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\"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for me.\" (Matthew 25:40)

A Future and A Hope Adoption Conference – Feb 20, 2010

A Future and A Hope Adoption Conference
Saturday, February 20, 2010  9:30AM – 1:30PM
Grace Covenant Church in Austin

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from a diverse group of speakers about a variety of adoption and foster care topics. The keynote speaker is Dan Cruver, director of Together for Adoption. Also this year, Jason Kovacs, Director of Ministry Development for ABBA Fund, will be back to discuss the financing of an adoption. In addition to those speakers, attendees will be able to participate in two breakout sessions. Several breakout session tracks are available, so conference goers can focus on their area of interest – domestic adoption, international adoption, foster to adopt, transracial adoption and medical special needs adoption.

Conference registration includes a box lunch and a conference notebook with notes and resources from every session.

Childcare is available via online registration through February 11 or until full. Click here to register!


Seeing Color

Another favorite post on transracial adoption, this time by “Tonggu Mamma” (who authors a wonderful blog about her experiences pre-and post-China adoption):

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seeing Color

I grew up in several diverse communities, among people of all races and faiths. My parents taught me from a very young age to do as Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated: to judge a person by the content of her character rather than by the color of her skin.

I always tried to do that.

When the Husband and I began discussing growing our family through adoption in 2003, we quickly turned to international adoption. Our reasons were complicated and many. Both the Husband and I expressed great interest in the global community. We’d previously lived as minorities within predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander communities – I in Japan and Hawaii and the Husband in Guam, South Korea and Japan. Also, between the two of us, we grew up with four cousins adopted from Asia. Most importantly, the Husband and I prided ourselves on being people who “didn’t see” color.

After researching various countries’ adoption programs, we selected China because of its highly ethical reputation.

We heard many comments from people during our adoption paperchase and wait. Most everyone offered an opinion about our decision. Some (bless them!) simply gave their support and offered congratulations. Some people applauded our open-mindedness for adopting a child not of our race. Some people, with great spiritual pride, stated that God called us to adopt these poor orphan children who needed to be saved by Christian families. Some asked us why we didn’t “adopt American.” And a few simply stopped asking us anything because they wished to avoid our soon-to-be multicultural family.

Very rarely did we feel comfortable with any of these conversations.

I experienced my first moment of overt racism just months before our adoption referral. The wife of an elder at our then-church and I joyously discussed the upcoming domestic adoption of dear friends of ours, SongOfSixpence and the King (although this time the baby was Blackbird rather than ThePie). Wife-of-the-Elder patted me on the shoulder, believing she consoled me, saying, “And they got a white baby.”

Remembering her words still brings tears to my eyes.

We’ve been home over three years now. We still face racism on a regular basis. Over the summer, we heard a relative comment on our daughter’s almond- shaped eyes and then say, “well, we think you’re beautiful anyway.” Last spring, the mother of a child in my daughter’s preschool class discussed the surprisingly sudden closure of a local African-American bookstore. The woman commented, “well, maybe it’s just because those people don’t read.” I can’t tell you how many people have cooed over my daughter, calling her a little China doll.

While y’all may not know this, the term China doll carries with it a history of meaning that causes me to blush in embarrassment and rage. Don’t use the term in reference to my daughter. Never.

Not. Ever.

The husband and I see little things as well… things that don’t feel so little when they are directed at our daughter or another person of her same race. Most Caucasian-Americans don’t label these “small” things as racist, but I disagree. Most wish to gloss over an event such as this because it doesn’t appear overtly horrible, but I’ve learned to trust my instincts about prejudice in all of its forms. I think the vast majority of white America is where I was five years ago: proud of the fact that I “didn’t see” color.

But it’s a lie. It’s also wrong.

To avoid seeing color is to avoid seeing the entire person. There exists a vast difference between acknowledging someone’s race and judging her because of it. Race and culture intertwine so, so closely that most times to deny race is to deny culture altogether. This is why so many adult transracial adoptees find themselves adrift in their late teens and early twenties – the world expects them to be one way and they simply don’t know how. They look Asian-American or Hispanic-American or African-American, but Caucasian-American parents raised them.

How confusing it must feel to many.

Most among our family and friends feel the Husband and I place too much emphasis on race and culture when it comes to raising our daughter. It’s not that we judge other parents for doing things differently… this is simply what feels right for our family. We find ourselves wondering why our attendance at a weekly Mandarin language class makes others feel so uncomfortable. Why do we feel bombarded with subtly disapproving comments about our choice of church (a local Chinese-American church) or our family traditions surrounding Chinese cultural holidays? We do nothing that contradicts our personal faith nor our family values, so why does it bother others so, so much? Some family members tell us that our daughter is a member of God’s family and THAT alone should be our emphasis. They disapprove of our decisions.

Fortunately, we realize that God chose us alone to be our daughter’s parents.

And, after three plus years raising my daughter, I do know one thing: people see color. My husband and I plan to do our best to help our little Tongginator navigate this truth. We also hope to help others learn that race matters in our family. I don’t want people to consider our daughter a pseudo-white person simply because my husband and I are her parents. She isn’t, nor will she ever be, someone other than who she is. A large part of her identity centers around the fact that she is a Chinese-American adoptee. To deny that is to deny her.

Ignoring her race won’t make it disappear. We’ve read the words of and spoken with too many transracial adoptees, now adults, who believe that the single largest area where their parents failed them involved forming a healthy racial and cultural identity. Seeing color, but not judging it, matters. That’s what I’d like for my daughter to experience.

