Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Colorblind



I am sitting in the pitch dark in a hotel room in Moline, Illinois. I have the girls and Dw is next door with the boys. Elizabeth has been sleeping with me and my goodness, was she ever akickin' last night! I finally got up and decided to visit some bloggy friends and type out some thoughts.



I realized that this trip is really the first time we have traveled as a family since we brought the babies home from Uganda. And it's kind of funny. I remember as a young woman when we first brought Tyler home. People would stare. Big.time. I couldn't figure it out (at first). I used to think, "What in the world are they staring at?" Seriously. It probably took me six months to finally think, "Oh! They are probably wondering what this caucasion woman with a caucasion daughter is doing with a Korean son?" Adoption was not all that common in 1986!
But I had longed and longed for an Asian child from the time I was about 10 years old, so Tyler's arrival was just a fulfillment of an almost lifelong longing....so to me, he was mine through and through. I swear to me, he looks like me. I just can't see the difference. I still stare at him sometimes and think, "Come on! He really doesn't look like me?? Are you kidding me???" Cause to this day, to me, he seriously does.
So on this trip, when people have stared, my initial thought is: "Oh they are not used to seeing a good-sized family?!!" To me, all of my kids look like me, so what else would they be staring at? You know what I mean??
But in St. Louis on our way East we were leaving a gas station where we had made a potty stop too. I was loading little ones into the car and a woman came dashing out of the gas station. She came up to me running (literally) and calling, "Hey! Are these all your foster kids?" I smiled and said, "No! They are all mine!" I went on to say, "We like to think that our family looks a little bit like God's heart because the God of the Universe is Colorblind!" She was grinning from ear to ear and wanted to know what church we attend?? I told her that we were just passing through, but that my husband pastors a church in Colorado.
Then yesterday we were having lunch at a Cracker Barrel south of Chicago. While there eating I was completely unaware of people sitting at tables around us. Dw had left to pay the bill and taken some kids with him. A man was leaving and stopped and said to me, "Ma'am, I just have to tell you that I have totally enjoyed watching your family. They are all so beautiful." I thanked him and told him that we liked to think that our family looks like God's heart because our God is colorblind. He asked me what church we go to. He went on to say, "I just said to my co-worker who I was having lunch with...I wonder what church they go to, cause if the church is accepting of them, I think its a church I would like to be part of."
Both the lady at the gas station and the man in the Cracker Barrel who commented were African-American. I loved telling them that my God is colorblind. When we were pastoring in the Southeast we found it completely revolting to see the reality of prejudice.
I went on talking for a moment to the man in the Cracker Barrel. I apologized to him for the people in his lifetime who had been prejudiced against him. He was very gracious and kind-hearted. He said that seeing our family had made his day. Meeting these two precious people, in two different cities were part of the highlights of our trip.
On the flipside, there were a couple comments on the trip as well, made by people we know. They have angered me. They bring out the mama bear in me -and trust me - she ain't pretty - she ain't even sort of pretty!!
I am biting my tongue (for the moment) and praying about what to do. And yeah, if I bite too long I will most certainly be able to put a tongue ring through.

53 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. So beautiful! I cannot wait to see the KINGDOM!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Linn! I often think that my kids look like me or Cheremi :) They each have physical characteristics that "fit" with one of us. It is SO cool how God does it all. We get a lot of stares too and comments also. Some of them I just have to bite my tongue. I've blogged about it a couple of times a while back, just to blow off steam, otherwise my head might explode! Some people. Great to hear the good comments and stories though! Thanks again! Safe travels and blessings!

    James

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  3. I am now going to go grab the kleenex! You all are an amazing, gorgeous family! Hope you make it home safe and sound soon with all your sweet beauties!

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  4. Oh Linny! I love your heart and the message of your posts! What a witness your family is to others who are just 'observing'...God is working even when you don't see it. How neat is that!?! <><

    And I'm praying that God grants you the words and wisdom of what to say/do involving those people who made some rather offensive comments... cause seriously, I just don't see you wearing a tongue ring!! LOL! ;o)

    Hugs,
    Tanya

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  5. What a sweet story. Continue to pray for a safe trip home. Keep making htose memories.

    Lisa
    Newark, Ohio

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  6. I find myself wondering why people ask me point blank if Philip is adopted because I feel he looks just like me, too! It always takes me by surprise! I know what you mean. He was hand-picked by God to be our son.

    Loved your conversation with the man in the Cracker Barrel. Sweet!

    Hugs -
    Janet, Kevin, Ted, Philip, and waiting for Eli who probably looks just like me, too!! :)

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  7. Linny, your family is absolutely beautiful. I cannot even begin to describe how my heart feels to see the precious, beautiful kids you have given a home and a family to. Really. I can't describe it. It brings me tears almost every time I see them. You guys are so amazing and I love your heart for kids - ALL kids!

