A Picnic with Martin Luther King...
“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” is the quote etched on the bottom of the massive Martin Luther King memorial in Washington D.C.
It was a gorgeous spring morning when Joel and I and our three kids decided to visit the new memorial. Since the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, we thought it a perfect time to check out the newly revealed moment. With Annika toddling, we set out on a walk among the deep pinks and vibrant purple blooms on the path along the Potomac toward the towering stone statue of Martin Luther King. As our family meandered down the path, something struck me.
Nothing. No stares, no questions. Our adopted daughter, whose skin color is clearly a different shade than ours, did not turn heads.
For Joel and I race was a non-issue from the start in adopting our baby. Even though Annika's adoption had been void of any condemning voices (or even quiet whispers) of racism, I was still somewhat unsure how Annika’s biracial identity would play-out among others.
Our morning cherry-blossom walk the to Martin Luther King monument, proved to be more than just a tourist attraction. It was confirmation that we've come a long way-that our country and society has, for the most part, moved beyond the color of one’s skin. In the same breath I acknowledge that there are still some areas of our country that are experiencing great oppression. This became crystal-clear after a one-year stint in Montgomery, Alabama (pre-adoption), where we witnessed deep-seeded discrimination. But, our experience, one in which we have yet to experience a negative comment or reaction to our biracial beauty, leaves us thankful. We are thankful to people, like Martin Luther King, who bravely worked and are still working to clear the cloud of discrimination and prejudice.
As we literally stood at the feet of Dr. King’s monument, my heart was overflowing with love and appreciation for his actions and influence. His dedication to equal rights made our reality possible. Dr. King’s life tragically ended, leaving a country in despair, and we still mourn his loss. But his legacy stands as the hope for our society to overcome racial prejudice and to simply live as equals. I parked Annika’s stroller beneath the quote, “Out of the Mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” and took a picture.
Our Transracial Adoption: A Gift of Connectivity...
I was moved by the dual applicability of that statement. See adoption, many times, stems from a mountain of despair-an ill-timed pregnancy, drug addiction, poverty, victimization. Yet, a child’s future secure in the arms of an adoptive family stands as a stone of hope forthat child, the adoptive family, and, ideally for the birth mom.
That afternoon we unpacked our picnic lunch under a cherry blossom tree, watched Annika, Kelsey and Alex explore the wonders of Spring. I watched Annika pick up a caterpillar. Alex and Kelsey spread her chubby fingers to allow the creature to crawl from left hand to right hand. They showed her how to gently place the caterpillar in the grass. Martin Luther King gazed down at us and, for an instant, I thought I saw him smile.
We are thankful the Lord has not only given us the gift of our biracial beauty, but also for leaders in our nation and around the world who have helped to eradicate discrimination and prejudice. The ultimate in uniting is God. He speaks of becoming one in Jesus Christ in Galatians. Galatians 3:28 (NIV): “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We have never felt more as one with our multi-cultural community, as with Annika in our family.
Scripture for the Road...
Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
-Alison England, LMSW Author of Best-Selling Book in Adoption-Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead
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