Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Black History Month: Will the baby be black?

Today’s guest post is by Bonnie Klein–wife, mother, grandmother, and adoption advocate with Hope Takes Root.

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose….” Ecclesiastes 3:1

In three months, another school year comes to an end. This year is different. After twenty-eight years of educating at home, the home school season is finished. I have been heard to laugh and say, “I am retiring with only eternal benefits!” But this is not true. Our great God, the ultimate designer, used this season not only to educate our children, but to educate me.

While other schools closed in recognition of Dr. King’s birthday, we would enjoy studying his life. We would have our own “Black History Day.” Repeating this year after year educated us and changed the way we thought.

The 1960s community I was raised in prided itself on being an “all-white” city. This fact was in a brochure promoting the city! My father feared for our safety as the Watts riots were less than an hour away, and I remember sleeping in the den away from the front of the house.

My exposure to other races was indeed limited. Studying Dr. King helped to unravel hidden prejudices. These were things I didn’t even know existed. Somehow this is mysteriously connected to the incredible fact that I am now privileged to be “Grammie” to a beautiful, spunky, black granddaughter.

I already understood God’s miracle of adoption. Our youngest daughter came in 1999 from Romania. Our first grandchild joined us in 2007 from South Korea. We learned something incredibly simple: Exposure to those different from us promotes racial acceptance. For example, I hadn’t thought I was prejudiced towards Koreans, but in hindsight I see I was hesitant to engage with them. After experiencing the joy of our grandson, I found myself smiling, feeling affection and interest when coming into contact with Koreans. This was a surprising benefit.

When our son and and his wife announced that they were adopting from Ethiopia, I thought, “Ethiopia? Does that mean the baby will be black?” I felt fear. People are comfortable with the familiar, what they see in the mirror, what they are exposed to.

Though I live far away from my childhood town, I still live in a predominately white area. However, through our precious granddaughter, I see the same surprising benefit: through her presence, our congregation and community are learning racial acceptance. Our God is indeed an educator!

I am thankful for Dr. King. He had a dream. His life accomplished much. I had a dream when I started out on this education venture. God had a bigger purpose. I am eternally grateful.

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2 Responses to “Black History Month: Will the baby be black?”

  1. Love this piece…proud of both my mom for writing it and my daughter for being in it! Thanks for featuring this series, Noel.

  2. Very much appreciate the “real-ness” of this post…made me think…thank you.

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