Back to my friends who are adopting trans-racially. They are a white couple that I love dearly who are having to jump through hoops as they seek to adopt across racial lines. This has led them into the process of adopting a baby from Japan who is half black, half Japanese. There’s been a hiccup in the process, as the baby in question was born with some “health issue.” The adoption agency wants to know if they would want a different baby, as if they had gotten a screwed up order at McDonalds. [I realize that it’s the nature of the beast, but to my mind it all sounds eerily too much like a slave auction block (but that’s probably just me).] They explained that one) they are Christians and two) if this had been their own child, “health issues” wouldn’t have deterred them. So they are still on course to adopt trans-racially.

This is not something that they’ve jumped into blindly. They’ve been studying and preparing as much as they can. An adoption specialist told them that the best way to prepare to adopt across racial lines is to start “coloring up their lives” now. They don’t do anything half-assed and are really taking this whole “coloring up their lives” challenge to heart. The question is: how?

So they turn to me.

You see, I am their black experience. I get that: I’m the “only black friend” to a lot of people. You know, that one friend they feel comfortable enough to ask all of their questions, no matter how dumb they may sound. [And over the years, I’ve gotten some doozies. One person wondered whether or not black people ate salad. I had to keep in mind that they hadn’t met a black person until they turned 21. Their only experience with any minority was via television. Welcome to Indiana! My other favorite was “why don’t black people swim”? Okay, I was less sympathetic and I told them that if black people were good swimmers, we wouldn’t be in this country in the first place.]

I explained to them that they have a luxury that I don’t. They live in a suburb of Indianapolis. Not that they’ve been guilty of “white flight”, but my side of town has seen quite the exodus of white folks with the recent influx of Hispanics. They work at a mostly white company. They go to a mostly white church. Basically, they could go most of their lives and not bump into minorities in any meaningful way. I doubly don’t have that luxury since I have made a commitment to cross-cultural ministry (since I’m sick of the 11 o’clock hour on Sunday mornings being the most segregated hour in this country). I struggle maintaining color in my own life.

Hmm. This kind of puts us in similar boats.

I know that I make it a point to drive. I drive to a multi-cultural church on Sundays. I drive to my barber shop weekly (you don’t think this look comes naturally do you?). I drive to some of the black organizations that I belong to.

How do you color up your lives?