As we wrestle with the hurt and confusion and injustice at the loss of unarmed black lives around the U.S., I noticed a major shift in how I viewed these recent losses. As many of you know, we are in the process of adopting, but only few know that we are adopting an African American baby. As I read the reports on Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and more, I no longer see them as ‘outsiders’, strangers, just another person. I now see my baby. A baby we are yearning for, praying for, and waiting for. A baby we already love and yearn to have him/her join our family. A baby we want to give the world to, and yet realize the world s/he’s being born into, will offer them a lot of beauty, yes, but also a lot of pain, and largely due to their skin color. So here is a letter I wrote to our unborn black baby. And really, this is for all (our) black children.
My sweet dear child who has yet to arrive and yet whom I already love so much, you are a child I choose… for the sake of love, for the sake of family, and for the sake of beauty.
I pray for you so much already. I dream such beautiful dreams for you and our family and the community you will grow up in. I already yearn to hold you and kiss you and rock you late into the night. You’ve already stolen my heart and I’m not even sure you’re in your birth mom’s tummy yet. But that’s the power of love – that you can love someone before they even exist.
Your beautiful brown skin, something I have always admired and found so beautiful, will sadly be the very thing many will fear, whether they’re conscious of it or not. Despite your great character, your contagious laugh, and your loving upbringing, you will face things your father and I and your two sisters will never experience. Things I wish I could protect you from, knowing full well that I can’t.
You will grow up in a country where you will likely be pulled over for DWB (driving while black), though that would never be admitted to. Something your father and I have never experienced and never will.
You will grow up in a country where you will face derogatory terms, discrimination and isolation in your own personal social circles even though you will come from an educated, middle class, mostly white home. Our privilege won’t be able to protect you from discrimination, however much I wish it (and my love) could.
I pray and beg for you to never have to experience any of these, any discrimination whatsoever. But I know the world that we live in, and I know that my wish cannot be granted.
And I know I will make mistakes. I’ve never raised a black kid before and I’m not black. So I constantly pray for wisdom and discernment as well as grace as I learn this new path of motherhood. Though I will love you just like I love my other children, I know that I have to prepare you for a world that your sisters don’t have to experience on a day-to-day basis like you will. So please know I will do my best to be the best mama to you and to your race that I can be.
Your dad and I and your two sisters, we will do our best in learning how to live in radical love and how to live out God’s Kingdom here on earth in the form of racial reconciliation; in how to breakdown the racial divide as much as we can in our lifetime and to offer an alternative narrative to how ALL people, whether white, black, male, female, young, or old can live together in community, peace and beauty.
For you are our child. And you are God’s child. And you are OUTRAGEOUSLY loved. When people call you names and discriminate against you for the color of your skin, may you ALWAYS know that you are a child of the King and that you are greatly loved. That you are called by name and have a seat at His table. You are not a lowly human, but a child of royal blood. You are not ‘the black kid’ but the funny, loving, talented, strong kid we’re going to be so proud of. In the end, “your black life matters not because I say so and not because of my arguments, but because you are an important piece of Imago Dei.” – Austin Channing
We love you, sweet baby, and we always will.
Your Forever Family