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  8. How wonderful God put those sweet people in your path. I guess to compensate for the ignorance you are biting your tongue about.
    Thanks for your comment. Check your e-mail? I left a "note"

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  9. Oh Linny, so sweet. How awesome to be able to reach strangers and share God's compassion and acceptance. Ghandi said once Your Christ I like. Your Christians I do not. How sad that some people's only view of Christ are self righteous, racist Christians. Thank you for being a CHRIST like follower of Christ. love you. Your babies make me want BABIES!!! lol and I havent even got my big girls home yet!

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  10. What a beautiful way to put it "God isn't colorblind". I've never looked at that way before. What an incredible post!! Hugs

    btw - Colorado is closer to us than Illinois. If you go up through Nebraska, S. Dakota and N. Dakota, we are 1 1/2 hours from Minot. Illinois is way further.

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  11. Thanks for sharing the GOOD comments. We have had very positive responses on our road trip. However, just yesterday, I read 3 different blogs that shared negative situations with strangers that they had recently encountered.

    Laurel

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  12. Something about this post made me cry. So sweet.

    Can't wait to see the tongue ring! Ha! ;)

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  13. LOVE these stories - thanks for sharing them!

    BTW..........Cracker Barrel - does it get any better than that???!!! (I actually travel with the CB map so I'll know if one is in the area....it's especially handy to have on road trips!)

    Love you guys!

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  14. This really made me smile. People think I'm nuts when I've said it, but there are moments of the early morning, as I'm prying open my eyes, I rack my brain trying to remember what hospital I had every child at. They are so much a part of my heart that in those wee hours I don't remember because they've always been a part of my heart..always.

    Ok, just so you know...I do the same thing (my kids DO look like me! :)).

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  15. What a sweet post! I absolutely love your comment about your family looking like God's heart. Can I borrow that?! :) People make comments to us all the time and I would love to use that one in response. (Most of the comments are positive.)

    I am so sorry about the negative comments. :( May God give you the wisdom to know how to handle them.

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  16. I think this is one that needs to be added to your most important posts ever!

    Amen, sister. Amen!

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  17. Such a beautiful story! Thank you for jump starting my day in such a special way.

    By, the way..I think my kiddos look just like me too! Seriously!!! God's treasures.

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  18. COLORBLIND...Yes! That is God's heart. We are all the human race!! It amazes me that so much of the world just can't get that concept. And I am amazed that someone had something negative to say about your family. I'll pray for them.

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  19. I love this post! I know what you mean about seeing your kids as looking like you. I forget that we have different colors in our family...but am often reminded by others! I love your response about our colorblind Lord!

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  20. I hear ya' on the mama bear thing. I love staying home, less to worry about and less rude comments--although I got one today from a fellow missionary via email. UGH!

    Just pleasin' my Lord--not man :-)

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  21. I love your heart and kindness to these strangers! We so love living out West after both of us growing up in the East. We even chose our local Church when we first found it based on it's name "Church for All Nations". We too were looking into all kinds of nationalities when adopting, and were shocked when God led us to two Ukrainian kids that do look like us. I was a little disappointed because I didn't want anyone to think we WERE prejudiced! Thank you for continuing to be salt and light where ever you go!

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  22. Did I say something wrong when we met you?

    I love, love, love the answer you gave them and I PRAY I have a family that is as beautifully colored as yours someday.

    I have dreamed of a rainbow family since I was a teen (I know I'm not normal). When I saw your beautiful family it made me want it even more.

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  23. Oh, I am so sorry for the negativity you have experienced. I cannot even fathom the idea of people not accepting your family! Have a great rest of your trip, and hug those sweet kiddos for me!

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  24. Thank you for being "the church" and representing HIS heart as you travel and live here on Earth! Your family is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for introducing me to another world :) It looks like a place I'd like to be :) scared-but still.

    Jen

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  25. Here's a little proof that we are born colorblind! I was just reading this post with my 3-year-old foster daughter sitting on my lap, and she saw Elizabeth's picture and said,"Is that Juli?" (Juli is very pale with green eyes). I said, "No, that's Elizbeth". She said "I want her for Christmas!!" I laughed so hard I cried. Hopefully she settle for a baby doll that resembles her!

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  26. Isn't is beautiful when people share the joy of your family? Perhaps they are sent by God to soften our hearts to those who say the hurtful things. Still praying for Jubilee...praying that the officals' hearts are softened.

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  27. Linny...I love your heart! I too have found myself wondering WHY people were staring...I am oblivious that someone would even think that my children are NOT mine!!

