Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Watchfulness

Talitha and the comforter I made from Asian batik material

Life with Talitha — Part 2

In the first weeks or months of Talitha’s being part of our family, I found myself being very watchful in two different directions.

1. I was watching Johnny to see if Talitha was as much his daughter as mine. When the idea of adoption had first come up in our family, I was ready to do it and Johnny was more hesitant. Then came the day when adoption was no longer just an idea, because there was an invitation to adopt one particular little girl. We spent time then, praying and seeking counsel.

Then Johnny said Yes, and Talitha became our daughter.

Despite his earlier hesitation, I didn’t think his Yes was just to please me, but I needed to be sure. I found myself watching how he acted with her, especially when it wasn’t just fun playtime. When she cried at night or had a messy diaper–in other words, when parenting hit its normal rough spots–did he expect me to be the one who should care for her because this was somehow my “project?”

I never saw any such attitude, and haven’t until this day. When he said Yes, we said yes wholeheartedly together. Talitha is our daughter.

2. Now we were white parents with a black child. For a while, when I was out in public, I was hyper-aware of people’s responses to seeing us. I imagined hundreds of eyes on us. Did they disapprove? Do they think I’m taking good enough care of her?

It seemed a lot of people stared at us more than they would have in our pre-Talitha days. But what I came to realize was this: I stare at cute babies too. Staring doesn’t have to mean disapproval.

And what about stranger’s comments? In general, white people didn’t say anything. More often, a comment would come from an African-American. And it was likely to be something like, “What a beautiful baby!” which I came to hear as implicit approval.

I don’t assume that everyone thought it was proper for a white woman to have a black baby, but none of them ever made themselves known.

After a while, I relaxed. I was me and this was my daughter.

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3 Responses to “Watchfulness”

  1. I love reading your adoption story. Thank-you so much for taking the time to write it out and for having the courage to share your heart with us. I'm a mother with an almost one year old son, and another on the way. I long to, some day, adopt, and have really appreciated your story. Mostly, I am struck by the prayer and preparation that came with the adoption of your daughter. It has encouraged me to pray, really pray, for my own children. Thanks again :) and God bless you and yours.

  2. Noel, thank you for sharing with us how Talitha came to be part of your family. She's a lovely young woman, and your posts and pictures from the past months reflect the joy of your relationship. How gracious of God to bring you all together!

  3. I, too, used to be hyper-aware of what I imagined other people might be thinking. It’s exhausting!

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