Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love is Love

I have been thinking about this post for over a month and have struggled with how to write it. I came across another blog post this morning that gave me some insight, so here you go!  Bear with me for a little backstory...

     We recently went to Washington D.C. when my husband had a conference to attend. The Little One (TLO) and I decided to tag along so we could visit with family both before his conference and after. But this turned out to be one of the more challenging trips we have taken. Within the first 3 days of our trip TLO crawled off the bed in the hotel twice, which she had never done before and resulted in a frazzled mom and baby. She also is a horrible sleeper when in a hotel (I see you mommy and daddy, so that must mean I don't have to sleep!!!!) I spent our first night at the DC hotel bouncing her on the side of the bed and humming for almost an hour trying to be mindful of our hotel neighbors. At some point in the morning she ended up in bed with us and all my attempts to get her to take a nap later that morning were futile as well. Since TLO's dad was headed off to his meetings and it was just us alone in the big  city for 2 days, I ended up getting a pass for one of the hop-on-hop-off tour buses and we just rode around the city. She slept great on the bus in her stroller but woke up if we got off.
I got to see a few sights and hear a lot of information from the audio tour on the bus, but all the things I thought we might get to visit didn't really happen. We did this for 2 days and it worked as well as it could.  But considering how hot it was it was, I was exhausted after wrestling her for 2 days through a hot city with little sleep. I was beaten down, worn out and questioning my sanity. And then we had the best dinner ever! Yes, that's right, it was a dinner that changed my whole trip and my whole perspective!
     We left our hotel and walked to a restaurant a few blocks away. While I was putting our name in for a table and trying to get the stroller stashed away in a coat closet, my husband was getting eyed by a couple of ladies at the bar. Well, technically it was TLO being eyed by the ladies, but he was holding her! As the host tried to take us to the table the ladies stopped me and asked to bring her closer so they could see her.  This sounds weird, but we rarely go out to eat without being stopped and told how adorable she is, so we're kind of used to it! She was oooh'd and awwww'd over her and then we went to our table. Dinner was nice, but TLO was tired and about ready for bed so she wasn't at her best. But as we started to leave the same ladies were still at the bar and waved us over again. One of the ladies said she teaches dance and would we please bring her to her mommy and me dance class?  We told them we were visiting from out of state, but thanks for the offer. And then it happened. The 2 minute exchange that made all of the frustration, exhaustion and stress from the previous days disappear. One of them said to us "thank you so much for going across the racial lines to adopt! I had a rough home life and would have given anything to have had 2 loving parents of any color instead of the situation I had.  You can tell she is happy and healthy and that you are too!"  This meant so much to me to hear this.  In our everyday life I rarely think about how we look as a family. But while we were in DC where there was a larger African-American population I felt the looks we were getting while walking down the street.
All 3 of us at Mount Vernon
Sometimes it was just a puzzled look, often it was just smiles at something TLO was doing, but sometimes I had felt judged. Sometimes I could almost hear the thought "why do they have a black child? That child should be with a black family who can teach her about her heritage and how to be a strong black woman." It's probably just my own insecurities that make me hear those things but I want to be honest about how I was feeling. But here we were in a restaurant with 2 African-American women telling us that they admired us for what we were doing.  So there I stood with tears in my eyes as they told me "keep doing what you're doing. She is beautiful, I can tell you spend time taking care of her hair which is important. Give her education and opportunities to explore all her talents. Give her all life has to offer. But most importantly, give her love. Love is love, no matter the color."
We left the restaurant that night standing a little taller, with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. We left there and said "that just made my week."  That night in the hotel even seemed to go a little better.  TLO probably didn't sleep any better than she had been, but I felt like I had a little more energy to deal with it.  We've been told similar things before, but there was a difference.  Usually when we're told that someone admires us for adopting transracially it's either by a friend or by someone who is white. So I guess I tend to brush those comments off.  But having someone I didn't know who was black tell me such things just made me melt. It was like all my insecure thoughts got a whole lot smaller. Those thoughts were being fought with positive affirmations. And as little Noah reminded me in this article, Martin Luther King, Jr told us "it's the content of your character that matters, not the color of your skin."  Or perhaps in our case, "it's the content of your parenting that matters, not the color of your skin."

     So to the 2 women at a restaurant bar in Washington DC, I'd like to say "thank you." Thank you for helping me work on my insecurities. Thank you for letting me know how you feel so I don't make up my own interpretations of what you're thinking about us when you look at us.  Thank you for giving me positive affirmations and your endorsement.  And thank you for giving me a little extra energy that night to get through the rest of our trip.  Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we wouldn't expect.  That very morning, according to my journal I had prayed "please Lord, give me a reprieve today. Help me to find a way to enjoy this day in spite of my fatigue and the heat and a cranky baby. Remind me God that I want to help this child see sights across the world and that this trip is just one of many.  Lift me up Lord, lift my spirits and my heart and help me to see You."  I never would have imagined that the answer to my prayer would come from 2 women at a bar, but it did!

     I had been wondering how to write about this experience when I came across this blog post by Shaun Groves this morning. The verse he shared hit home "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." -Ephesians 1:17.  On that day God blessed me with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and I came to know Him better.  What have you been praying for recently?  What lessons have you learned?  Are you praying about your insecurities?

Lord, thank You for accepting me as I am with all my insecurities and flaws. Thank You for giving me wisdom when I need it. I am but a flawed human and know that I will continue to struggle with these insecurities, but help me God to turn to You for a reminder. Amen.


  1. That is a great story! I take heart from it as well, as I battle similar insecurities and fears raising our beautiful AA daughter. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. That is a beautiful story . your daughter is adorable. I too have an adopted daughter that is black and one that is hmong. there is a neat website called Chocolate hair vanilla care . great ideas on hair care and trans-racial adoption