    I love your saying that God is colorblind and hope you wouldn't mind if I just STEAL it straight out to use it the next time I have a comment from a stranger!! I love it!

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  28. oh, linny...thanks for this. since beginning our journey to our children in uganda at the beginning of this year, we have heard the full range of comments. some of them have been so up-lifting and they have led to wonderful conversations about what we believe about what God's heart looks like....what heaven looks like. the other comments can sting, but i am thankful of how it is taming our tongues more and more, yet encouraging us to speak Truth, even when it is ridiculously hard in our society.
    i would totally be looking at your family in love, awe and with praise to Him!!!
    so thankful that you share some of your family's journey here. =)

    ~love
    [fyi: we've found our son waiting for us at Sanyu & are awaiting our courtdate!] = )

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  29. Sad that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America, while we should be getting used to the people here on earth that we will spend an eternity with!

    I love your family and that it is a true representation of God's heart - you don't just preach, but live it! I am so inspired by your family and your faith walk.

    Blessings.

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  30. That just gave me chills Linny :) And I love that these people took the time to tell you how it blessed them. Praying for your peace as you pray about those not-so-kind comments as well. ((hugs))

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  31. I agree. I think Tyler looks like you too! :)

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  32. I have never commented here before, but can't help it this time. We have experienced the things that you talk about. We are older than you and adopted a baby girl from India 26 years ago. She now has felt God's call to love and nurture babies in the foster care system. She is still single and lives with us so we have the privilege of enjoying the babies she brings into our home. She has adopted two African-American kids who have been with us since they were babies. Another baby that came home from the hospital to our home is now being adopted by our son and his wife who are also at the same time having their first child after having been married for 13 years and experiencing breast cancer. Our daughter is trying right now to get the 1/2 siblings of 2 of these children.

    We live in a university town that is very diverse and color is not noticed, but when we travel like you are we get stares and comments. We too don't see it. We are a family period.

    Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us.

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  33. Cling to those wonderful moments and remember that you are in God's Will. Others just don't see it! I have heard and experienced so much of both sides. I have to say that I am completely like you in that I just don't see the differences. Sounds strange to some, but not to me. I loved kids....at our camp we had a girl come up to me and say your daughter's smile is just like yours. I was never more proud! Of course it was the same- God is our maker and we are crated in HIS image!

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  34. Well, I'm sure that I would stare at your family too, because your children are all SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Many blessings,
    Sarah

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  35. Hi, I have followed your blog for awhile now. I am just here to remind you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as a survivor, I am just going to all the blogs that I read to remind you to do your self breast exams. Have a great blessed day and DONT FORGET TO CHECK YOUR BREAST!

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  36. I SOOO understand your kids looking like you! Our littlest has been home just over 6 months and I really think she looks like me. I've even had a friend (Tina) tell me that her dark brown hair is the same shade as mine!
    It was such a huge laugh-out-loud moment recently when she looked at her brothers and made a "you'd better watch out" face JUST like the boys do. Even the boys said, "Did you see that? She looks just like us!"
    What a blessing to be in God's family and to know, that to Him, we all look alike--beautiful in His sight! (:

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  37. One day at Mcdonalds a lady came up and said " you know there's lots of kids in the US that need adopted" I asked if she had an adopted child of course her response was "NO, I wanted my OWN". Knowing that this would not be a conversation I wanted, I poliety said "that's too bad, that's how we are in GOD's and I'd be sad if HE felt that way"!

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  38. I'm not sure if you have read any of the posts by Amy at Building the Blocks, but she has also commented on this recently. I'm so sorry for the ignorance of people but it also saddens me to know what they are missing out on also! Can't wait to see the rainbow of colors in Heaven!

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  39. Elizabeth has the prettiest smile!! She is so beautiful! :)) And let's not forget the boys - Isaiah and Elijah are too little handsome brothers :))

    p.s. GOD's kingdom is going to be SO beautiful!

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  40. Linny, I also have a colorful family. We get the stares, and some sweet smiles. I, like you, have to bite my tongue at times. The kids making comments don't bother me, but the adults - who should know better - do.

    It warms my heart too when African-American adults compliment me on my children. We served at a church very much like the one the gentleman you spoke of refered to. We tried to change the thoughts and perceptions of the people, and to this day (we have been gone from there for 12 years) not much has changed. It makes my heart sad. I think they are going to be very surprised one of these days, IF they actually have the opportunity to witness the wonders of Heaven.

    Praying for a continued safe journey for your family.

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  41. BEAUTIFUL! Just think the timing of the RV and our God made those divine arrangments, you could have missed them, but you didn't!

