We attended our final in-person Adoptive Training class on Sunday, June 30th. The class focus was on "Trans-racial Adoption." The discussion started out a bit difficult for us, for a few different reasons. One of those reasons was that the agency which was providing these classes is not a Christian agency. Without going into too much detail, being in this environment made us feel very heavyhearted. We left the class, slightly more encouraged than when we had arrived.. but still with questions.
The main question flashing brightly in our minds..When a Caucasian couple is desiring to adopt trans-racially, is there a cultural difference that needs to be addressed and more importantly embraced? Even though this may seem like an ignorant viewpoint, I felt like skin color simply shouldn't matter. (In fact, I mentioned this to the Dr. on the panel, who was African-American, and she clearly responded with, "well, what do you see when you look at me, you see a black woman!") At least in that setting, this kind of simple mindedness was not well received.
Matt and I were wrestling with this experience, as we tried to line it up with what we believe to be true of the gospel. If we, as brothers and sisters in Christ (from every cultural background), are adopted into the same family of God under one Father..why should we allow society/culture to dictate what is an appropriate family composition?
Listen to Voddie Baucham's counter-cultural response:
"Here's the question. The question is. How do I honor the
biology. That's the question. How do I honor the genetics. How do I
honor the culture. Let me respond. You Can't! And You don't have to.
A couple of things. Number 1, there is the cultural myth. The myth that
these people are dealing with is that black people have a culture.
Black people in Los Angeles are a lot different than black people in
Chicago, black people in Chicago are a lot different than black people
in South Carolina or Georgia, black people in Georgia aren't a whole lot
like black people in Texas, other than their melanin count. It is pure
myth that there is a such thing as a quote un quote African-American
Secondly, the only thing in anyone's culture that ought to be lauded
is that which is derived from and brings glory and honor to Jesus
Christ. If there is a part of "black" culture that is Christless, I do
not embrace it because I happen to be black. We embrace those things in
our cultures that are derived from and bring glory to and honor to the
Lord Jesus Christ. That's what we do. And here's what we get hung up on.
We think that somehow these difficulties are worthy of forgoing the
opportunity of giving someone the gospel! Listen to me. When children
are adopted into a home there is always an identity crisis. It is always
going to be difficult. But what we have to give is the gospel! That is
what is most important, and so we overcome these difficulties as they
arise. But this question comes from this idea that the most important thing for a black person is to be black! (That doesn't come from the Bible.) Give me the Gospel and let me be culturally awkward."
We have asked all family and friends to please listen to this full sermon by Voddie Baucham. It has been truly groundbreaking on many levels in our adoption process, not just regarding the trans-racial aspect. Please, please listen to this sermon, if you haven't already. (And if you have, listen again.. Matt and I continue to listen to over and over again.. it's THAT good!)
Voddie Baucham's sermon on Adoption:
In closing I would like to say, although we have learned beneficial
things through this class, the answer to our question doesn't lie in any
adoptee's experience in trans-racial adoption or even an expert in clinical psychology. The answer lies in the foundation of the gospel. I had lost focus in this, as I got wrapped up in the discussion of this "secular" training class.
Sadly, every household does not hold to this life-line truth, therefore
there will be trials in homes without the correct remedy. And
although, this truth will be present in our home and in our child's
life, this will not eliminate any struggles that may arise. It will
however, give us a guideline to live as we were meant to live, on this imperfect
side of heaven.