December 3, 2010

Is That an Obstacle to Love?

I've been a little sad and frustrated lately.  Three friends of ours are who are in the early stages of adopting a child from Africa are all facing opposition from their families.  The most difficult thing for me to swallow is that they all come from Christian families.

Please forgive me if this is too blunt.  But who cares if they're black?

We're talking about children created in the image of God.  They're people.  Let's close our eyes and remember that they have beating hearts and souls that will live forever.  They were born in one of the most poverty stricken places in the world.  They're desperate for the basic things we take for granted.  And they need a mommy and daddy.

It's just hard for me that some of the families who struggle with their children adopting a brown baby would think it's cute and acceptable to adopt an Asian baby.  That Asian baby would be just as obviously not a biological child.  So the issue here is skin color, not adoption.  Skin color.  The more I think about it, the more it boggles my mind.  It would be like saying I can't be your mom because my nose is bigger than yours.  External, unimportant stuff.

I picked up Dr. Russell Moore's book Adopted For Life again to see what he had to say.  And he doesn't hold back. 
Hesitancy about transracial adoption is so sad...because it's one more reminder of how we are "conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:2), with all it's pitiful divisions.  Yes, parents will have to raise children to contend with whatever challenges may await them. ... But is that an obstacle to love, for people who believe the gospel?

This is especially relevant since everyone reading this book, if in Christ, has been transracially adopted

If you're not sure you can love a child with a different skin color than yours, the first step for you has nothing to do with the adoption process.  Repent, and open your heart to love.
 Here's where it gets hard.  Are you ready for this?
The Spirit does indeed command us to honor father and mother (Ex. 20:12).  He also tells us, though, that we're to leave father and mother in order to cleave to our spouse, to bring about a new family (Gen. 2:24).  Moreover, Jesus tells us that the gospel brings division, sometimes with "father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law" (Luke 12:53). 

Of course, as Paul commands, "so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom. 12:18).  But if your parent or grandparent or some other family member rejects your child on the basis of his or her race, then your first responsibility is to your child.  What if you gave birth to a baby with Down's syndrome and your parents were angry about that?  The baby, they tell you, wasn't what they were expecting.  Would you reject your baby?  No; you'd tell your relative, "I'm really sorry you feel this way.  But if you can't love my child, you can't love me.  We stand or fall together."  The same is true here.  If your relatives love their bigotry more than your child, speak to them lovingly but directly, just as you would if they were caught in any other sin.  But don't give anyone's bigotry veto power over your family.

As Christians, our love for our neighbor means we must prioritize the need for families for the fatherless, regardless of how their skin colors or languages line up with one another.
I do want to say that I'm optimistic.  I think that once these friends of ours get matched with children and their families see their faces, things will change in their hearts.  And once those precious children come home, I just can't see at all how there would be opposition left.  But I realize that this is new territory for some people.

Can I ask you to pray for our friends, that God would strengthen and encourage them, and that He would work in the heart of their families?

1 John 3:17-18   But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 

1 Corinthians 13:3  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

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