One of the things I’ve struggled with since adopting Lyla is a guilty-mom feeling that says, “Susie, you are not Chinese, and a Chinese mom would be a better mom than you.” I know many of you are ready to say either, “Yes, that’s why I don’t believe in international adoption,” -or- “Oh, Susie, that is ridiculous, you’re a great mom!” But this is a real struggle for me. I know there are infinite perspectives on adoption, and international adoption in particular, but we are past that now, and Lyla is ours. I love her with all my heart and cannot imagine loving her anymore. Over this past year, I’ve been working through my bouts of shame and self-doubt in light of God’s faithfulness and the truth of His timeless word to us in the ancient scriptures. Just recently my friend pointed me in a direction that has helped tremendously. Here was the gist of our conversation:
Once we are in Christ, everything about our bloodline becomes second to who we are in Christ. That is not to say our ethnicity, race, and background are unimportant – they have a lot to do with who we are and how God may want to work through us. However, once we are in Christ, the blood of Jesus becomes the most important thing about us. Our adoption into the family of God, our wealth in Christ, our citizenship in heaven are now more important than our standing or membership in any other cultural or political system. We are citizens of heaven!
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:26-28
This insight is moving me into a stronger conviction that inter-racial relationships are not just allowed by God but they provide an especially unique and important witness to the gospel of Christ: in Christ, we are new creations. In Christ, we are citizens of heaven (Phil 1), living as exiles here on earth (James 1 & 1 Peter 1); this is not our ultimate home. In Christ, we have been transferred from the “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear son” (Col 1). This means we cross every barrier – social, cultural, ethnic, and class -freely in Jesus, extending friendship, forgiveness, and love to each other because Christ has done this for us. We do so with gentleness and respect, getting out of the safe, homogeneous, comfortable same-ness of those who are like us and follow God’s leading in our lives. Very often, Jesus leads us into new, unfamiliar, and different places and relationships. We never lose our culture or disregard others’, but in Christ, everything is transformed, and we share a bond of unity that is more powerful than our differences.