I'm so thankful to say that our family has been warmly received by most people we run into, people of all ages and from all cultures. But every once in a while a crazy conversation with a stranger at a grocery store will surprise me.
Yesterday the kids and I dropped by Walmart to grab a couple of things we'd run out of. Since it was a quick trip, I was letting them help me push the cart. Near the back of the store, an older black man passed by us and said, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice, "well they look just like you." I smiled at him and kept walking (remember that I have two three year olds helping me push the cart!). Though he was behind us now, he called back out to me, "what are you, a day care?" I looked back at him and politely said "no, sir" in a way that I hoped would end the conversation. As we were walking, he called out a final time, "what, CPS?" I looked back at him again and said politely but with more firmness, "no sir, they're my children," and kept walking.
I am amazed sometimes at the boldness and rudeness of strangers. As our kids grow up, I'm sure they'll be asked questions at times too, and we're trying to equip them with knowledge so they will be able to answer them graciously and well, and not be shaken by them.
We recently bought a children's adoption book called On the Far Side of Poplar Pond, and the kids and I have been reading it just about every day (mostly because my son likes the part where the duck and turtle splash in the water). I love it because it portrays the birth mother in a positive light at the beginning and end of the book, it doesn't view questions as threatening, it talks about how looking like one another isn't what makes a family, it emphasizes that when a child is adopted the new family is forever, and most importantly, it talks about how adoption is God's idea - He adopts us as His children when we trust in His Son Jesus. I hope to also eventually buy Chosen by Love, which Noel Piper recommends, though it seems to be a book that would be better for when the kids are a little older.
I've seen a few articles floating around on the internet written by black individuals that had been adopted as children by white parents. Some of them speak of persistent identity struggles. But I've noticed a trend. I haven't read an article like that written by a Christian. And that's why those articles don't scare me. Because Jesus is where our hope lies, and it's in Him that our true identity is found. For every article I've seen where an adult that doesn't trust in Jesus struggles with identity, I can think of another case where a follower of Jesus has a close, loving relationship with their parents and peers. I blogged about one example here, and am inspired by another example here.
We live in a world where our identity in Christ will be challenged by those who do not know what the Bible says or believe it to be true. But praise God, He has told us the truth in His Word about who He is and who we are. If we trust in Jesus's death on the cross in our place, if we look to Him as Lord and as the greatest treasure of our life, we are God's true children.
So I'm not surprised that when God has made our family a picture of the adoption that takes place when He makes us His children, the world would attack it at times. But the reality is that God has made them our true children. What a joy! And what motivation to respond to others with grace and truth, just as God has shown to us.