I am preparing to head to a diversity experience/conference this coming week. I leave tomorrow for Lenses Institute. This is a required training experience for all staff members with Athletes in Action. I am grateful for the 6 days to pull away from daily life and reflect on my heart towards people that are different from me. I realize that just because I have an adoptive daughter whose race is different from mine it does not cleanse me from all the prejudices and racism in my heart. I would have never said I was racist but as I have gotten older in years I realize now that I, like all mankind, am a broken sinful person with racism in my heart. If we are honest with ourselves, call our sin what it is, and repent God changes our hearts of stone. Praise God that He can do this transformational work inside of us!
Being a trans-racial adoptive family I feel a bit of a responsibility to continuously look at how I am interacting ( or not interacting) with people of different races. I want to be on a continuous growth process in this area. I believe that because the people in my family have different skin colors I am given greater opportunities to engage with others about issues of diversity and racism. In the future, we has a family will have more conversations about racism because we are a trans-racial family then we would have if we were an all white family. We get looks ( both friendly and not) from people in the grocery store. People approach us and ask questions about where my daughter is from. We get comments, that as my children get older I will need to be able to respond to in helpful not hurtful ways. This is an extra challenge we face as an adoptive trans-racial family but one that I believe will enhance all our lives (like so many of the challenge adoptive families face)!
This summer while doing missions work in Boston, my children were playing on the grassy space outside MIT student union. Now, I am bias but my children are super cute (and they have different skin colors) so they get attention. But never before have they gotten so much attention at one time as they did this day at MIT. One by one these Asian people, that appeared to be touring campus, stopped to take pictures and video of my children while I sat nearby watching this unfold. I could not help but wonder what they were thinking seeing my children laughing wrestling each other. What do these international people think about racism in America? What have they seen in the movies, or read in their history books? How is this scene challenging there thoughts of American racism? Are my children being used to show them there is hope for racial reconciliation?
Click here to see a short (rather shaky, I was laughing) video of my children getting the attention of all the international MIT visitors this summer in Boston. It is quite funny! IMG_2276
I am prayerful that God will do a work in my heart this week as I open my heart up and look honestly at what is in it.