Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thinking. . .

I don't watch videos or listen to music online. I don't know why, but I just don't like to. So when people put a video clip on their blog or tell everyone to listen to a certain song, I usually don't. But today, I did.

I've written before about the Smith family and their little girl Audrey who was born a few weeks ago and only lived for 2 1/2 hours, which was about 2 1/2 hours than they expected her to. On their blog today, there was a link to a video that was shown in their friend's church yesterday. It is about their story, and Angie and Todd share their journey. It's long--over 22 minutes, but it is so worth watching. Even if you know nothing of their story, you will be touched by this video.

Angie was talking about how Audrey's life was their "Plan B" because they did not plan on having a little girl with several fatal conditions. They did not plan on having a baby who would not live to grow up. They didn't plan to have to pick out a tombstone for a child that she could feel hiccuping while looking at the options. Their was definitely not their plan. But, it was God's plan. He didn't have a "Plan B" for Audrey. This was His "Plan A," and things went perfectly according to His plan.

That made me really stop and think about things. I've already spent a lot of time thinking about my life and what it is that I am supposed to do next. I feel like I'm at a crosspoint. I'm no longer teaching, but I'm still tutoring up at school. However, I have no job security; I don't even have any sort of contract right now. I generally enjoy it; I've been able to build relationships with students that I probably wouldn't have been able to build in a classroom, but I don't think that I'll be there that much longer.

I am half heartedly looking for another job, one closer to home, but I'm just not sure what I should do. Ideally, I would like to stay home full time with Steven, but at this point, that isn't financially feasible. I've always had a very strong sense that God is preparing me for something big, but He hasn't yet shown me just exactly what it is. Mark and I have definitely been through a lot since we got married almost 7 years ago, and God has allowed me to use my experiences to help others, and I'm so thankful for that.

One benefit of my tutoring position is that I get paid by the hour and not by the student. On Mondays, that's a really good thing. For some reason, Mondays are really really slow. Yesterday I only saw two students in four hours. In contrast, the last two Wednesdays I've seen seven or eight in the same time frame. The Writing Center is actually just a little room, about the size of a small office, with a bookshelf, filing cabinet, round table, a little rectangular table that serves no real purpose, and a computer. It is in our school's Learning Center, but we are independant of them (basically we just use their space). As a result, when things are slow, I have a lot of time to sit. When I was teaching, I used this time to grade papers and prep for my classes.

Now, I've been using the time to do research on the internet. I've spent quite a few hours reading, saving, and printing articles and studies on transracial adoption and race relations. It's been interesting, enlightening, discouraging, disappointing, and inspiring all at the same time. One thing that has bothered me is the lack of diversity in our environment--our church, our neighborhood, our friends, etc. I know that there is definitely some diversity in these groups, but not nearly enough, and not very many people who are African-American.

God has really been burdening my heart about this, so I've been learning as much as I can about both transracial adoption and the black community. I'm realizing the importance of integrating our lives. I want Steven to grow up and see other people who look like him; I want him to read books that have kids of all races in them; I want him to have trucks with black drivers and buses wtih hispanic students, and asian students, and white students. I don't want to just have a token black doll or two mixed in with all his "regular toys." I'm finding that this isn't as easy as it should be. In fact, it's quite hard. I also want his friends to have these same books and toys and role models in their lives.

My first step in some of this is getting invovled in groups for black mothers. I am working to develop relationships in the black community. I need someone to ask my questions to--what do I do with all this curly hair? what type of moisturizer do you use? and where do you find toys and books and programs that will help him develop as a strong black man? But even more so, I need to expand my own world. Not just for Steven's sake, but because my world is so limited right now. I am around people who, for the most part, look like me, think like me, and were raised like me. Pretty much all my friends are christians. Don't get me wrong--it's good to have friends like these, but if that's all we have, how are we going to reach out to others? Wait for them to come to us? These are some of the questions I've been wrestling with and part of why I feel like I'm at a crossroad in my life.

Part of my research has included looking for resources to help me connect with others (such as with Mocha Moms) and to help me integrate our home, and I'm gradually finding some answers and some toys and books online. It's frustrating to have to look so purposefully and so hard at times, but it's a start. Sometime later I plan on posting some of the resources that I've found. In the meantime, I encourage you to start looking around you--look in your homes, look at your friends, look at your church, look to see how integrated your life is and think about what you're going to do about it.

1 comment:

stephanie garcia said...

I can't wait to hear about all that you have learned ... I feel like I have become so much more "aware" over the course of these past several years but I still have a long ways to go and Chile isn't exactly the most racially diverse country! So I will enjoy learning along with you. (: