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Red and Yellow, Black and White …

Those of you who grew up in “Christian” homes probably read the title and immediately started humming … or trying not to. I understand. This is not exactly my favorite song, but it seemed a good intro to this post. While this simple minded song may not be “deep” theologically, it does remind us of a simple truth: all children are precious in God’s eyes.

This song reminds me of one of the saddest realizations of our foster/adoption process. Early in the process we were asked about our “preferences” for children. This seemed an odd concept. We wanted kids, why be picky? Still, it made sense that they should ask. We told them that we would take any child or children. We were willing to take one child, or two. Either gender was fine. If there were two siblings, we would consider any gender combination, though two boys would require the most of us to come up with clothes, toys, etc. since we only had a daughter at that point.

Then they asked about race. We said, in essence, “who cares?” We were willing to take any race. Then we got a surprise, of sorts. They seemed pleasantly surprised. “That’s good, because a lot of our kids are minorities.” I wasn’t surprised that they were happy with our flexibility, just the fact that they seemed surprised about it. Apparently, most of the white couples they get will only consider white children.

I can understand this, on one level. Why subject yourself or the kids to stares and questions about the obvious racial difference if you don’t have to? It is “easier” to look similar, or at least close enough to avoid the attention of strangers in stores or on the street. I get that, but what about the fact that minorities can often be harder to place? In fact, the state of Pennsylvania has several qualifications for children to be labeled “hard to place”. Any of these is sufficient to warrant extra incentive from the state to families willing to adopt. One of these is that the child is a minority (a child with disabilities, a sibling group of children placed together, a child over age 5, etc. are also qualifications). If a child is a minority, they are hard to place. To us, this meant that they were to be preferred! God loves all children; why wouldn’t we sign up to help with the kids most likely to slip through the cracks in the system? The end result is that our family is now more diverse, and therefore a little more like God’s family. God’s family is the most diverse family ever! We are told that in heaven people from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue will be gathered to praise our Creator, who created us in myriad ways. Only when we are together in the diverse harmony of our joined lives, tastes and experiences can we sing the song for which we were ultimately created. Joy and I can now practice this harmony a little bit better because we have a chance to think about life in a different color skin as we prepare to help our children process a world in which that difference will affect their experience in profound ways we might never have realized any other way.

To close with another song, and one my kids love to sing. (I first heard it from the Newsboys, but there are multiple versions of it now.)

All God’s children singing,
Glory, Glory … Hallelujah! He reigns.

To make this realistic … sing the first line again immediately after finishing the second, and keep restarting until your parents tell you to stop and find something better to do. 😉

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