My days of being inconspicuous are over.
This is totally not a complaint… only a fact… and I knew it was coming… but I am still getting the hang of our freshly-conspicuous life as a transracial family. We’re experiencing all of the cliches. We hear the “are they all yours?” and the “are you the babysitter?” almost daily. We get the looks and the double-takes. Strangers gush over how cute Elizabeth is… often leaving the other two out of the discussion. (Yes! She is! But, ahem, I think all of my children are beautiful thankyouverymuch.) I get much more attention from African Americans than I ever have. Good attention. I appreciate that.
You see, this doesn’t bother me because I get it. We live in a very diverse town, and for that I’m grateful. But we’re still a bit of an anomaly, and people are curious. And I notice. Anyone would notice when they suddenly go from a generic white face in the crowd to a generic white face carrying a black baby through the crowd. And while I’m not bothered by it (most of the time at least), I do find myself paying attention. I catch myself putting extra effort into how Elizabeth looks. Is her face clean? Is she dressed cute? How’s her hair?! I worry in those rare moments when Elizabeth has a meltdown in public, convinced that those around me will think that I’m a failure or, worse yet, that I stole her. (Yes, the baby thief thought is a recurrent one. Don’t judge.)
I say all of this because, quite frankly, I don’t want people to think that I’m doing this all wrong. I want to be perceived as a capable mother who’s got it all together. One who can parent a black child just as competently as her white children and who will raise them right. I find myself particularly desiring the approval of African Americans, not wanting to disappoint them. I know full-well that transracial adoption is not freely accepted in all circles. That some think white families have no business raising black children. So, naturally, I want to prove the critics and naysayers wrong. That I’ve got this. And my daughter will be just fine.
Fear of man. That’s what it all comes down to. Still, after all of these years, I still find myself bowing down at the alter of man. I worship the acceptance, approval, and praise of people. This isn’t new, y’all. This whole “fear of man” thing has been an old friend (er, foe) of mine for quite some time. For years, I was content to simply consider myself a “people pleaser” and moved on… that is, until I was convicted that this is sin. Pure and simple. Because when I elevate my standing with others above my standing with God, and I rest in the approval I find in humans rather than the approval I already have in Christ, I am emptying the cross of its power in my life.
This ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve dealt with this before. And, in Christ’s strength and mercy, I will face it head-on once again… black and white babies in tow.