“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” – Revelation 7:9-10
During an interview with an adoption agency, a social worker grilled Greg and me about whether we could effectively parent a child who wasn’t white. She said she thought it would be harder to have a black baby in our rural small town. She questioned and prodded in ways that made it clear she didn’t think we were capable.
Tears welled in my eyes then and again now as I think about our small church. In the rows of seats, a teenager from Nepal, a son and daughter from Liberia, another boy from China call this place – their families, our church, this country – their homes.
One of our dearest friends is from Kenya. We long to go to back to Guatemala sometime. I have white friends with black and brown babies.
Sure, I notice people’s skin color. I also notice their hair color, and T-shirts I like. I realize people come from different places, making them sound and look different. I didn’t need my kids to look like me. Turns out, they do. But their skin tone wasn’t a requirement for our family.
And that’s what I told the social worker years ago.
“Jesus loves the little children / All the children of the world / Red and yellow, black and white / They are precious in His sight / Jesus loves the little children of the world”
Sure, being a minority in a small western Kentucky town may be harder. But parenting brings other potentially difficult circumstances to the surface.
God obviously knit together the five people He wanted to be a family – our family. I’m forever grateful for that and have no doubts we are who was meant to be together. But sometimes I remember that conversation with the social worker – and race wasn’t the only hard part of it – and am disappointed she didn’t believe in us.
Even so, since then God used where we had been and what those experiences taught us to solidify even more of what was to come for our family.
The social worker didn’t ask me how I feel about my oldest daughter’s biological father being Iranian. She didn’t ask me what I would do if my son was diagnosed with ADHD. She didn’t wonder how we would handle medical situations or behavior problems our kids, like any kids, could face. She didn’t give any credit to the community around us.
God has written beautiful,
colorful stories around us.
Motherhood is constantly surprising. I’m surprised in good ways when my kids do things I didn’t realize they could do and say things that prove they really are listening. Sometimes I’m surprised with difficult, exhausting situations I’m not sure how to handle, but God provides wisdom through His word and the people He’s put in my path.
The social worker was fixated on skin color and I knew then and still believe now that one single part of a person – even a part one may notice first – doesn’t define him or her. People from all tribes and nations will one day spend eternity together worshiping the God who made us all and creates families.