Let me introduce you to my children: Christian is the eldest, and on the left hand side of this photo; Eviana is in the middle; and Ian is on the right. Eviana and Ian were both delivered into my life via international adoption. Eviana is from Ethiopia. Ian is from Russia.
We are a family representing diverse cultures and colors. I believe it is from this place of diversity where we have birthed a deep and unwavering commitment to inclusion.
I am aware that there are varying opinions in this world about families like mine; opinions that range from support to shock…even outrage. It seems that difference can alarm, agitate, inflame, upset and unhinge some. We fear what we do not understand. Our differences, though, should never divide us. Yet, we know throughout human history that difference has shown the capability to separate. Today, it still possesses the same capacity to tear apart.
What do I tell my children about that? As a mother, I want to protect them. I want to shield them from pain and hurt. I want to erase every inch of bias from this planet, to eliminate racism from the hearts and minds of all people. I want to wake up to a world that knows no hate; one that welcomes families of all kinds. I guess that’s wishful thinking, however. The realist in me knows that I cannot change the entire world, no more than I can change the flow of the sea. I don’t possess that kind of power.
My influence is found within the place I call home. It is there where I can impact the lives of three beautiful human beings: the children who call me Mom. I can remind them that we are not the sum of the bodies that we see with our eyes. We are much more than this physical state of being. Our individual color and tone merely represent the beautiful wrapping that holds the gift of spirit within.
Spirit is color blind.
If we’re willing to listen closely, we can hear spirit speak to us of oneness, inclusiveness and love. A love that cannot be divided, categorized, or compartmentalized. This love is for everyone…it knows no borders; it does not partition one person from the other.
Although, I cannot ward off disappointment and pain — this life offers a good dose of that to everyone — I can armor my children with this truth: the color of us goes far beyond the complexion that God has endowed each of us, individually, with. While we celebrate our individual hues, we should not be solely defined by them. What defines us goes so much deeper than black, white, brown or olive. What defines us is our ability to live with compassion, tolerance, and an all-embracing point of view. What defines us is the willingness to say: you are my sister, my brother…even though we are not of the same biology, nationality, or ideology.
What defines my family is not our individual color. No doubt, we delight in the miracle of this beautiful tapestry that has been interwoven.
What defines us — truly defines us — is the color of us: the ensemble of who we are: one united and cooperative shade that chooses not to discriminate or draw boundaries around the heart. One that sees family as limitless and not limited.
A color that is born of the soul.
My wish is to walk this earthly journey in a soulful way, and to be an extension of the love that I have been so graciously given. I want to be that kind of example to my children. And perhaps, just perhaps, in our own special way we can help others to see why we feel so incredibly blessed to be a family. As the mother of this precious tribe I pray: may the color of us always reflect the color of HIM.