Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla

Several weeks ago I was talking about the ins and outs of this adoption process on the phone with my dear friend Debbie.  She was asking questions and I was doing my best to give her the whole process in a nutshell, from beginning to end.  Then came a bit of a pause and she asked (in a very serious and thoughtful voice, like only a good friend can do)...."So, have you decided to tell your daughter that she's adopted or are you planning to wait until she is a bit older to discuss it?"
 ... insert long pause here because this is what I'm thinking and not saying...
"Seriously?  Does she really think I could keep a secret when my daughter is going to have chocolate skin and I'm as vanilla as they come?  What do I say to answer her?  I don't want her to feel dumb or that I am being ambivalent but... that is kind of a crazy question.  Does she not know that Ethiopian people are black?  Of course she knows, she's a very smart cookie.  Oh golly!"
... pause ends as Debbie breaks out into uproarious laughter...
"Hah!  Heidi, I'm only kidding!  Man, I really had you going..."
Oh, that girl!  Debbie, if you are reading this - that was one of those conversations that I will never forget and every time I retell it, it gets funnier and funnier.  You're hilarious!

But, there is some truth in my reaction to her question...  and I was approached with the reality of it on a deeper level when I was talking with our home study provider when she came for our home visit.  She said to me, as we sat in the family room sharing about why we were led to adoption, "Heidi, you are going to be a terrific mommy to your new daughter.  You are going to love her from the deepest places in your soul.  She will learn to love you as her mommy with all that she has to offer.  But, don't be disallusioned - you can not be her black mommy.

Well, of course, I shook my head in agreement, because by all stretches of the imagination, this is a very true impossibility ;)  "Yep, pretty sure I can't do that."

She then continued, "You're little girl is going to need a black woman as a role model in her life.  A strong and courageous and loving woman to feel connected to."

The moment she had begun to say it, my sweet friend Pam's face popped into my head.  She is all of those things and more.  She love the Lord, cares deeply about her family, is committed to education and friendship and is just a joy to be around.   I knew it was God's plan that my daughter develop a relationship with Pam... little did I know that God had been planning on this development all along.  Our God never ceases to amaze me with His perfect timing!

Several months ago my parents bought the house next door to ours in hopes of renting it out to a family by the end of the school year.  Dustin mentioned the house to Pam a few weeks before this conversation with our home study provider and Pam seemed mildly interested.  So we didn't pursue it too much, but then a few days before our home study, Pam said she wanted to bring her family out to look at the house.  They fell in love with it and the day after we had that conversation with our home study provider, Pam and her family decided to rent the house next door to us - is that God's providence or what?!  So excited for them to be our neighbors!  Plus, I have the added bonus of a built in hairdresser next door when I have no idea what to do with that gorgeous black hair!  Pam was sent to our family almost five years ago as a sweet friend and now I am even more deeply moved by her friendship, as she shows Penny the strength and beauty of her identity as a black woman.  Thank you Pam and Thank You Lord for your provision!

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