Wednesday, September 18, 2013

why is different so scary?

sometimes I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.
anyone else have this problem?
one delay tactic that I often use is to read the news in bed.
I feel like I am being productive while still allowing myself to lay horizontal a few minutes longer.
also, I'm convinced that it gets my brain stimulated therefore helps with the actually waking up process.

whatever. it works for me sometimes.

On Monday morning I opened one lazy eye and read this headline:

Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent.

I'm not that in to Miss America, really, but remember, I was putting off getting out a bed,
so I decided to take a gander.

I saw the picture of Miss Daluvuri's surprised face as she was crowned the winner.
You know the face.
yeah, that one.
the one that we all know she practiced over and over again at slumber parties growing up.
Oh, come one, we all did it.
Yes, even I did once upon a time.
it was 6th grade.
I was a tom-boy trying to fit in.
they were putting on a pageant at the party and they wouldn't let me just be a judge anymore.
I caved.
get off my back already!!

anyway, back to CNN's breaking news:

as I perused down through the article,
my indifference turned to sadness.
and then anger.
as I clicked over and read the hateful twitter onslaught that ensured after the crowing,
I began to write the mother of all responses in my head.
in this eloquent and articulate essay, I detailed all the reasons why these comments were ignorant and untrue.
I had a really convincing argument going about how we are ALL all "immigrants" and "foreigners."
it was good. in my head, I had it all mapped out.

then I realized.
it's not about immigration.
it's not even really about race.
or ethnicity.

it's about FEAR.
these responses were based in fear.
fear of that which is different than us.
fear of someone who looks different.
who has a different cultural heritage.
these people were SO focused on the differences,
that they couldn't even see the similarities.
and that was because there are terrified.

and then I went to teach a class yesterday.
and I saw it again.

I had asked my class to discuss a topic with the person sitting next to them.
as I prompted them to divide up and begin discussing,
I saw it.
it was all over the face of one of my students.
this student was cloaked in fear; physically he had turned his body away from the person sitting next to him, making it impossible for this other student to engage him in conversation.
and the other student saw it, too.
and he FELT it.

and, I'm guessing, a multitude of other feelings came with that, too.
it did for me.

but mostly, I just felt sad.
really sad.

I saw these two young men.
who I happen to know and think are really great young men.
they look very different on the outside.
yes, one is white. the other black.
they come from very different backgrounds-rural Kansas and big city California.
in so many ways they are different.
but that's what makes it so great.
because in as many ways as they are different, they are similar.
and with each difference there is an opportunity to enrich the life of the other.
to teach, to learn, to share, to connect.

why do we let difference become so scary?

why do we allow difference to keep us apart?

we're missing out on so many opportunities to grow, to learn, to share, to connect in deeply meaningful ways.

as I prepare to parent children who will look very different from me,
I would be a liar to say that I have not struggled with fear at times.
I have.
Sometimes fear starts to creep in to my mind and heart,
and I buy in to that lie that whispers:
what if you can't relate to them because they are different than you?
what if they despise you because they don't look like you?
what if you can't parent them well because the come from a different culture?

those are lies.
lies told by the enemy to keep us from connecting with one another.
from loving one another.
from seeing the beauty in one another.

I refuse to listen to those lies.

when I got home tonight, this book was waiting on my front steps.
it's a beautiful book about "coffee and cream skin" and "marshmallow treat skin"
and "butterscotch gold skin" and "pumpkin pie slice skin."
it's beautifully illustrated to capture the message that you're more than your skin ("you're all that you think and you hope and you dream") but that each of us should be thankful for our skin for it "holds the YOU who's within."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Adoption Journey Update 2.0

On June 25th I posted this update. We had just completed our Home Study and were optimistic that we would be "paperwork ready" by the time school started.

Yeah. About that.

Rob and I have both started back to school.
Me at Tabor. Rob at Hillsboro High.
We are still waiting to hear back from USCIS with our i-600a approval.

So, basically we are still at the same place as our last update.
Which I know doesn't sound that encouraging.

The truth is that we feel very encouraged about what God is going. 

While August did not involve sending our dossier to Ethiopia as we had hoped,
the last 6 weeks have been FULL of GOODNESS. 

we see God at work. and it is GOOD.

My dear friends Sara Jo & Amanda hosted a Noonday Collection Party.
Our ambassador Holly was WONDERFUL. So down-to-earth, kind, and fun.
It was a wonderful morning of fellowship, beautiful jewelry, advocacy and more.
 I got a couple fun pieces, too.
The story behind this yellow SHALOM necklace is powerful.
a story of redemption.
of hope.
lives touched by grace and the means to provide income.
every time I wear it I will remember sweet Shalom,
the ugandan child who is with her mom and adoptive dad.
supported by this business.
go check out there new Fall line here. 
Noonday supports vulnerable families in countries around the world. 
And they host parties as adoption fundraisers. 
15% of proceeds from our party went straight back toward our adoption. 

beauty for all. 

- -- -- - - - - - - - - --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 Last week we held a big fundraiser meal 
at the local Farmer's Market. 
my beautiful grandma came to help us prepare a meal for 200 people. 
2 types of pasta.
3 different sauces. 
garlic bread.
and cookies. 

cookies upon cookies.

but aren't they cute?!?!
Rob bought the cookie cutter from Sole Hope.
(another great organization serving and loving the "least of these")

we made over $2000 profit from this meal. 
it was incredible. 
our friends helped us plan the entire thing. 
they cooked, baked, and organized. 
they sent out an invitation to our community and church asking them to get involved. 
we were blown away. 
and blessed. 
so blessed. 

So, while August seemed slow on the paperwork side. 
it was really busy in other areas. 

and there is more coming. 

We will be having a booth at the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts fair.
stay tuned for more info soon!

Thanks, again, for journeying with us. 
and allowing us to journey with you. 

rob and erica