It took longer than I expected, but finally the photos from my cell phone were downloaded and then uploaded in semi-organized fashion onto Facebook. Many friends were kind enough to "like" and comment on them, yet one message spoke volumes:
Love your family pictures. Keep posting them. They send a message that so many of us need to see on a daily basis. Myself included!
In light of recent national heartache and struggle, my friend's words reminded me of the hope that I have for the future. It does indeed involve our children, our family, and other families that look like ours. Each of my children is quite cognizant of his or her skin tone. Often they will even compare skin tone with one another. Occasionally they will try to coordinate our family members by who "matches" whom. But the bottom line which goes without saying between us, no matter our shades of skin we are a family and we belong together. I love the picture above of littlest (white) brother surrounded by three doting older (black) brothers. It truly speaks a thousand words. He loves them, and they love him.
After so many years, I truly don't think a whole lot about how our family looks except to appreciate the beautiful "colors of us" (to borrow the title of one of our favorite children's books!) Sometimes I stare at the deep mahogany of Owen's skin and am in awe of how gorgeous it is. I gaze at our "Mexican" baby Silas and chuckle at how fair he turned out to be. I admire the dark pupils of my daughter Eva's hazel eyes and play with the cute curls on Isabel's head. I take pictures of my handsome Haitian sons with their warm brown skin and sparkling black eyes. I hold my husband's hand and enjoy the contrast of my pale complexion against his. Like the painting on our wall (pictured below) we are a colorful cacophony!
My dream is that my children would take this everyday acceptance of living among a multitude of colors into the world and carry on in the same way with everyone around them. I want them to be comfortable and proud of who they are while also enjoying and appreciating the uniqueness of others. Nowadays there are a growing number of families that look like ours. I can't help but hope and wonder how an entire generation of colorful children growing up in harmony side by side could shape their contemporaries' perception of race. My children's brothers and sisters are black and white. But you know what? So are mine and yours. After all, we are all ONE family - the human family.
By virtue of growing up cross-culturally as an MK (missionary kid), I loved the words of Revelation 7:9 even before we became a transracial family. But now I appreciate them even more. I've told my children that we have the privilege of a little foretaste of Heaven on earth because of our family makeup. Someday, all believers in Jesus Christ will stand side by side with "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages." But we don't have to wait! And honestly - neither does anyone else. Because "you don't have to look like someone else to love them." You just have to reach out your hand.