Disclaimer: We are not adoption professionals.
We are adoptive parents hoping to help other adoptive parents.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Changing Culture One Family at a Time

My Dad is 70 years old. He grew up in a small town in Kansas in which he saw separate drinking fountains and designated bathrooms for white people and black people . My dad saw signs that said “Colored Enter in the Back”. My dad heard dozens of politically correct and downright hate-filled terms to define a people group in his lifetime. My mom had similar experiences. The generation of my parents closely watched the black and white televisions report the story of historically monumental leaps in the civil rights movement. I’m guessing the opinions did not vary much of that generation who watched this happen.

But now 70 years later, my dad and my mom will be grandparents to an African child. We will soon adopt a child from Ethiopia. They are receiving this child with open arms. Not without concern (as they should as parents), but in love and courage and faith.

We are slowly progressing forward even more in bridging the gaps between races. I believe that transracial adoption, while not overwhelming in the percentage of families who adopt outside of their race, it is extremely impactful in the lives of a family and community. It requires the races to hit head on with the heart and mind. I believe God will use the transracial family to require amazing love in and for all people. It is the impact of the family in which God will change a culture.

Jesus never tried to change society or government systems. In fact, he actually had an approach that we would characterize as very passive towards political and societal systems. What Jesus did focus on is the change in the individual, in the family. This is where the catalyst begins. Change the individual first and then the culture will follow.

This is what transracial adoption does for culture. It starts with the individuals, the families. My white sons will have a black sister. We will raise these children knowing both the traditions of our families before us. We will raise them with Russian traditions and we will raise them with Ethiopian traditions and with those mixed up European traditions. My sons will know what African hair feels like, they will eat injera, and they will know African history. They will know the culture of African-Americans like I never did. My daughter will sip tea, celebrate Father Frost and know what a Russian “samovar” is.

There will be a personal knowledge of the races between my children that I never knew.

And those around us will see how our children interact. Their children will watch and be a part of the changing cultural as they become familiar with different traditions and ways. But it is not familiarity of traditions that cause someone to change their perspective. What will change perspective is when they befriend and love the people who celebrate those different traditions.

Transracial adoption is the beginnings of a changing community, a changing culture. It is really remarkable to get to be a catalyst to a changing world. I count it a great blessing.

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