December 21, 2009

A Mom's Heart

Okay, I know kids will kids and all that junk but last week my heart broke for my little boy.

He was at a sports practice (and let me say that I contacted the coaches and they were wonderful and understanding, wanting to make sure Ab was ok.  They are even going to sit down and talk with him at next practice and are going to speak to the one who made the comments—so I am very thankful for godly men!).  I was watching from the sidelines and something seemed to be going on but I wasn’t for sure what.  I try to be a good mom and let the coaches do the coaching and stay out of it.  As we left Ab was very dejected which is so not the norm him.  I asked him if he was okay. He said “no, that boy told me I”m not a very good.” OK..we can handle that. I responded with that wasn’t very nice and for him to remember how that feels and to not treat anyone else like that. 

We got in the car and continued on and bit by bit he offered up more stuff that was said.  “He said he didn’t want to be with me. He said my hair is not good. He said my skin is dirty. He said he won’t be with me next time”  I tried to remain calm in front of Abenezer. I confirmed that it wasn’t nice and that I loved his brown skin and curly hair.  Thankfully Ab still sits in the back of the car so I could let the tears roll.  I felt angry and sad. I felt so bad for Abenezer that over a year ago he was in a place where he was the norm and now he is in a place where he is made fun of and made to feel bad for who he is. Not his shirt, not the way he acts or anything he can change (not that he should) but for who he is as a person.

We prayed for the little boy that night and confirmed with Ab that it was something inside that child’s heart and that it wasn’t him. He listened and said he understood. But how does a 7 yr old perceive all of that?  I know how words hurt me and I replay them in my head over and over…and I’m an adult!

I know that it will happen again.  We live in a very ‘white’ area.  It just saddens me, especially that it came from a little boy.  How can such a young child have such prejudices?  Learned behavior…  How sad, especially because he is missing out on a wonderful friend, Abenezer, who would give you the shirt off his back.

I was very naive coming into adopting a child of color. I knew that racism still existed. I guess I just denied to myself how much was still there.  The very same people who tell me how cute and precious Ab is will have negative remarks  about the young girl who dates a boy who is black.  What changes?  When is Abenezer no longer considered cute but a threat?

It just makes me so sad that we can’t look at each other and see how God sees.  He see people whom He loves and people that He created. I don’t think He has a grading system based on our skin color.

I would love to hear how others handle remarks such as these.

7 comments:

  1. Handle with lots of PRAYER!!! We have heard some of the same comments...of course we live in the South- where you can be the only "white" person in a store- not uncommon. I love it!!!

    I think the biggest thing is to really be very very clear with or children about why they have different hair, skin- just biology, a little bit of melanin.

    Most of the hate speech comes from the fact that there are still TOO MANY who believe in evolution- that those with darker skin are closer related to a monkey, and other silly things, that somehow a color of skin makes you inferior.

    So start with the truth! WE ARE ALL MADE IN HIS IMAGE. We let our children know there WILL be people who don't like them because of skin color, but because they know the TRUTH.....it makes them more confident to ignore the lies.

    At least that is our prayer, our thought process, and just know you are not alone!!!!!! Praying for Ab!

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  2. yeah, I agree with above. As much as it pains me and i think that it is awful to hear those remarks, there is a chance that this boy literally had no idea that skin comes in the color brown and that it is NOT infact dirt, unbeliveable though it sounds. now it could certainly be a negative thing, and I think you handled ir great, but I tend to approach insensitive comments from children as a lack of knowledge and an opportunity to educate, even if while I am "educating" I am praying that the hurt and anger are not coming through in me voice :) I had someone, a kid, once say something about "what if Zoe was half African, half human and she could..." and they were about to offer up some cool thing she could do when I jumped in and said "wait a minute, honey, Africans ARE humans, just like we are so that doesn't make any sense" and it was very ahrd for me to not get very very angry, b/c I thought 'who is teaching him this???' but I decided that I would use it to teach truth, rather than more negativity. But I do know there is negativity based on race-sadly my mother in law will not accept Zoe as her grandchild and so we have had to cease our relationnship with her until she can change that and it hurst, a lot-so sometimes it is just a long painful journey, but we have each other to support and encourage one another!! hang in there and tell Abe that he is BEAUTIFUL and that God made Him that way and God does not make thing that are not VERY GOOD, it is right there in Genesis!!

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  3. Thanks Dawn!

    I agree Jody, though I do think he knew...that's what was so hard on Ab because he didn't want to partner up with him because of his skin color. He was down right hateful about it.. It wasn't curiosity..I def. could handle that better. Ab is very tenderhearted and all this was just as he is experiencing grief and wanting to go back to ethiopia which makes it all the harder.

    So sorry about your family situation and that is so sad! What a joy that they are missing out on!

    Thanks ladies..I do appreciate your prayers and support!

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  4. Tears in my eyes with you. :-( I am not looking forward to when Josiah hears and understands those comments.

    Thank you all for the reminder that we need to bring it back to the Lord. We are made in HIS image.

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  5. I too dread the day my little boy stops being "adorable" to everyone who sees him, and starts being a threat. One of the mom's in my Ethiopia group has this remark about when people comment on her adorable kids, she says "Try to remember that when he wants to take your daughter to prom." It's a sad thought that those same families will be less than thrilled about that. I'm so sorry this happened to Ab- breaks my heart!

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  6. Chrissy, I'm so sorry Ab is hurting. I appreciate you for sharing this with us and I'm thankful for Godly moms and that we can support and pray for each other in the process of raising our precious children. I prayed for Ab's tender innocent heart and that God would protect it from being broken and if it is, that he wound bind it up and make it stronger because of this experience.

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  7. :-(

    One of my students (African) asked why Selam was a different color than myself. I said b/c she comes from Africa like you. She just stared at me. Couldn't get it. Today my husband stopped into the classroom and this same child just stared at him b/c he's white! She couldn't figure out why / how we could have a non-white child! For some reason people just assume things.... heavy sigh!

    Poor Ab - I wonder if he's always going to feel different. My heart aches for these kids.

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