Yes and Thank You: A Note to Transracial Adoptive Moms

By Trillia Newbell

My sweet babies

Over the past month I’ve received a few questions from mother’s who are eager to serve their children and also know if what they are doing is wrong.

Here is one of the latest email questions:

“I know we are new friends but I wanted to engage you on a topic that I know many white mothers who adopted African children (or domestically adopted bi-racial children) wonder. That is, in our insecure moments, we wonder a) Do I have what it takes to raise an African child (because I really do NOT get what it’s like to be in the minority–I don’t even think minority) and b). Do all the African American women out there frown upon us having adopted a black child?”

I thanked my new friend for asking me these questions. What a humble woman to seek out the thoughts or advice of a woman who does relate to being a minority.  If I understand her questions it appears she is not alone in wondering these things. Because she is not alone, I thought I would address her questions here.

Do I have what it takes to raise an African child?

My question is; do any of us really have what it takes to raise children? God’s Word instructs us to train up our children in the way he should go (Prov 22:6). This is no easy task. I’m not an expert on raising kids, but I do know that my task so far has been filled with crying out to God for wisdom and grace and praying that God would captivate my kid’s hearts. I don’t have what it takes but God has given me his Word and his Spirit. With that said, we are in it together!

But you do have a unique position in raising a child outside of your “race” and I understand. I have two beautiful biracial babies (they aren’t babies anymore, but they’ll always be my babies). My kids have very light complexions, my son has straight hair and if you saw them on the street, without me, you would think they were white (only). I’ve had to wrestle with wondering if my son would reject me as he gets older and realizes just how different we look.

But instead of looking inward at what I can or can not do, as I’ve raised my kids I’ve learned to look upwards. God in his sovereignty made me their mommy. He knew before time that they would be knit in my womb(Psalm 139:13). Though your babies weren’t knit in your womb, God knew that one day they would call you mother.  The lines have fallen for you in pleasant places and I believe the lines have fallen for your children in pleasant places too.

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:5-6 ESV).

Do all the African American women out there frown upon us having adopted a black child?

That’s right. I believe your children have been sovereignly placed in your home by a all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God! Though I cannot speak for all black women, I’d say not all African American women  frown upon you having adopted a black child. Are there some who might, sure. But I am convinced that God is pleased! Read this:  “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27 ESV).

If that wasn’t encouraging, look at the way God views his role to the orphan:

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (Psalm 68:5 ESV).

“Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3 ESV).

“‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen’”(Deuteronomy 27:19 ESV).

You, transracial adoptive mom, are doing the work of the Lord! Yes, there will be difficulties that you will need to grow to understand such as insecurities, kids relating to others, racism, and potentially fears.  God will give you wisdom if you call out for it (Proverbs 2:1-6). Who am I to tell a fellow Christian, a sister in the Lord, that they should not adopt because of skin color? If God does not distinguish between Jew or Greek and if on that last day all nations will be present worshipping, surely I can be not only understanding, not only supportive, but grateful that God would lay it on your heart to care for black orphan children.

On that day I pray that I will be standing beside you hand-in-hand along with your black child praising the Lord. My first ministry is to my children- a daunting and oh so wonderful task it is. Thank you for extending your ministry in your home to those who are different than you and by the grace of God those differences will be secondary to the sameness that will be when that child knows the Lord as you do.

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