A family, a people

Small Carolina town

Throwback general store

Both my boys looking at the comics

Side by side

Yet the sharp “What’chu doin’, boy?”

Is not directed at the two,

Just the one,

My child with dark skin.

Years before,

Sitting in a crowded Ugandan church

Watching his tiny self

Dance in the aisles,

I wondered,

What are we doing—

Giving him a family

But displacing him from a people?

When he was small, our conversations about race

Were easy.

He called himself chocolate,

The rest of us vanilla,

In high summer, I became

Milky coffee.

Now, though, they are harder.

How to explain to him,

To his sisters and brother,

That the odds facing them

Are not exactly equal?

That what we’ve told them—

Human is human. Period.—

Is not a reality out there

And King’s dream

Is still a dream.

And underneath all this,

Even now,

the question haunts me:

We’ve become a family

But what about his people?


I thought this post could use a little lift. This was a fun, impromptu moment in Target when PJ saw this awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle jacket!

I thought this post could use a little lift. This was a fun, impromptu moment in Target when PJ saw this awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle jacket!

Our fourth child was born in Uganda. His mother died of AIDS; his father was estranged and never met him till we began the adoption process. In many miraculous ways God made it very clear that we were to adopt our son. But even as I worked in Africa to get legal guardianship, I wondered about the issues he would face growing up as an African child in a white family, in a predominately white area, in a country where the color of your skin still determines a lot. Racial reconciliation takes on a whole new level of importance when you have a child who is a different race. When I read about the horrifically high numbers of African American men in prison; when I learn that five times the number of African American babies are aborted compared to white babies; when I hear that an African American college professor in the town just two over from mine has been stopped by police more than 20 times in the last couple years just so they could “see what

I couldn't resist posting this one, too!

I couldn’t resist posting this one, too!

he was up to”… I think, “This is what’s facing my son,” and I ask God how I am meant to draw attention to this injustice, how I am meant to fight it—both for my own son and the sons and daughters of other women.

And under all this, I still fear the effects on my son of growing up without a community that looks like him.

4 thoughts on “A family, a people

  1. This is such a tough one – in Australia we are endeavouring to place our Aboriginal Australians only with Aboriginal families. We have an ongoing issue, more like a major fall out, with a whole generation who were stolen by the authorities and placed in white families. A few adjust but most struggle … With your love and openness maybe your son will cope. But I doubt they ever fully understand the bigotry that they are confronted by daily.

    • This is part of what prompted our recent move to a neighborhood where where the majority of its members are also African American–and the white members of our family “stand out” instead. I know this will bring other issues and difficulties with it, but we simply didn’t feel that staying in an area where he had few other African Americans was the best for any of us.

  2. I would say God placed him in a godly, loving, caring family to save his life for the good purposes He created him for. And, placed him in a family who will be a support throughout his life. And, a family with wise, caring parents to prepare him and his siblings to handle the unfair, messed-up world we live in. He is blessed with having a wonderful childhood with a family who is giving him the message, “We love you just as God created you.” What a great kid! And, he brings great joy to his grandparents! Love you all bunches!

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