We have been told on a few occasions that matching us to a waiting child could be challenging because of our Filipino heritage. If you're thinking say wha? I don't get it, don't worry, so am I. This is a thing I continually try to unpack, understand, and plan to address when we are officially searching.
See, when you have children who have experienced major trauma, the idea is that you want to find a family for them who can best help them thrive, and among the many areas is cultural identity. I thought it was just about a willingness to actively nurture that identity if we had a child of a different race, but so far I seem to be having difficulty proving our willingness.
At the Adoption Resource Exchange in May, we met an amazing Jewish-Canadian adoptive mom of two teen girls, one from India and one from Guatemala. She high-fived us when we told her we were open to adopting from any race, calling us trailblazers. It sounds like the way it used to be was mainly white families adopting the minorities, but Canada has become so diverse for a long enough time that it appears a generation of resource parents is emerging that represents so many more backgrounds. The two foster families I know personally are both bi-racial and one I know for sure has cared for children of a different race from them. The vast majority of international adoptions I have read or heard about are interracial.
In a plea that sometimes feels a bit desperate, I often demand to people we have shared this with, close your eyes! I was born and raised in Toronto and Ben come to Canada at one year old. We have unmistakably Asian physical characteristics but we are Canadians who grew up in the uber-multicultural Greater Toronto Area. I have had my own cultural identity journey, with me ultimately embracing both my parents’ heritage and that of my birthplace as secondary to my identity as a child of God.
And as for finding kids in care of Filipino heritage where we live, my opinion is good luck. Part of that culture is kin care, from start to finish. The elderly live in their adult children’s homes when they can no longer live independently, and I know of many cases where family members assume the care and sometimes guardianship of babies born to their still-young daughters. This is, of course, a beautiful thing, but renders us s.o.l. (pardon my French) if the system proves to be more adamant about ethnic matching than we are hoping.
I’m pretty sure that when Jesus has asked us to love our neighbour, He didn’t specify, only the ones who speak your mother tongue (which I, er, can’t even speak anyway). In fact, take a look at what He says in Luke 6:
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:32-36 NKJV)
The gist is more about loving enemies, but the idea easily applies to loving well those who are different from you. How could a God who is kind even to the “unthankful and evil” not also be an encourager of reflecting His adoption of us to any and all, regardless of ethnic background? These are difficult, steep-learning-curve kinds of things, but not impossible. Because, well, Who are we talking about here?