Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking Point!!

Many of my fellow adoption friends might think that title implies I’ve reached my limit with this ‘referral wait’! But actually, it’s much more about all the posts I’ve stored up in my heart. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t posted them. Maybe I had not sorted out all the thoughts in my own mind? Maybe I was afraid of offending someone? That’s not my usual nature. I can say like it is. But in a blog forum you can’t really gauge anybody’s reaction unless they comment. It leaves you feeling a little vulnerable. But I’ve reached my breaking point. Too many thoughts. Too many emotions. In no particular order. So, here it goes. You may want to go grab that cup of Joe.

I grew up in the South. That’s no secret. I still live in the South. That’s not either. It has once been said that when you are from the South, you consider yourself as belonging to ‘a certain piece of the earth’. There is deep tradition. There are many things unique to the South. We eat grits. We wave at people we don’t know. We say ‘y’all’ and ‘fixin’ to’ as in I’m fixing to go outside and water the grass.’ Or I’m fixing to go to the movies. We teach our children to say ‘Yes, sir’ and “Yes, ma’am’ and get irritated if another adult says ‘You don’t have to call me Ma’am’ because we have implicitly told them that it is rude not to. Our children call their friend’s mothers “Miss Kim’, ‘Miss Holly’, and “Miss Christi’ even though all of those individuals are married. I love the south.

But there are also some things about the south that remain that aren’t so great. For instance, attitudes of people who like to believe they are forward thinking, even have the mind of Christ, and yet are stuck in Pre-Civil war, hand-me down attitudes that are ridiculously out of date and have very little to do with the Gospel.

My growing up years were full of decorum. I attended an Episcopal private school, played tennis, and had lots of friends who were the children of my parent’s high-school peers. I went to a public high school and cheered. I was also a card-carrying member of the Cotillion Club, Debutante Ball, and we were members of a private-no-blacks-allowed-as-members-Country Club. The Maître’d with whom we spoke to by name every Sunday afternoon as he sat us down for lunch after church was also the father of a boy who I sat next to in homeroom for 4 years. I cheered for him on the football field. But never interacted with him socially. I never, ever thought of my family as racist – we never used derogatory terms, were kind to people of all races, and gave of our time and resources to local ministries that helped others ‘less fortunate’. But clearly there were many unwritten rules about the South I knew and loved.

I have to shift gears for another thought before I return to the Southern stuff. I’ll bring it back around – I promise.

Many people adopt because they have a heart for a specific country or they are called to fulfill the scripture ‘take care of widows and orphans’. I must admit for me it was a very selfish decision to adopt. We simply wanted a little girl. We have 2 boys. My pregnancies were ridiculously hard. And we wanted to adopt. We knew dark-skin. That was our heart because we think black skin is BEAUTIFUL. Not for any other sanctimonious reason. HOWEVER….after the Lord led us to Africa for our daughter(s), all of the above mentioned followed. I have found myself in love with the country of Ghana. I have found a passion for the world of adoption that I never knew I had. I have found myself realizing that I actually have a deep passion for things of this world that are unjust!! Through our adoption (before it has even happened!!!) the Lord has revealed things in me and about me that I never knew existed. That is just plain awesome. We started out a journey with a pretty selfish goal and have found ourselves amidst passions galore!

Back to the South. All that to say, we are not adopting to prove a point to anyone. We are not adopting to heighten awareness of adoption, Africa, or any other just cause. We simply want to add to our family the children that the Lord brings to us.

1 Starting Point, 2 Men, 2 Very Different Decisions…

I want to brag on my Daddy. He’s going to flip when he realizes I’m blogging about him specifically but he’ll love me anyway. My Daddy grew up in the South. Just like me. When I told him about our plans to adopt last Christmas, his words were very affirming. (After he looked at me and said, “Is Mark kidding?”) But I know my Daddy and I knew there were deep reservations there. Perhaps they are justified. We’ve had several great candid conversations in the past year about the adoption and the fact that we are going to be a ‘transracial’ family. I appreciate greatly his candor and honesty paired with compassion and love. He recently started reading ‘The Hole in Our Gospel’ and can’t put it down. I think it may be changing his entire worldview. In one book. This Christmas, he asked specifically if there was anything he could be reading to ready himself for our adoption. I was THRILLED!! And put together an ‘Adoption Packet’ for both sets of our parents.

This Christmas season we also had a close (Southern) friend say to us, among other things, that our adoption was ‘unjustifiably costly’. As in, you shouldn’t be doing it. Unjustifiable? A human life in need of a forever family? Huh? A Christian friend. A huge disappointment for us. Not because we need his approval but because we expected better. I could write an ENTIRE blog about this but will show some restraint here.

So, here’s the Good News: As I shared with my Daddy, the comments by this other man and his response was not ‘I told you so” or ‘You better think twice about this’. My Daddy said, ‘That’s gonna happen, but you can’t let it bother you.” I wanted to stand up and do a CHEER! I wanted to squeeze his neck! I was so thankful for his response.

2 men of the same southern culture. The same starting viewpoint. A very different choice to see the world through HIS eyes – not ours. Thank you, Jesus.

I could probably go on and on. The Lord has done so much already. I’d love to hear your comments (as opposed to wondering!!) If you gotten this far, thanks for reading. We are a work in progress but love the adventure He has us in!!!

14 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL post!

    As a Southerner I hear and feel your heart loudly and clearly.

    I have seen God change people's hearts and minds because of knowing our sons. It's not why we adopted but a wonderful way God has used our adoptions that are beyond anything we could have ever dreamed.

    He is doing great things through your family!

