Welcome back to the series “Ten Reasons NOt to Adopt or Bring New Converts into the Church”. We are up to reason number seven. Race has always been an issue in the church and the world. My parents were active in the Civil Rights movement in the sixties and seventies. It wasn’t all the peaceful swaying to Pete Seeger singing “We Shall Overcome”. It was violent. It always is when you try to end the declassification of people. Satan doesn’t like it. Jesus does. He preached the message of equality. He chastised the Pharisees for thinking better of themselves than they ought. Paul chastised the church for breaking up into cliques.
“What I mean is this, that each one of you [either] says I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas (Peter), or I belong to Christ.”- I Corinthians 1:13
This should not be. The family of Christ is just that. A family. We are all brothers and sisters. None of us is better than the other. Each of us plays a part. The ground is level beneath our feet.
7. He might be a vegetarian and you may be a meat-eating redneck family.
Six months post adoption; post Americanizing, McDonald style, Damian complained loudly to all, “Why do we just have American food around here? Why can’t we have some Polish food?!”
Of course, Damian’s statement wasn’t true. I still prepared many Polish style meals. My dad had purchased a soup urn for us that was an exact replica of the ones used in the orphanage (and the hotel we stayed at in Warsaw). I served many meals in it, however inconvenient it was, because I thought it would be familiar and comforting.
“Okay, I’ll make some Polish food, what would you like?”
“Pizza! Polish pizza, boy I miss that!”
All of his siblings were camped out at the kitchen table, they looked up incredulous, “are you sure?” two are three of them asked in unison.
By this time Damian, stood in the middle of the kitchen, clenching and unclenching his hands. He glared at his siblings who sat with doe-eyed wonder, looking back at him.
“Okay, Damian, I’ll make it, everyone just go back to what you’re doing.”
Damian sulked into the living room.
I dug into the bread drawer and found the heavy, dark, Brownberry bread, “this will work for the crust,” I said aloud to myself. Audrey leaped up from the table and ran to the fridge.
“Here mom, here’s the ketchup. I’ll grate a carrot, oh here’s some broccoli. Do you think he’ll eat it, mom?” she whispered.
“I don’t know, Audrey, but he thinks he needs it.” I was glad to have Audrey’s help. I felt inadequate in the Polish pizza making department (and mothering for the moment). Damian sought a link to his past for some comfort, could this do it?
“Damian, Your pizza is ready,” Audrey called. He sauntered back into the kitchen to claim his pizza trophy served on a brightly colored fiestaware plate. He sat down at the table. Silence.
His ready made audience of siblings watched and waited for the Polish pizza eating. Damian took a bite, “yuck, I don’t like this Mom, what is it?”
“It’s the kind of pizza we had in Poland.”
“Well, I don’t like it,” he spat, “who wants it?’
“I eat it!” four-year old Ania answered. The pizza passed to Ania. Round two of Polish pizza eating,
Damian’s tastes had changed over the months and he found he no longer liked what he thought he did. It is not uncommon for a child to be on a different diet than you are on. If this bothers you, don’t adopt from another culture. You may have to make some changes in your eating habits for awhile. You may have to sit at the table with a child who is not used to get the calorie intake he needs and patiently spoon feed him. He may have issues with textures, solids or just eating in general. My youngest was born with a cleft palate and and was on a limited diet of rice cereal and water. His preference – sucking down a bottle of watered down rice cereal or pediasure in ten seconds flat. It took months of patient pureeing and spoon feeding before I could get him to eat some calorie and nutrient rich meals.
Food issues abounded in the early church and still do at Sunday potlucks. We have Celiacs (me), peanut allergies, seafood allergies, diabetics all eating special diets. The early church struggled with eating food offered to idols, eating too much before a communion service and whether or not the Gentiles should eat kosher. Peter wasn’t sure what to do. He ate kosher with the Jewish brothers and idol meat with the Gentile brothers. Paul corrected him.
People who eat special diets are often frowned upon or made fun of behind their backs. Not kosher. Meals are places of connection, not division. The church family has special needs. The problem with food began with forbidden fruit and followed with thousands of years of mutations in the gene pool causing us to have imperfect bodies.
8. He may not look like you.
“Which ones of your children are adopted?” It’s hard to tell. Most people guess the wrong kids. That’s is okay with me. Why is looking alike so important? I would rather my children have true character than my freckles. The false assumption is that if someone doesn’t look like you then you can’t understand their culture. Huh? When Helen Doss(author of The Family Nobody Wanted) and her husband began adopting children who were ethnically different, Helen said, “If I get a child, it’s like getting a Christmas package. It’s inside that counts.” Thankfully the Doss family blazed a path in adoption. Things have changed for most part. A social worker said to them, “I would rather see a child raised in an orphanage, than by parents who look so different. Crossing racial lines is against all our principles of good social-work practice.”
Bible history and science say we came from one man and one woman.
“Every human being in the world is classified as Homo sapiens. Scientists today agree that there is really only one biological race of humans. Geneticists have found that if we were to take any two people from anywhere in the world, the basic genetic differences between these two people would typically be around 0.2 percent, even if they came from the same people group. “Racial” characteristics account for only about 6 percent of this 0.2 percent variation. That means that the “racial” genetic variation between human beings of different “race” is a mere 0.012 percent.- “Answers in Genesis
We are not wrestling with races (there is only one) or cultures. We are not wrestling with flesh and blood (each other). We are wrestling with despotisms. We are wrestling with spiritual forces of wickedness. These world rulers of the this present darkness put ideas into play and we humans have acted on them for thousands of years. It’s time to put on our armour and fight. It is time to take the sword of truth and pierce the darkness. Let the church lead the charge. We are all one in Christ.