Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Little Girl

Today is my daughter Anisa's 2nd birthday...

We took these pictures recently right after we came home from church and had taken her hair down. As you can see, she's quite a character.

You probably also picked up the lack of family resemblance if you were paying close attention.

That's because she's adopted.

We picked her up from the agency on May 31, 2006 when she was only two days old. Her birth mom was a college student in Indiana who could not adequately care for her and loved her enough to seek something better for her.

She is absolutely beautiful. She takes my breath away when I look at her. She is every bit as wild as her pictures suggest, and I dream about what could be if all that personality and energy could be someday released for the Kingdom of God and the cause of Christ.

Many years ago, I decided that if I was really Pro Life, that had to translate into some form of tangible action beyond praying at abortion clinics. I believed and was convicted that I needed to adopt. By the grace of God, I married a woman who felt the same way. The good people at adoption agencies always warn against thinking of adoption in terms of "rescuing" a child, and in one sense I agree because that can become so patronizing.

But there is a real sense in which adopting is an act of giving of one's self for the sake of someone in need. Is that so bad? I don't think so. Was not God's adoption of me through Jesus a rescue?

Not that we're some kind of heroes, mind you. Anisa is more of a blessing to us than we are to her, I think. It's hard ot outgive God, and this little person is certainly a gift from God.

You probably noticed that she's Black.

We get questioned about this a lot. I wonder what the questions behind the questions are sometimes. I wonder what people really think, while not necessarily wanting to care too much what people think.

We enrolled in the Transracial adoption program deliberately, and were open to just about any baby placed with us. We specifically wanted a minority baby, despite all the complications that can cause down the road, because it seems minority babies are simply harder to place.

There are plenty of people who want to adopt, but many of them are white people who want a baby that looks like them and so will wait and pay. Or people who want a baby from China, which is cool. There are many minority couples and individuals who are very committed to adopting minority children. I have met some amazing people in this adoption journey.

There are also a few minority people who are (understandably) concerned about the cultural impact that transracial adoption might have, but seem unwilling to step up and adopt themselves. And of course there are many more who for whatever reason, good or bad, do not adopt at all.

What I'm not saying is that you don't love Jesus if you don't adopt or anything like that! There are a zillion causes to give one's life (or at least one's attention) to, and the only one that really counts for Christians is the cause of Christ: The Cross. Subordinate causes are a matter of gifting and conviction and the leading of the Spirit. Not everyone can devote their lives to fight AIDS or hunger or poverty. Not everyone is called to the city. Not everyone can be in full-time vocational ministry. Not everyone is called to adopt. The body analogy exists for a reason. So I'm not trying to pontificate or be sanctimonious.

I would challenge everyone with the life of this beautiful little girl, however: Think about adopting. I like what my friend Chris said about being pro life - it necessarily has to involve all of life, not just life before birth and after death.

So what do you think about adoption? And more specifically, what do you think about transracial adoption?

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Blogger blaise said...

Hey Bro! Great post...

Hmmm...i like what your friend says about being pro-life- the fact that it includes before-during-and after life.

Adoption is definitely something that I will consider and pray about. (I'll probably get a wife first ;) -- but really, I think this is something that I should pray about as that time approaches.


June 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I know I don't know you that well and I am usually leary of adoption across racial lines because of how it has been done in an almost reckless manor that is more about the adopting parents then the child but to be honest with you and your family I am thrilled to see you as parents of this child and know that because of your heart and insight that she will grow up knowing who she is and well aware of the world she lives in.

Thanks for being an example of how to do it the right way!

Grace and Peace to you and your family homie!

June 4, 2008 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

It's humbling and daunting to know that there are things we can never give her (passing down Black heritage) and things that we'll never understand that she'll face (racism) and things that love alone can't fix.

But she is loved. And we are surrounded by people in our Body who love us and her and can give her what she will need. They have already made themselves available and are already investing in her.

There will still be rough spots, though.

Thanks for the word, bro.

June 4, 2008 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

good word steve~ a great encouragement to me. We have 7 but I'll point my wife to your blog. Maybe we need 8 . . . 8 is enough as they say.

Did you think about adopting older kids? aren't those the toughest to place?

June 5, 2008 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

did you follow the anthony bradley blog about transracial adoptions? someone named eric posted a great "are you ready to adopt transracially" list that I am pretty sure you would resonate with. . .

June 5, 2008 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

We intentionally wanted to adopt a more difficult to place child, so we were open to a pretty broad range of children (mild birth defects, drug addicted, etc.), but we definitely wanted a child younger than our biological children, who were little at the time.

We ended up with a healthy, beautiful little girl. God know what we needed, I guess. Maybe what we could handle.

We are in the process of adopting again, with many of the same parameters, but we have never felt impressed to adopt an older child. I know that it would be extremely difficult to do at this point in our lives.

We have to be realistic about what we can do well.

June 5, 2008 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I think Chris has a link to the Anthony Bradley site. I'll check it out.

June 5, 2008 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Man, great stuff! Good discussion!

It really is a situation where there's no great, fantastic option, but a white (or otherwise) family adopting, especially, a black child can be done well, even if not all of life is ideal.

As mentioned in some of the posts on Anthony's site, ther aren't many options for kids in my daughter's birth situation, and none better than adoption. In our imperfect world, that adoption is increasingly transracial.

Pretty much a kid concieved in Anisa's situation faces four possibilities: Abortion, a home that is utterly unprepared to raise her, foster care until who knows when, or adoption.

I'm grateful we got to adopt her. I hope we do well by her.

June 5, 2008 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

bravo on that . . . the adoption option is really beautiful. . . .


June 5, 2008 at 7:24 PM  

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