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  2. i think the whole thing is so incredibly beautiful. your motivations and hearts (ever-changing as they might be...), the transformation of your daddy's sweet mind and who knows how many others...i love you 4 (or 5 or 6!) and miss you all. wish we could walk more closely with you through this wonderful exciting journey. can't wait to see the faces of those sweet girls that God has already chosen to become fritchman's=)

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  3. adoptive parent (Ethiopia)December 28, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Do you think you or your dad will say to your child, "That’s gonna happen, but you can’t let it bother you" when another child says he/she looks like poop? I'm sure that will help a lot.

    "That's gonna happen..." What is positive about that statement?

    Don't get it. Good luck.

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  4. Dear Ethiopia parent, I suppose you are right in saying that it isn't a 'positive' statement. What is isn't is a negative statement. Apparently, you missed the entire post about how we were raised and where we came from. While it may not be right, it is what it is. The comment was a step in the right direction. And no, I won't be saying that to my child. What I say to my child will be vastly different than what we say to another adult. It usually is. However, I'd love to say thanks for continuing to prepare me for all the negative comment we will receive. On both sides of the adoption fence. Another thing I didn't expect. Thanks for the support.

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  5. adoptive parent (Ethiopia)December 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    I guess you missed my point about the kind of environment one chooses to raise a child in. the child is the most important person to consider in adoption, right? Will it be good for the child?

    Best.

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  6. Ames...thanks for posting. Good to hear your heart...I always learn a lot from you.

    I couldn't think of a better family to raise a daughter (no matter her color) in this "environment". Parents who exemplify Jesus, mercy, justice, truth, compassion, love, and integrity...among MANY other traits. You will teach and pass along these traits to that sweet girl, and she WILL become an incredible woman like her Mom.

    So, yes, adoptive parent (Ethiopia), it will be good for the child.

    Suz

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  7. Amy-
    I love checking your blog every once in a while . . . I found it from a link on Whit's page. While I know nothing about being an adoptive parent, I cannot imagine a better place for a child (of ANY ethnicity!) to grow up than the Fritchman house. If our little guy grows up to be anything like your sweet boys, we'll be thrilled! I'm sure the same will be said for your girls when they arrive. Stay the course.
    L-
    Ashley (Carver) Ab

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  8. "That's gonna happen" is a possibility. The positive part is "but you can't let it bother you". If the question is whether or not it is good for a dark skinned child to be raised by a light skinned family in an historically or traditionally bigoted region, then the answer is "yes" if that family is this family. This family where the LORD adds the family members. Besides, I can't think of a region anywhere in the world that isn't racially challenged. Bigotry is not unique to the southern USA. I think your daddy is the perfect example of the transforming power of love, the kind of inclusiveness that is possible where there is love. Really? Are we talking about the possibility that there is a person alive that won't go GAA GAA over any baby named Fritchman? Seriously.

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  9. Southerners don't corner the market on social injustice. It abounds. Show me a utopian community and I'll pack my bags and leave this slice of heaven at the beach.

    btw, my 2 biological boys call each other poop all the time.

    Signed, Tango

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  10. Hey Amy-
    It is a huge step to make your family and all generations to come multi-racial. It was huge for us, as (same as yours I imagine) when you look in any direction, all you see is lily white. No more!! I am so glad my girls have each other. I hope you will have 2 one day as well :-). What I found hardest to overcome was my own southern politeness, having to be willing to defend my kids and family and not attempt to justify or explain what we chose (actually God ya know)when people say stupid things. Your kids come first, and sometimes you will just walk away. Sometimes you will need to perfect your icy stare and then walk away. But I know you are a mama bear and you will always think first about the little ears and hearts listening in and you will never put the curiosity or opinions of a stranger above your kids. Hope that is coherent, I have 7 people trying to talk to me as I type.

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  11. I can help you perfect your icy stare, Amy.

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  12. Dear Amy, Sounds like God has been preparing you to do His perfect will since you were little. Marrying Mark, falling in love with Ghana, tough pregnancies,wisdom from trials, humility from knowing yourself and growing Christlike love make you the perfect Mom for your daughter. Hmmm, makes me wonder what the next season will bring once you bring her home.

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  13. The heart of the gospel lived out in your family will prepare this precious one for any unkind comment.

    This heartfelt post is amazing. To God be the glory for the lives He is changing, one child at a time.

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  14. Amy. Loved this post. Here's the thing I was impressed with. You are adopting this little one, not as a statement of any kind, and I LOVE THAT. I saw an adoption special where the family said that basically they were adopting (from Ethiopia)......because it was the greatest act of 'charity' they could do or the greatest act of 'mercy' they could do, and they were Christians. I was offended. It's not mercy or charity or political statements that are supposed to be our motivation to adopt. It is simply LOVE. I love that your motivation, in your own words, was 'selfishness'. I am pretty sure that matches up my own motivations to adopt my 46, ha ha.

    Arumai was a gift to me, from God....born out of love and even a selfish desire in me to have a baby girl!!! ha ha. I love it!

    What's more, it reflects the Kingdom of God. God doesn't adopt us out of pity or politics...it's love. He wants us....He is crazy about us. So, he adopts us so he can call us his own. Just love.

    Other thoughts. You are gonna encounter comments and prejudices over the years. My kids, being 'low caste' in a caste-ridden culture, hear it more often that I would like to admit. All you can do is raise them with the love of Jesus, a deep understanding of how much He likes them and loves them, a deep understanding of how precious they are in YOUR eyes and HIS, and to pour into them all they need in their inner man to thrive as they grow. I imagine you are already doing the same with your boys.

    It's gonna be awesome! I can't wait to see pics of her!!! I know that some people tell me about Arumai, 'she's so blessed to be with you', I sometimes cringe, and I think, 'are you kidding????? I'm the ONE who's blessed!!!!!' I can tell you feel the same way!!

    tammy

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