It’s time to answer another adoption FAQ. I have been encouraged by the comments when we announced we were adopting, and I already answered the question concerning “why Ethiopia,” but today it’s time to answer another repeated question Amanda and I have received:
“Are the children there…black?”
I love getting that question. Yes, the children there do have a darker skin complexion than I do. They are mostly “black.”
Above is a picture of a family that has played a large role for Amanda and myself. Dr. Kevin Ezell is the pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. He and his wife, Lynette, are the proud parents of five children currently. Their picture reveals they are what adoption agencies call a “conspicuous” family. That is the nice way of saying it is obvious everyone was not brought into this family biologically. One child was born in Asian and another in Africa.
For me, this picture shows a beautiful family. It looks a lot like heaven. This picture also reminds me of an event that happened when I was a teenager.
I had a friend who caused some trouble among my friends’ families. She, as a white girl, started to date a black guy. Everyone was in a tizzy, because “that’s just not right.” When I asked why, I heard some of the most awfully-out-of-context biblical arguments that I had ever heard before in my life. I then asked some of these parents if they had any trouble with another couple in a group of our friends. Couple #2 was a white guy dating an Asian girl. No one had a problem there. When I asked them what the difference was, you could cut the silence in that room with a knife.
It revealed that people didn’t have a problem with interracial relationships, it revealed that people are often racist towards a specific race.
Some people have a problem with this picture due to one child but not the other.
In this picture, what makes these five children different? Jesus loves them all the same. All five of them are loved extremely by their parents. All of them go to the same church. They live in the same house. They play together, eat together, laugh together, cry together, and do life together.
The only difference is their skin color, and we serve a God who could care less about such things. The LORD told Samuel that “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). God doesn’t see differences between races (Gal 3:28). There is no distinction for Him between people (Rom 3:22). Heaven is not going to be segregated, but it will be full of people from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Rev 7:9).
So if heaven is not going to be segregated, why should our families, our churches, or our communities go against that standard?
When we wanted to adopt, we weren’t looking for or avoiding any race. When the signs seemed to be pointing to Ethiopia, honestly, we didn’t hesitate. Some of my dearest friends throughout my life have been people of a different race.
In fact, throughout the process, we became more convinced that God was leading us to adopt from there. Why? Because adoption agencies told us that fewer families were willing to adopt a different race causing a larger number of remaining orphans in certain racial categories. That doesn’t mean that a white parent who adopts a white child doesn’t love other races. Anyone who adopts any child is doing something amazing! But for our family, we decided that if God doesn’t see a difference between a white orphan or a black orphan, then who we are we to distinguish between the two? We eventually came to the place that, since it didn’t bother us, we knew we needed to adopt from Ethiopia since the race issue was a barricade for others.
So, yes, the children in Ethiopia are black. My second child will be black, but that will not be the most important thing about that child. The most important things about that child will be creation in the image of God, the sacrificial love of a Savior, the removal of orphan status, the provision and protection of a home, the love of a mom and dad, the dedication of a big brother, and the acceptance of a church family. That’s what’s most important.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
8 thoughts on “Adoption FAQ #2: “Are the Children There…Black?””
Praise the Lord.
I am so proud to be your friend and I thank God so much for you. Thi spost warmed my heart so much and I appricate it. God Bless you Brother and can wait to see you soon. MJ
We have just recently been matched with a little boy from the Arbegona region of Ethiopia. I have been researching the area online to understand where our son comes from and saw your beautiful family. Our family will look very similar. We have three biological children and will get the gift of a lifetime. I haven’t read all of your postings but can see how helpful it can be.
Joanne, that is so exciting! It is a journey that has been one of the biggest blessings of our lives!
I’ll be honest, when I saw u guys at the class reunion’s family day, I was curious as to who the child I saw belonged to. Sometimes southern mentality makes race the 1st thing we notice. Then I saw the peace & security in his eyes as he held your hand. The same look I’ve seen in my son’s eyes when he’s with his father. I knew before I knew that he was ur son. Ur family will continue to be in my family’s prayers… U 2 are an inspiration, not just for this action, but for the unwavering faith u’ve shown in GOD through it all!
Mesha, your words are such a blessing! Thank you so much!
Love this heartfelt and Godly article Travis. Keep listening to the Holy Spirit and inspiring others to do the same.
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