Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why We Adopted Black Babies

Any adoptive parent can tell you that adoption related questions are often the most intrusive, insensitive and outright rude. That's not to say that other parents haven't experienced the rude comment or two from an occasional stranger. But, with adoption for some reason people often think they have carte blanche to say or ask whatever the heck they want.

I've been asked more times than I can count if my two adopted children are my "real" children (I change their poopy diapers and rock them to sleep at night, so I REALLY am their mother), if they are siblings (they are now), how much did they cost (how much did your c-sections cost?), do my two biological children accept them (huh? as much as any siblings accept each other, whatever that means), but the most jarring question I've been asked repeatedly is why we adopted black children. To be clear, I've been asked that by both white and black people.

It is a loaded question. Sometimes it's loaded with accusations or mistrust. Sometimes it's loaded with curiosity or ignorance. Sometimes it's loaded with racism. The answer to that question is even trickier. We did not set out to adopt black children; we set out to adopt children. When the agency asked us what race of baby we wanted, we said, "It doesn't matter. We just want the child that is meant to be in our family." We filled out our homestudy paperwork, did our fingerprints and background checks, said lots of prayers and waited to be chosen by a birth mother. Why did our children's birth mothers pick a white family for their children to grow up in? As much as people may want a logical straightforward answer, the REAL answer is that God led us all to each other.

The first time our adoption agency talked to us about Forest, the strongest, warmest feeling flooded my heart and I knew he was meant to be our son. We had just said no to the agency the day before about a white baby boy, not because he was white, but because it didn't feel right. He wasn't our boy. Forest was our boy, and even though we both felt so strongly that he was meant to be with us, his birth mother didn't pick us. We were disappointed and confused. Three days later, she delivered Forest and chose us to be his parents. We both cried when we got the phone call and eleven hours after his birth we were holding him in the hospital.

Kiira's story was different but just as beautiful. Forest was only 9 months old when I began having very strong feelings that there was another baby meant to be in our family. I was terrified to tell Kent, and he pretty much thought I was insane at first. But, after several days, he came back to me and said he had prayed about it and that I should go ahead and contact the agency. Kiira was born nine months later and after 2 failed placements. Nine months later. That meant that when I had the impressions that there was another baby, she had just been conceived. Kiira's birth mother chose us 2 weeks before Kiira's birth and being with her and her/our baby in the hospital was a spiritual experience.

There is a plan that is greater than all of us. God works in all of our lives to bring us to where and with whom we need to be. We adopted black babies because Forest and Kiira were meant to be in our family and they are black. Their blackness has enriched our lives in ways we never could've anticipated, and more importantly the essence of who they are, their spirits, have completed our family. None of us would've been who we were meant to be without them, and they will become the people God plans for them to be because of our being together.

I think most people who ask why we adopted black children are looking for a race-based answer or at least a racial justification. The honest answer, however, is spiritual and more than just skin-deep.


The Sams said...

Kim, well said! You have such a beautiful family and all of your kids are so lucky to have you as a mom!

Financial Aid for College said...

What a beautiful, wonderful post! I've never asked, but I have wondered about the progression. I'm so glad you told us this spiritual story.

I wonder if a good answer for people who ask would be "Seriously? Because God definitely told us to, and we are so glad we did."

And being ME, I would add, "And I hope you will be nice to them."

Tammy said...

I wish the world would just let everyone be. We are all the same - we just come in different packages because our Heavenly Father chose to allow us this beautiful diversity.

People question everything. I often get strange questions about my kids "Are they both yours?" (Um yes) My mom always got "Which ones are yours and which are his?" (They are all ours). These questions can sure be hurtful - but through this you can teach and bless many lives.

Think of every question as an opportunity for you to share a little message of faith and love... Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Lord blessed your family so beautifully.

Keep hanging in there. We miss you dearly and love keeping up with your life via this blog. Kiss those adorable little faces for me!

Omgirl said...

Wow. What a deep and very spiritual post, Kim. I felt the spirit so strongly as I read it! I truly feel you are right--our children, however brought to our famly--are there because they are meant to be there. Bless you for being open enough to accept them regardless of how they came or what they looked like.

p.s. People and the comments they make! I couldn't believe the things people said to me while I was pregnant. Telling me I was huge, for one. Like somehow it's OK to say that to a woman because she's pregnant when you would never say that to a big woman who wasn't pregnant. I wonder what makes people think they can say rude things under such circumstances like that and like yours.