When Your Daughter Doesn’t Share Your Ethnicity

by | May 4, 2021

Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This verse is a clear command to parents that we are to channel our efforts and resources into training our children in the truths and ways of God. We are to lead our children in a direction of righteousness and wisdom, not evil, folly, and sin. This means my wife and I have been given the responsibility to teach our little girl who God is, what He has done in and through Jesus Christ, the new identity of those who believe in him, and what we are to do in light of those truths.

Wisdom requires us to understand the individuality of every child in order to teach them how to best live out this command. Each child is different. They come with different personalities, temperaments, quirks, along with other unique God-given characteristics. One of those characteristics is race, which I have been thinking through a lot this past year.

Our beautiful black daughter is adopted into a mixed-race family that doesn’t share the same history, culture, color of skin, and all the good and bad associated with her being black in America. So how does a Korean-Puerto Rican father and a White mother teach Niomi the ways of the Lord and what it means to be a Christian black woman in America without us being black ourselves?

To be transparent with you, I am still in the process of figuring it out. And most of the time, I feel inadequate to be her father due to my ignorance. The reality is that there’s a level of experience, knowledge, and wisdom that I won’t ever know or be able to share with my daughter.

But that doesn’t mean I can neglect the responsibility to pray for wisdom or utilize God-given means to help me on this journey. Some of these means are building relationships with other black families and learning from them, researching black history in America, and listening to other black women’s voices through podcasts, books, lectures, etc.

 

What wisdom have I gained that will shape my parenting for my daughter? Allow me to share a few things:

  • In the creation story, we will emphasize the goodness of God in the creation account, but we will also emphasize the goodness of God intentionally creating her beautiful skin, hair, and eyes on purpose, for a purpose.

  • As we teach her the beautiful truth in God forgiving sinners because of Christ’s atoning work, we will also need to teach her how forgiveness is applied to someone who indirectly or directly expresses their racially discriminatory bias towards her.

  • We will have to teach her humility and courage when she hears unhelpful perspectives from her peers about racial issues in America.

  • We will have to teach her what it means to have righteous anger at injustices committed towards people who look like her.

  • We will have to teach her that her faith doesn’t call her to settle for the status quo in the midst of injustice, but neither does it call for vengeance.

  • And I think one of the most pressing things we will need to do is be consistent in reminding her there is hope. We will do our best through the Scriptures to make sure she knows Christ’s mercy and vengeance will have the final say. One day, racism, disunity, pain, and other injustices will be no more. One day every tribe, tongue, and nation will come together and make their home in righteousness and worship our God together, forever.

 

Although this list is not exhaustive, I believe you get the picture. These are things I haven’t had to think about before. And honestly, it would be a lot “easier” to adhere to the colorblind thinking and just follow a parenting book then move on. But we can’t pretend race won’t affect our daughter. We don’t have the privilege to turn a blind eye, claim ignorance, and go about our lives. Yes, we will, ”train up a child in the way she] should go,” but we will do so within her distinct, created makeup, with the hope that she will grow up to love God and love people as a Christian black woman in America.

 


Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for our family to navigate these waters in a way that honors God and our daughter.
  2. Pray that my wife and I would continue on this path of sanctification and be quick to confess and repent of any racism that may lie in our hearts.
  3. Pray for other families in similar situations to have wisdom and care for their children well.

 

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