July 27, 2012

Do I Have What it Takes to Raise an African Child?

Before we brought our kids home, I thought pretty frequently about what it would be like to raise black children.  It was unknown and it was intimidating.  A hundred fears could have crippled me if I dwelled on them.

Now that we have black children, I can honestly say that it's never felt hard to me.  Not once. 

So I joyfully pass along this article that a dear friend shared with me.  She and her hubby are in the process of bringing home a sweet baby girl from Congo.  I'll just go ahead and put the whole thing here rather than link it, in the hopes that I'm improving your odds of actually reading it!  It's short and it's full of beautiful, Biblical truths.

Do I Have What It Takes to Raise an African Child?

Several months ago a friend e-mailed me a humbling question. She asked:
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 friend for asking me these questions. What a humble woman to seek out the thoughts and advice of a woman who doesrelate to being a minority. If I understand her questions, she is not alone in wondering these things.
So here's how I answered. I cannot speak for the entire black female community. Not only that, but my opinion is of little value compared to the opinion of God (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). And that is where I'd like to look. What does God's Word say about transracial adoption?
Do I have what it takes to raise an African child?
God's Word instructs us to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). This is no easy task. My parenting so far has been filled with crying out to God for wisdom and grace and praying God would captivate my kids' hearts. Apart from God's strength and wisdom none of us has what it takes to raise a child.
But you do have a unique circumstance in raising a child outside of your "race." 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 wrestled 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 cannot do, as I've raised my kids I've learned to look upward. 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 (Psalm 16:5-6).

God's Thoughts

Your children have been sovereignly placed in your home by an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God! God calls us all to care for the orphaned. James addresses our obedience in this area as pure religion (James 1:27). God addresses the importance of caring for the orphaned through all of Scripture. But he isn't just commanding Christians to serve the afflicted; he encourages the orphan this way. Indeed, "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5).
You, transracial adoptive mom, are doing the work of the Lord! There will be difficulties, but as we all must, call out for wisdom from the God who loves to answer the prayers of the Saints (Proverbs 2:1-6).

Reflection of the Last Day

Each day you wake up to a home filled with color and diversity is a day that you wake up reflecting the last day. The last day when all tongues and tribes will be worshiping as one. You get a small glimpse into heaven. And if you have other children, they, too, get to experience firsthand the beauty and majesty of God's creativity.
So to answer your question: If God accepts both Jew and Greek, and if on that last day all nations will worship God together, surely I should be rejoicing at the thought of an orphan receiving a home regardless of race or ethnicity. I can be understanding, supportive, and grateful that God would lay it on your heart to care for black orphan children.
On that day I pray I will be standing beside you and your black child praising the Lord. 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 your sameness when that child knows the Lord as you do.


  1. This is a great article, thanks for sharing! We are doing our "transracial exercises" right now in the adoption process. The exercises take a more worldly view than I would prefer. This article is perfect...wish it replaced our exercise!

  2. This article is great and encouraging! We are doing our "transracial exercises" in the adoption process, and it takes a more worldly perspective than I would prefer...wish we could count this article as our homework instead! it is perfect.