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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Trans-racial Adoption

I love to see Justus' skin against my skin. He has the perfect colored, cafe mocha skin. As you can see by our family picture, Justus has a little more pigment in his skin than the rest of us. How I envy him.
For some people, this is a major issue. Pigment. We get the occasional stare, and even some hurtful comments have been made. But for the most part, our friends, families, and churches have been awesome. We'd like to think that racism no longer lives in our churches. Sadly, the Bacaks know differently. Since adopting a baby who is 1/2 African American, a quarter Korean, and quarter Caucasian, our eyes have been opened to many things.
First our eyes had to be opened to any prejudice that was hiding in us. Before we got Justus, God took us through an introspective process, where we examined every racist influence we'd ever had in our lives. These influences, especially as children, taint our thinking. Racism is a perfect example of generational sin, that until you allow the Spirit to come in and do a work, will continue to be passed on for generations to come. Sin is our legacy.
I remember when I was a little girl, I went shopping at an antique store with my Mom. I fell in love with this doll. I thought she was so beautiful! My Mom surprised me with her on Christmas morning. I'll never forget my great-grandmother's response. She was a woman who loved God, and read her bible. But she used the n-word freely, and she was appalled that I wanted a n-word doll! I didn't understand racism until then. That left a mark on me.
God is so good to root out the ugliness in us when we ask Him to. As the Bride of Christ, it is time to ask Him. We need to admit to the racial attitudes hiding in the deep, dark places in us. It's not okay. James 2:1 says "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?" How can we?
White skin is considered more precious than brown skin. I know this because our trans-racial adoption cost less than a third of what it costs to adopt a white baby. There is a long list of Christian people waiting for white babies, and a precious handful of those willing to accept a baby of African American descent. The adoption agencies lose money on these adoptions because there just aren't enough families. This hurts me as a Mom, because I look at my three little gifts from God, and I wonder how anyone could not want my little "brown bear", as we call him. He is the equal blessing of my blonde-haired, blue-eyed gifts. This is something I am continuing to learn to deal with, and process. The day is coming when Justus himself will feel the stares, and the insensitive comments and questions. I need to be prepared for that day.
My heart's desire is to see Christians talk about this topic, and break the cycle of the generational sin of racism. I would love your thoughts and comments on how to make this happen.


Karen said...
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Karen said...

I totally agree that this a generational thing. I grew up much the way you did. I have heard the n word so many times I had become desensitized to it. Being out on my own and becoming a Christian openned my eyes to this.I think you and Rusty are incredible for takin a step in the right direction. People will be people and you cant control their remarks and attitudes. Just keep Justus pointed to Jesus and HE will take care of him and yall. I admire you and just wanted to say that I love little Justus!

Hendrick Family said...
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Hendrick Family said...

I have a lot of specific things to say about this topic since we too have a child whose skin is darker than the majority of the people in this family living in our home.

However, before I can get to that, I have some general thoughts as well.

I think this entire topic comes down to salvation. Really.

We hate to boil it down to that, because it’s uncomfortable.

It’s uncomfortable to think that all of the people that we know and love who have deep-seeded prejudice for people do not know the God they claim to serve.

Yet the question remains. Can you be living with deep-rooted prejudice and still claim to be a believer if God is not disciplining you and changing your thoughts and ideas?

None of us are perfect. I admit, I’ve never been prejudice because of skin color…but stupidity…now that makes me drive out of my way to go to Target instead of going right around the corner to my local Wal-Mart.

However, I know my irritation with Wal-Mart employees is wrong and am CONSTANTLY asking God to take that away and replace it with HIS LOVE for people who get a pay check from good ol’ Sam Walton.

I can not be ok with my negative thoughts about Wal-Mart workers because:

I claim to be a Christian.

I’m not sure what most people signed up for when they became a Christian, but the Bible says that Christians serve a God who says:

1. He loves the whole world. (John 3:16)
2. He says the way we love Him is to obey Him. (John 15:14)
3. One of the things He asks us to do is to love like He loves. (John 15:12)
4. How did he love? See number 1.
5. Jesus came to be a physical picture of how God loves and leads us. He is God with us. Deity lived with depravity. Yet, He says our attitude should be like His…not claiming to be better than others…instead, living a life of humility and DIEING to ourselves and our opinions. (Phil 2)
6. He told the Jews to love the Gentiles. He commands us over and over again to take care of the widow, the orphan and the alien…to treat them like we treat our own family.
7. He does not look at the outside, but the INSIDE. Our God may see our color, because to Him, I’m sure it’s a beautiful thing…however, He’s not concerned with anything on the outside of us…only what’s on the inside (1 Samuel 16:7).

