotten have all been positive....one of the blessings of living where we do. Since we brought Faith home, it seems that everytime we go somewhere I run into another family that looks like ours - white mama, brown baby. This has never been the case before we traveled to Ethiopia. I am still not sure if I am just more aware now or if God is just pouring blessings on us by allowing us to meet other adoptive families.

The boys are still trying to process the differences in skin color. For a long time Kody thought that all people with brown skin were born in Africa. He just could not understand how his buddy, Nehe, was born here in Virginia. "But, he has brown skin Mommy," he would reply. Many repeated conversations of this same topic and he finally understood that Americans are all different shades of colors because we from all over the world. Their innocence has a beautiful quality to it, but it can also at times be quite embarrassing. When we first arrived home from Ethiopia, Kody proud as can be shouted to his friend across the street, "If you see a little baby with brown skin that's my sister." The following week we went as a family to a local playground. Another family came to visit this playground who also had a little girl with darker skin. This time it was Tyler's turn. "Hey, that girl has brown skin like Faith." Another teaching opportunity, that not all people want to have the color of their skin shouted out to the entire playground and there are other ways to celebrate our differences. The boys are processing all of this and I am thankful that they have a love for all people regardless of skin color. The latest comment came just the other day, first from Kody, "Mommy, I wish my skin was brown." "Yeah, me too," added Tyler. When I asked them why, they had both decided that they wanted to look like Faith. They love her so very much.

I hope as she grows she will also love the color of her skin and find the beauty in the rainbow that God has created. I hope that as her white mama I will do a good job of making her proud of her Ethiopian heritage and our family.

Comments

  1. Sonya,
    Thanks so much for sharing these stories. You have a way of putting all of this into words so well. It is such a different world for you all with other little children around that are processing race and adoption. I have also experienced positive reactions from strangers, including an African-American woman and her children. She asked if Samara was "mine," and I didn't really know what she meant by that, but I responded with "Yes! She is from Ethiopia and has been home a month!" She went on and on about how cute she was and offered a suggestion on a hair product. I loved it.
    Anyway, I am so happy that Faith is fitting right in with your family. I know that you will do a great job helping her love and understand her heritage.
    Jenn

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