I have often heard the saying "love is blind" or "love sees no color" or something to that effect. And I know the heart and thoughts behind those types sayings but I have been thinking a lot about color recently and I think color matters. GASP you say, but before you start shaking your head in fierce condescension let me tell you why. I have two children, they are both a different color than my husband and I, and yes when I look at them I see my babies, not my dark babies, and I love them regardless of that color. But the fact still remains that they are a different color. That's how God made them. I'm light, they are dark. For me to ignore that fact, or the fact that God has so marvelously created this world with a wide array of colors would be ignoring the fact that my God loves diversity, and variety and that He alone has the power to pull off all these different shades of the human race.
One of the reasons I have been thinking so much about this issue of color is that my 4 year old has been thinking about it. Awhile ago she had a meltdown in Target, not a meltdown that makes you want to say "whose child is this, can't the mother get control of her? and then walk away, but a meltdown of her little spirit. I was browsing the ethnic hair care section and Tess was asking about some of the bottles. I told her it was stuff for me to use on her beautifully curly hair. Then it happened. She looked up at me and with words I have heard before said, "I don't want my dark skin, I want hair and skin like you!" She cried and my heart broke.
So there in the middle of the Target haircare section I knelt down and hugged my beautifully dark curly haired girl. Color matters to her. With words that I'm sure could have been crafted better, I explained to her once again, that God created her silky smooth tan complexion and she is beautiful. She then began to tell me that she wanted "white hair" like her friends (she was not speaking of their skin color but of the blondness of their hair).
Again, earlier in the summer I was reminded again that Tess & Joah's God-given skin pigmentation will always play a role in their lives. Tess was having her hair braided, braided by a beautiful and beautifully skilled woman of color. As I sat there and watched my little girl's locks being braided in a way she has never experienced I realized that this is part of her life, this is part of her culture...a culture that before now I have only really had a glimpse into, a culture that now is a part of me and my family. I vividly remember a case worker telling us when we were going through some transracial adoption classes that when we brought home a child of another race we ceased to be a caucasian family. Never thought about that statement until my culture collided with another...and that is a good thing!
There is always a fear that people may read this and think, she shouldn't make a big deal about her children's color, or she talks about this other culture when she should talk about unity, not diversity ~ about the things that we have in common, not the things that make us different. Well we are different ~ from different backgrounds, different heritages, different traditions. Different is not a bad thing. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.
So I embrace Tess' braids and beads, although very different from my straight "white" hair. I embrace Joah's dark little legs, although very different from my pasty light legs. I embrace them for them...because my God loves color, loves diversity and He is the one that made and fashioned them.