I am praying that God would make me broken for those who have no desire to let the Lord break and change their long-held prejudices. I know that I certainly can not assume any longer, after looking at the evidence of scripture that a life lived in out-right rebellion to the Lord in this area is a fruit of salvation. Although painful and exhausting, I know the Lord is calling me to stop turning a blind eye…and start praying that “Christians” would get saved and then serve, follow and love in the very footsteps of their Savior.

3:00 PM

Seay Famiy said...

I also grew up hearing the "n" word from my grandfathers regularly. I'm so thankful that my parents worked to steer us away from that attitude. When I started 7th grade my junior high was "integrated" for the first time - that is, black people were going to go to school with white people. Can you believe that?
Their were 2 black girls in the whole school and both of them were in my grade. They became my best friends. As I look back on that time I have such admiration for those girls. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for them.
Having Justus in our family is such a beautiful picture of the kind of love that God expects us to have for all people. I am saddened by the racial prejudice that is still prevalent among Christians in our small corner of the world. I pray that the power of God's Holy Spirit would enlighten us and convict us of all prejudice.
I have worked at New Life Pregnancy Center for 17 years and the need for families open to black or part black children has not changed in all these years. It seems that we are always in desperate need for these families to open their homes to beautiful babies with pigment. Please pray for us that there will be families that will allow God to touch their hearts with a desire to open their homes.

melodi said...

I am living the Brady Bunch life these days and it's amazing! It's a rainbow-colored Brady Bunch, because while we have 3 boys and 3 girls in our household, 2 of those girls are African American.
Yes, I get many, many stares in public, but almost every time they stare, they also ask just enough to allow me to share our incredible experience with foster care and to allow God to completely open their eyes.
In the beginning, there were two very racist comments made to me, one by family member and one by an acquaintance from a church. Imagine my response to, "I just worry that your kids will grow up to like black people and think that it's o.k. to marry them." Actually, my response years ago most likely would have been lacking in godly words, but this time God just filled me with sadness for them. They have totally missed the boat on understanding anything at all about the love of Christ. I knew exactly how to pray for them at that point. The next ugly question asked of me was from the acquaintance: "Do these belong to someone at church?" I said no. They said, "I just wanted to know if I should help. At least at their age they don't see the difference between us." I wanted to scream this time. There were just so many things wrong with that question and comment that I didn't know where to begin. There have been many questions from African American girls at church, but it has been a great opportunity to just show those girls that love is not about color.
When we are told in James to care for the widows and orphans, it doesn't say ONLY IF THEIR SKIN IS THE SAME COLOR AS OURS. How many times do we want to add the "ifs!" Submit to your husband IF.....obey your parents IF....pray for your enemies IF....
These girls have added so much joy and love - and challenge - to our lives and have brought a unity to our family that has blown me away. I look at their color as an obvious way to share Christ. If we are blessed enough to make it to the adoption stage, we will always have an easy opening to share our faith with family, friends, and total strangers.


Jennifer Bacak said...

You're so right Melodi! It has always been an opportunity to share our faith with others. People will always ask me why we chose to adopt, and on cue, I can tell them about God's plan for our family. It has been an avenue to share our faith in a way in which people are asking US- in essence- 'tell me about Jesus!'
I pray you get to the adoption stage too. I pray for Danny, Dawn, and Denaya, and God's plan for their lives. Already, he has set their feet upon a rock, and they could not be in any better homes!
Thanks for sharing!

Karen said...

You women all pretty much amaze me everyday! Sometimes I feel like the kid whose watching the grown ups, even when you dont know I am watching. I watch yall live your lives and love GOD and love those precious babies. I have had a chance to really love on Justus and Danny and Dawn and they are amazing! I LOVE that you all treat these little ones the very same way I see ya treat all of your other ones! Its so sad that these kids have to grow up in such a hate filled, selfish, hurtful world, but I take comfort in knowing at least they are being raised in AMAZING homes by amazing parents!