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  42. Great post Linny! I know exactly what you mean.... I think my kids looks like me too, all of them. I remember shortly after bringing the baby home, I grabbed her foot because I needed to see if she got my bunions and then realized how dumb it was!
    I also think, why are those people staring at us....still it seems weird because I am so close with my girls they couldn't feel like they are any "more" mine....
    An elderly man came up to us in Sam's club once and made a derogatory comment to my gf who was oblivious to his sentiment and I can remember just hightailing it out of there!
    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was colorblind?

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  43. A funny story- I'm an Anglo woman who adopted my two very handsome African American sons at ages 7 and 9. About six months after I adopted the boys, we were at a football banquet at a local arcade. One of my son's teammates, who was about 8, was standing in line next to us. He kept looking and looking at me, in that wonderfully unselfconscious way that little kids have, and finally said, "You're Kadeem's mom?" I said that I was and was all prepared to give my families look all different ways and the love that is inside is what really matters speech when this little came back with his next comment. "Aren't you kind of old to be a mom?" OK then. I can't wait to get to heaven and introduce my boys to my father. I think my oldest looks just like his grandfather.

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  44. How beautiful! After our adoption of our twins from Venezuela, I too found people watching us. I often wondered why because, like you, I thought we all looked alike. I often look at my son and daughter and see my mother's eyes. It's amazing that children who were born in my heart can look so much like we do, no matter what color their skin is.

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  45. Oh, and by the way, we live in the south and go to a church that is truly color blind. I wish you could visit because you and yours would be right at home. Don't "lump" us all into your memories of the racial prejudice. It's just not true anymore.

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  46. Oh I love your responses about God's heart and colorblind! May I borrow them? What great encouraging words to others when they ask about our family! We get LOTS of questions when we're all out together, too. And LOTS of stares. And LOTS of inappropriate remarks too. It is such a challenge for me to love the people who don't understand. But how can they understand unless we show them God's love? We have no idea what seeds we're planting in their hardened hearts...and it is up to God to make those seeds grow into a harvest in those hearts!
    This is a great post, Linny! I'm so thankful your family is a walking testimony to God's heart!
    I loved your memorial Mon. post too...incredible story!
    Blessings and safe travels!
    Love,
    Laine

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  47. Great post! As an adoptee and a mom who has adopted internationally, I loved your post! We are here on this earth as a mere dress rehearsal for all of eternity!
    Rebecca (from the South & COLORBLIND)

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  48. You, your family, and you showing me a glipse of God's heart inspires me. Knowing the Saunders has challenged and inspired me and I know I am different and better because of it. Thank you for being God's voice in my life.

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  49. I love this post, Linny. We too have a color blind family :) All grown up now and creating rainbow families of their own.
    I wanted to tell you that your mantra of a mountain-moving, miracle-making, awe-inspiring gasp-giving God has really touched me and I am looking for those miracles more intently in our lives once again!
    You can read about them at my blog, www.myautumnyears.blogspot.com if you have the time.
    God bless all that you do for others in sharing your story here. What a precious gift for everyone who logs on to your place.
    God bless
    Renee

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  50. Your post reminds me of Acts 17:26.

    And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth...

    Our pastor's wife brought this to our attenton recently and I love it!

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  51. I'm so glad that you had these happy experiences with your beautiful family! We had our first really nasty comment this past weekend and the Momma bear came out in me too! We live in the southeast so I'm sure you can imagine! Your family is an inspiration to me, as a first time mom and a transracial adoptive mom I have a lot to learn! But through it all God has opened so many doors to speak about his heart for adoption and all the blessings He has poored into our lives through our daughter.

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  52. Love your post! It is so nice to meet others that share the love of children AND are colorblind. There is an instant kinship and love for the Lord!

    I see my children as looking like me too! They are so mine! (at least for now!)

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  53. It is interesting you say that about the Southeast b/c it is HOME to me, the only placed I've ever lived or known. I hear comments from people, and remember hearing people AT CHURCH say things that rocked my world.

    Honestly, I did not realize my best friend (who happened to be African-American) looked any different than me until we were in middle school. Then, it was like color mattered to so many, and we all seemed to separate I'm not sure why and it still bothers me today. But in elementary school, we were all just kids and color didn't seem to matter to any of us. This girl though was my very best friend b/c I started kindergarten about a month late as we had moved from another city … and Melody, she was the only person who came up to me while I was sitting there quietly crying. And she just patted my head and hugged me, didn't say a word. I'll never forget that or her.

    I don't really see the kind of prejudice you're talking about, but then again I'm not African-American so I can't know what it can feel like.

    I have often wondered if God has a cleft lip though!!! And I see all sorts of prejudice even in the church over people who have facial differences. We have had people be repulsed by S's photo AT CHURCH (before we brought her home). So very sad.

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