So my wife goes to the grocery store to pick up a few things for a covered dish diner at the church last night. On her way out of the store she notices a car with a big Ethiopian flag sticker in the rear window and a bumper sticker that says “I love Ethiopia” She is looking at the car and trying to get our two kids that are here under control and two black men come out of the store and start walking to the car. She calls out to them asking if it’s their car and the one with dreads answers “Yes.” So my wife introduces herself to them, she tells him that we are in the process of adopting two kids from Ethiopia and she noticed his car. Now mind you our two kids are white as the sun, blonde hair and blue eyed, and this guy looks at our two kids and ask her if these are the kids we are adopting!!!!!!!!! I wasn’t there but I don’t know how it would have been possible to keep a straight face! My wife’s reply was “No, we are adopting brown kids” Personally I think I would have been on the floor laughing! The conversation continued and my wife discovered he was a Rastafarian that moved to the states from Ghana. When she explained that the tribe our children come from claim to be descendants of the Queen of Sheba he just about died. He asked to shake her hand and started telling his friend that this is the first white person he ever met that knew anything at all about Ethiopia, I wonder what he would have done if she would have started to speak in Amharic to him? Better yet, my 4 year old boy can speak decent Amharic, that would have tripped him out too. So my wife made the day of a local Rasta, strangers crossing in the night but makes for an amusing story.
Personally I have only met one Rasta since we started this process and he was so stoned I don’t know if he noticed I was white, he did notice the Lion of Judah tattoo on my arm though.
Peoples reactions to the adoption can get really funny at times. We’ve been asked if we will have to teach them to wear clothes (they have lived their entire lives in the city of Addis Ababa), if they have ever seen white people before (it was white people that got them off the street). Most of the questions are cute and harmless, but asked enough they are annoying. At this point I want to get a shirt with the following top 10 list:
1) No, we are not “heroes,” we are not “saving them,” they are just as much a part of our family as our biological kids
2) No, English is not their first language, Amharic isn’t ours, but just like we are learning Amharic, they are learning English
3) No, they are not the tribe that speaks in mostly clicks and guttural sounds, although the do have clicks and sound in their language not found in the English language. It’s not as hard as you think to remember to use the clicks and pops when you are speaking their language.
4) No, they are not running around naked at the orphanage. Have you seen a single picture of them naked? They don’t wear shoes, but that has to do with hygiene and cultural preference. Look at any tropical or desert region, see shoes? No? It’s because shoes cause foot fungus (athletes foot and worse) sandals allow the feet to breathe. And look at my family, if I’m not at work, or on my motorcycle have you seen me wear shoes? I don’t think wearing sandals will be a big issue.
5) No, they don’t have lip plates, stretched ears, nose rings, implanted bones or tattoos, but once again, look at my family, would that make them more or less like the rest of us?
6) No, I didn’t know they were black and I was white, thanks for pointing that out, that changes everything.
7) No, food isn’t going to be a major obstacle, two reasons. One, they are learning to eat “American style” at the orphanage. Two, we love Ethiopian food and the custom of “Gursha” our kids ask to eat on the floor and eat with our hands anyways.
8) No, as funny as you think you may be making your smart comments about “buying people from Africa” you are not funny, the comments are hurtful and make my family cringe.
9) No, we will never replace their birth parents. Their birth parents are just as much a part of our family as our kids are. They have a place of honor in our family. In a perfect world, one where Eve never picked the orange (who says it was an apple?), there would be no death, no poverty, no sickness. Unfortunately we live in a dying world, but as the Chosen we are instructed to carry out our Fathers Justice. Reestablishing a family to the orphans is bringing Gods Justice back to what the enemy has stolen.
10) No, I don’t think you could do it either. And for the sake of the children I hope you never try.
Not everyone fits into that category, but adoption, especially trans-racial adoption takes a certain degree of open mindedness and ability to roll with the punches. Life becomes a different boat and not everyone is equipped to handle the ride. For those that are it’s the best trip of a lifetime, one that opens your eyes to aspects of life that you are unable to grasp otherwise. It opens the eyes of the mind to aspects of Gods love that are, at least to me, inaccessible without this experience.