I took my 3-year-old to story time at our local library this morning, and as expected with Mother’s Day approaching, the librarian read stories about kids and their moms. It was a sweet time for Wesley and me as he snuggled up close and we listened to the stories together. At least for a little while.
After a few stories, I began to shift uncomfortably on my carpeted seat in the small amphitheater. All the stories seemed to be about kids (or animals) who are searching for their mothers. And just like in P.D. Eastman’s classic Are You My Mother? the little one finally finds someone who looks like him and rejoices that he has finally found his mother.
Sweet stories. Until someone is calling you mama who looks nothing like you.
As I looked down at that adorable dark, curly head I found myself feeling about a hundred things at one time. Hope that Wesley will never feel uncomfortable calling me mama even though my skin is lighter than his. Fear that he will be confused about who he is because most of the kids and mommies around him “match.” A little anxiety about the day when he might express interest in searching for his birth mom.
But mostly I just felt… grateful. So, so grateful that God called me to be Wesley’s mom. Awed that racial reconciliation is beautifully possible through the gospel. Privileged to be called to such a task.
As I hugged Wesley closer to my side this morning, I decided against the avoidance strategy. Instead, I decided to embrace it all… everything that goes along with transracial adoption: the difficult questions, the curious strangers, and the less-than-stellar children’s books. We’ll face each of those things together, side by side, as mother and son.
And if he ever wakes up one day and asks me, “Are you my mother?” I will pull him close and say with gratitude, joy, and wonder, “By God’s grace, YES!!”
I love children’s books and am always on the lookout for books and stories that include multi-racial children and families. I’ve decided to start a list of these here on the blog. Feel free to pass on this list to any other multi-racial families you know. And if you have any book suggestions to add, please leave a comment and let me know!