Two things happened to me today: one made me smile, the other, well, not so much.
E and I went to the grocery store-it’s supposed to snow tonight in Little Rock-when that happens the grocery stores are swamped with folks making sure they can survive the one day ‘snow-in’. I know my friend, Kari, in MN is smiling really big right now considering the mountains of snow they have had! But anyway, around here, it’s like a right of passage to rush to the grocery store to pick up all of the trappings, the comfort foods that nurture you when you’re snowed in! Back to the story, as I made my way around Kroger, I couldn’t help but notice how many people stopped to talk to E. Now, I must admit he is adorable…big brown eyes, little puffy afro, and chubby little cheeks. It was Senior Citizens’ discount day as well, so several little ladies smiled as they passed him, or even stopped me to tell me how cute he was. At the deli, the two AA ladies that were waiting on me, oohed and ahhed over him- asked, of course, if he was my grandson?! What! And then were visibly moved when I told them he was my foster son. One of them said “are you going to get to keep him?” I told her that wasn’t an option at this point. To which she sighed and said “won’t that be confusing to him?” I have had so many AA women tell me they hoped I would get to parent various AA children we have had. That is a real change from the way things were 16 years ago when we began fostering. Back then, we were greeted with dirty looks (from both Caucasian and AA folks) or got the sense that they thought we had kidnapped the child or something! (Not to say that doesn’t still happen occasionally:) But today the lines have been blurred between black and white and for that I am so grateful.
And then…..I took Serenity to dance. She has only been in the class twice (before Christmas). Today was #3. She loves it. She has danced and sung and performed since she arrived at our home at the age of 14 months. Her instructor is the owner of the studio and is so gracious and patient. The other two instructors are just as precious.
Some of the parents, well, not so much. I was struck today by the looks, or the lack thereof. I felt invisible and worse, I felt that my child was invisible. I never, ever, ever want Serenity to feel inferior to anyone because she is who she is. I want her to know that she is valued, treasured and that her life is a gift. She of course, didn’t notice, and I pray that she never will.
All of that said, it’s really not important what other people think- they have no idea what foster and/or adoptive children have been through and what gifts they are. What IS important is that I am obedient to the Father. That I don’t allow any circumstance to put a chip on my shoulder or color my attitude towards those who don’t understand. That I embrace each opportunity to share the truth that these kids are worth fighting for-that they aren’t second best to anyone. (Can you feel the mama bear rising to the surface?:))
So bring on the pride…and let the prejudice end.