20 November 2007

Thankful for OCEAN

We had such a fun time last Saturday night with our Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network friends. Two new families came to the Fall Family Supper, the Christiansens and the Mastrellas, and it was wonderful to hear how the Lord directed them to adoption and Ethiopia. In fact, we all shared about how we decided upon Ethiopia. It was so interesting that the instigating reasons were quite varied and yet we all had to ask some of the same tough, very non-PC, and often uncomfortable questions of ourselves:

  • How do I really feel about raising a baby of a different race?
  • Is there any prejudice in my heart for any race/ culture?
  • Do I prefer one race over another? Would I want a Chinese daughter more than an Indian one? Or a Guatemalan son more than Vietnamese?
  • Why Africa? Why Ethiopia?
  • Why do I want to adopt internationally vs. domestically? What are my motives?
  • What about our families and friends? Do they have hidden prejudices that will seep out?
  • How do I feel about Grannie/Dad/whomever being a closeted (or loud-mouthed) bigot? Does it matter? Does that change our relationship? What is my response going to be?
  • How do I make peace with the fact that some people will feel negatively about my child and some will ask rude questions and make ugly comments?
Ouch! Those questions seem so taboo! And yet, you HAVE to look at them honestly when you decide to adopt internationally. And, basically we all came to similar conclusions about what the Lord desires, who we are, what we want, and how we feel about building our families this way. What a fantastic conversation we had! At the end of the night I found myself wishing we had taped it so that I could hear it again and also to be able to share it with others who haven't found a safe place to voice delicate concerns and thoughts.

On the tail end of that we came up with some ideas on how to respond to boorish questions:
  • "We chose a black baby because there aren't any purple ones!"
  • "Fertility clinic mix up"
  • We prefer African babies. They're cuter.
  • "What?!? She's not white?!?"
  • "Actually I'm a light-skinned African American."
and my personal favorite:
  • "Shhh! My husband doesn't know she's not his!"
Most of these came from Amanda and Karen who kept us in stitches all night! You two are a hoot!

I'm so thankful to the Lord for this incredible group of people. I'm thankful that we are praying for each other, for the whole process, and especially for our babies who have not come home yet. Last Saturday was a wonderful time, and I can hardly wait to see you all again. And, I can hardly WAIT to meet the little ones that God is bringing into your families!

The Mastrella Family

The Christiansen Family

And here's me enjoying our new Africa-themed living room!
I'll post more pictures later. It's still a work in progress, but already it is so pretty; I just love it!


Brad and Christy Sherrell said...

We are looking forward to seeing the new African styled living room (although we never saw what it looked like before). Sounds like you had a great night on Saturday and we are sorry we couldn't make it. Sounds like the conversation was very intense! One of my favorite answers to "Is that your real child?" is "NO, I left the real one at home because I didn't want him to break!" Sounds like you are a lively group and we are looking forward to meeting all of you and the little ones.

emily said...

Once again, wish I lived close to you!! Sounds like a wonderful support group. Did I see the Africa book by Poliza on your coffee table?? We are also in the process of adding some African items to our living room-- I'm really enjoying collecting African photography books right now.

Happy Thanksgiving friend.

be_a_Mary said...

WHAT A GREAT night we had!! THANKS for hosting. You and Michael and the OCEAN group are great encouragements to me. A gift from above, truly. This is the greatest privilege and fear and excitement--all the emotions of adoption and I'm SOO grateful to have you all to talk & laugh with through the journey.

ErinOrtlund said...

An Africa themed living room? How cool!

I think one of the best things about adopting from another race/culture, is that anyone who comes in contact with Elianna and your family can no longer think of African people as "other." When you know and love someone who is different from you in some way, it opens your heart up to every tongue, tribe, and nation. God is surely going to use this for His glory in so many ways!