I want others to see her color, but I want them to judge her character.

Wouldn’t you want the same?

Well said….

Justin Taylor (blogger for the Gospel Coalition), on transracial adoption:

“We don’t regard our transracial adoption as something especially noble or sacrificial, or anything like a social statement. This is simply the way that God in his providence has designed our family to expand, and we sense his great grace in the way he has knit our family together.

But some people still wonder if transracial adoption is all that wise. What if they are called names in school? What if their friends tell our children that my wife and I are not his “real” mommy and daddy? What if our kids have an identity crisis, unable to figure out who they really are?

All of these things may indeed happen with our children. But the truth is, all of our children are going to face various forms of challenges, and we simply cannot predict with any degree of certainty what particular obstacles they will deal with. Nor can we prevent all of them.

Will our kids be eloquent and persuasive, or stammer with stage fright? Will they be the star athletes, or the class klutzes? Will they be leaders or followers? Trend setters or always one step behind? Will they be healthy or sickly? Will they be mocked for following Christ and swimming against the culture stream? We simply don’t know, and there usually does not seem to be much purpose in planning our lives around the minimization of challenges we cannot control.

It’s important to recognize that in the midst of talking about spiritual adoption, Paul listed a requirement of kingdom citizens who are to be heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—we will receive an inheritance “provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:17). To be a Christian is a call to suffer: “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). If we’re surprised at suffering then it’s because we haven’t read our Bibles closely enough: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4:12). If a disciple wants to be like his teacher, and a servant like his master, then we are going to be maligned like Jesus was (see Matt. 10:25).
Now with all of this said, no one wants to create situations of undue suffering for their children. There are times when transracial adoption may be unwise. For example, we have American friends who are in the adoption process and who will be serving in cross-cultural missions in the Middle East. Being an African American child in a white family in an Islamic country that already stigmatizes adoption would be exceedingly difficult.

As long as sin remains—this side of the return of Christ and the ushering in of the news heavens and the new earth—racism will remain. There is virtue neither in overstating or unstating this reality. But the idea of having qualms about transracial adoption (or interracial marriage) because it will create opportunities for more racial prejudice doesn’t ultimately make a lot of sense. As John Piper has commented, “It’s like the army being defeated because there aren’t enough troops, and the troops won’t sign up because the army’s being defeated.””

Welcome home, Amos!

Amos is home! We have followed Aaron Ivey’s story about adopting Amos from Haiti for some time now.

Aaron leads worship here at a church in Austin. Somewhere along the way in his 2+ year saga of adopting Amos, Aaron wrote “Amos’ Story” – a beautiful, aching song that you can find on his new album, Between the Beauty & Chaos. Check out the song and accompanying music video below!

Anyway, I stumbed upon the song “Amos’ Story” while we were waiting to adopt our son, Tai, from China last year. I can SO relate to every word. I took the song with me to China on my iPod, and it’s what I listened to right before we left the hotel room to go get our son on Gotcha Day. Still makes me cry when I hear the words.

Due to circumstances in Haiti after the earthquake, Amos received humanitarian parole and and he was allowed to come home last week – my husband and I cried as we watched the footage on the news of Aaron and his wife coming down the Austin airport escalator with Amos!

Welcome home, little guy! God is good!

MOSAIC has launched!

First, a little bit about us… we’ve been ‘gloriously ruined’ by having our eyes opened to the tragedy of the worldwide orphan crisis. Seeing it up close and personal while we traveled down the path to parenthood was heartbreaking and life changing. But more often than not, pain causes a reaction (if it hurts, stop doing that!… or in this case, if doing nothing hurts, get moving!). So, this nagging hurt in our souls gradually morphed into a burning fire in our hearts to take action.  As Edward Everett said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Our life change began three years ago, when we adopted our daughter (then aged 2-1/2) from China. Sixteen months later, we were eager for #2. China again, but this time around, we went the ‘medical special needs route’. Our beautiful son (age 3-1/2), missing his right leg from the knee down – but completely unaware of his ‘limitation’ I’m convinced –  has been home with us for 5 months now (and gets his new leg next week!)

We’re still thinking and praying and searching for the right path (or paths) to take, but we have stepped out in faith and taken action. You gotta start somewhere, right? So, where are we going? Well, in a couple different directions.

First, we founded MOSAIC, an adoption | foster | orphan care ministry at our church. MOSAIC’s official launch is Sunday, Feb 7, 2010. Read more about MOSAIC here.  In 2010, MOSAIC is initiating and facilitating a long term partnership between Northpoint church (outside of Austin, Texas) and the Fountain of Life (FOL) church in Juja, Kenya (just outside of Nairobi). Northpoint supports FOL’s vision of orphan rescue and long-term care, and we will support them financially, through prayer and via mission trips.  We’re calling this C2C relationship PROJECT JUJA – click here to learn more!

We’ve also begun to serve on the Board of An Orphan’s Wish – which is a charity devoted to the financial sponsorship of the House of Love. The House of Love (HoL) is a group foster home in Guilin, China run by missionaries. HoL currently houses about 2 dozen children with special needs. The infant unit manages a wide range of medical issues, and the older children primarily have limb abnormalities and cerebral palsy. Last year, HoL launched a Club Foot Clinic, managing a large number of children’s cases successfully through non-surgical progressive casting.

And, what else…. oh yeah, (if you can call this ‘taking action’), we spend alot of time talking and wondering about where God is planning to send us for kiddo #3!

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