No Right Click

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trayvon Martin and My Children

The death of Trayvon Martin this past year and the recent trial have given me a lot to think about.

Being in the process of adopting children with special needs has opened my eyes to a world of prejudice I didn’t know about.  Maybe didn’t care about before because it didn’t affect me.  It has brought out prejudice in my own heart.

The stories flowing out of Trayvon Martin’s tragic death have opened my eyes to another world of prejudice and racism that still exists very strongly in our society.  I didn’t know about it.  Maybe didn’t care enough about it before because it didn’t affect me.  
(Note: I don’t know whether or not Martin’s death was related to racism.  We can’t know for certain, but whether it was or it wasn’t, the stories surrounding the trial have opened my eyes to racism that does exist in our society.)

Reading Jen Hatmaker’s blog helped me see this more.  And it reminded me of the things I’ve had to think about since pursuing the adoption of Z and V.  Thinking about bringing children with special needs into our family has made us think about how people will respond to them once they are home.  Just like Jen realized when she brought black children into her house.  There’s so much in common- our black children and our children with obvious special needs.

I didn’t fight for our country’s black children and neighbors.  I didn’t fight for our country’s children and neighbors with special needs and disabilities.  I lived in my own little white, light brown hair and blue eyes, normal-developing world.

I’ve looked for baby dolls too.  They don’t sell baby dolls with hydrocephalus in Target.  A baby doll with a big head won’t sell.  I didn’t expect to find a baby doll with hydrocephalus.  I expected to easily find a doll with brown hair and brown eyes, like our little girl.  But as I searched online, it took a long time to find a doll with brown hair and brown eyes.  Really?  Most of the options had blond hair and blue eyes.  And many of the dolls that actually have brown hair come with blue eyes.  See? 

I haven’t been able to find a cute doll with the facial features of a child with Down Syndrome.  I’ve found some pretty creepy looking ones though.

The majority of kids' books don't include pictures of children with any kind of special need.

I didn’t know there was a “black male code.”  And it makes me wonder, is there a special needs code that I don’t know about- that I need to teach my children?

My children, who are more likely than me to be accidentally killed by a police officer or tazed by a police officer who doesn’t understand why they aren’t responding.  A police officer who doesn’t know how to care for people with special needs and might consider them criminals because of the unknown.

My children, who are more likely to be sexually abused.  

My children, who are more likely to be made fun of by the people around them.  How many times will they be called “retarded”?  How many times will a parent on the playground call their children back to them when they start playing with my children, tell them to stay away from my children?  Because they’re different.  Because it’s unknown territory and parents don’t know how to respond.  

Different and unknown is scary.

I know.  I used to think the same thing.  I would have told you these children with special needs are just as precious and valuable as every other child.  However, there was a point when I wasn't willing to bring them into my home.  And if I was refusing to consider adopting these children with special needs, then was I truly seeing their value?  Seeing them as valuable?  I don’t think I was.  

Jesus hung out with the people I tend to avoid.  He hung out with the prostitutes, the criminals, the lowly fisherman, and the disabled.  He didn’t shy away from them.  He moved toward them with love.  

Jesus, rid out any hatred and judgment in my heart.  Make me look more like You.  Let Your love rule in my heart.  Help me to see all people the way You see them, to see You when I look at each individual.

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