Friday, March 23, 2012

Raising a Black Child in a Yellow World

While the title itself might convey a prejudice, I used that title on purpose. It seems prejudice when read by American eyes. But actually, my Chinese friends refer to themselves as yellow and my daughter as black. Our entire family is labeled "outsiders." We hear that phrase at least half a dozen times a day. She gets called "little black girl" at school and in our home by friends. When I hear it, my instinct is to lash out and correct them. I have to be slow in my defenses because they are not being derogatory, but rather descriptive. Because in America if I called someone yellow or "little black kid," I would get reprimanded in the form of a swift kick to the spleen. Our Chinese community doesn't have the emotional baggage tied to black and white race issues that I do as an American.

I am not going to say that Chinese people have no racist thoughts against the black community. I have heard stories of black adults being ostracized or mocked here. But, I also know that if we lived in America, people might possibly say horrendous things too. It's good for my soul to remember that and not villainize the people here. There are ignorant, mean people everywhere. Most the of the families I know that have adopted from Ethiopia and live in China have similar experiences to our family.

People still say funny things about our family like, "Are you Madonna?" But the bottom line is that they have NO idea why our family looks the way it does. Most Chinese would only consider adoption if the woman was barren. Period. To not share a bloodline is both shameful and second class. 

We can obviously birth children. Some people call it our hobby. So why in the world would we adopt?! They cannot wrap their minds around it. 

When we first brought M home, we tried to avoid using the tagline "Well, she's adopted." We aren't at all ashamed of adoption, we just didn't want that to become her tagline. Like Macauly Culkin-"that kid from Home Alone." Poor guy.

That's great, except that people don't let it die. 

"Did you have an affair with a black man?"

"You have been married twice?"

"She has a contractable, fatal skin disease?"

"You haven't bathed her yet this month?"

You see, I'd rather avoid these assumptions and just explain the beauties of adoption. For me to speak so boldly that she is adopted makes smoke come from people's ears here. I remind them that it's because Jesus has first loved me that I am able to love my daughter. That HE choose ME to be HIS daughter and so I wanted to do the same for M. The second a visitor walks into our home, M goes running with her adoption photo album in hand. She shows them the pictures, explains her story. As a family, we have chosen to redeem the negative ideas regarding bloodline. We are hoping to show that family means much more than sharing DNA, especially when we have a Father that includes people of every tribe, nation, tongue and tribe into His own family. 

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