One World, One People

This is not a topic I enjoy delving into deeply because it’s been ignited by some very hurtful, racially based, hate filled comments… from family, no less. We all had a wonderful, very relaxing Christmas day yesterday, and Daniel even got an e-mail from his adult nephew, whom he hadn’t heard from for a couple of years. When you get holiday messages like that,  you just assume it’s a warm greeting. We were shocked to learn otherwise. It was cruel, and went completely against what the spirit of Christ and Christmas is about. It was an obvious attempt to drag Daniel down, into the depths of a very dark and ugly place that we have learned several family members live in. People like that have to be in a state of great suffering- it’s a dense, body-identified consciousness and they have to be completely out of touch with their own spiritual nature. When we don’t have our own sincere spiritual life, we live in the confinement of this world and can see/sense nothing else. Not even the beauty in our children or the diversity that’s there.

That being said, it’s tough raising kids like ours in a world where some people will only acknowledge their color or cultural identifications. By some, they’re viewed as separate and less deserving of being in this country. I’m not even going to acknowledge most of the hateful comments that were said in the e-mail, but I will say that it was almost verbatim what Daniel’s mother said to him last August. There was obviously some gossip going on over the holiday, and now the disease is spreading. There are two main points I will address, though, because I know there are people out there who hold the same judgments. For my children’s sake, and the sake of international adoption I have to say something.

1) “You should have looked closer to home to adopt a child. You think you’re helping, but there are so many kids here who need to be adopted. You should have adopted an American child.” We’ve heard this many times, however it was posed as a question, in a much more respectful way. It’s always a good question (when phrased as a question, and not as a judgment), and we always explain that we started out looking to adopt domestically, but that it didn’t work out. Sometimes you knock on certain doors and they open, while others keep closing. We have already explained this to family, but it’s apparently not being heard. The reason I believe it’s not being heard? Racism. I believe that when people like that say “You should have adopted American children” what they’re really saying is “You should have adopted WHITE children.” There is no reasoning or logic to satisfy that type of pinched off mentality.

2) “You and your wife are only trying to get attention.” This has to be the most ludicrous comment to date. It’s been stated by two family members, and both times our chins just dropped to the ground. It’s so ridiculous, I almost don’t even feel it deserves a response. But I will say this- No one, and I mean NO ONE commits to 18+ years of hard labor and expenses just to get attention. And it should be noted that by living in Lawrence, Kansas we just don’t get all the ‘attention’ people think we might. It’s so filled with diversity and strangeness that our family dulls in comparison. Honestly, two lesbians can be holding hands downtown, or a girl with purple spiked hair doesn’t even raise one eyebrow. If you’re looking at our family as one who might walk down the streets of the Ozarks or Mobile, Alabama, then yes… we’d get a lot of negative attention. Here, we do not. And even if we did, it would not be the type of attention anyone would desire.

There were many hateful words swirled into the letter, but those comments really perplexed us. All the hatred has come at Daniel so suddenly, and from out of nowhere. It’s all rooted in the disease of ignorance. This type of shut off, separation based mentality is the source of most, if not all of the suffering on the planet. All the religious and cultural persecution, the history of slavery, lack of help during Katrina, 9/11, all the way back to the crucifixion of Christ… it’s all been based on fear and the idea of separation/body identified consciousness. Christ was able to transcend that, and through his resurrection sent the message “See? I am not the body.” As long as the body is all we see, this type of mentality will always plague our world. It’s toughest when it’s coming from family. I mean it when I say that we are one world, one people, one human race. We may wear a variety of garments, some lighter, some darker, some plain, and some radiant, but behind the veil of matter we are all made up of the same clod of stardust and light.

“Let us all hope  that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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5 Responses to One World, One People

  1. Patti Dickinson says:

    Above and beyond all the explanations, at the end of the day, those judgments are not ANYONE’S to make. You have built your family your own way. No one has to like it but you guys! It’s back to the old, “Everyone has a right to their opinion. But that doesn’t mean they have the right to EXPRESS it.” I am so sorry for your hurt. But you and Daniel will rise above this. As Dr. Phil would say, “Every situation needs a hero.” And my bet is on the two of you!

    And as for attention getting….Good Lord. Wood and I used to say when complete strangers would say stuff to us, “We built our family a kid at a time. Each and every one of them were wanted. Welcomed.” Why would a complete stranger think that they had a vote?????

    Hang in there…

    • Yes, I agree Patti. I do, however, think it goes beyond “opinion” and into judgment, then downright hateful, though. It’s not just an opinion or view when it gets so personal. It was said with the intent to cause pain.

      I love the idea of building a family “one child at a time”. Don’t all families do that, for the most part? I understand people’s fascination with unusual families… a healthy, non-judgmental curiosity is fine.

      • Patti Dickinson says:

        I didn’t mean to suggest that it was “just” anything. What you experienced is hateful and in-your-face. Very aggressive. Makes me think that this isn’t really about adoption/multi-cultural anything, but misplaced anger. Who would get so upset about someone else’s choices?

        As for building a family one kid at a time, I am not sure all families do that. I think that the vast majority of households have their 1.8 kids and call it done. We didn’t do that and I don’t imagine that you did either. A decision to have a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth kid is a major decision! And I happen to be married to a man who has always pitched in and been a very present dad…..but who would have eight kids with a man that sat in the recliner with a beer on his stomach???? Haha.

        Love reading your blogs. You touch on some good issues. Through your hurt, you are educating an awful lot of people to perhaps take a second look at some important issues….keep ’em coming.

  2. Daniel Peebles says:

    Since this is my side of the family who has publicly sent me vile comments on Christmas Day, I need to comment. I have been feeling a “disturbance” in the field of my family for sometime. Abrupt telephone cut offs. Just a weird feeling, something I can’t stick my finger on. And it finally came puking out, that a big part of it is our adoptions. Why would adopting children cause such intense hostility, anger, resentment? It has to be because I have adopted children outside my childhood, cultural, sick, racist programming. Have a violated some silent, ancient, sick code or something? If so, what is the code? And if there is such a code, then I deliberately, with all the strength and power in my being, with all the energy of my atoms, I RENOUNCE that code.

    Somehow, because I have adopted outside my my ethnicity, I have “turned my back” on my family, disowned them or something. I never thought that the subject of me adopting children would be something I would be attacked for. It is completely foreign to me. Of course, in families there are multiple layers and issues involved. This doesn’t explain it all. But for me, my family of origin is in a lot of pain. When people are hurting: physically, mentally, emotionally – they have to find a place to put that pain. Pain in the force of deep, intense, internal hate.

    I don’t accept the hate. I won’t accept it. My mom can hate me until her last dying breath, and all she will ever receive back from me in kind is love. I will ALWAYS and ONLY love her. Which is why this cancer of hate spread in my family hurts so much.
    Resentments and bitterness are like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

    I will never return hate with more hate. Never. I pledge now that I will never fight back.

    I am imperfect, human, fallible – I fall short as a parent, a son, a husband, a brother – but I am making a sincere effort to heal, to grow, to rise above, to transcend, to love myself.

  3. What beautiful and difficult sentiments Daniel! I am really sorry for everyone involved that this anger is being directed at your family. It is incomprehensible to me that people raise “objections” to adoptions once they have occurred – I mean, I can sort of understand people making comments along the lines of “why are you adopting from Russia rather than the US” BEFORE the adoption goes through, but once the kids are part of your family, then it is so incredibly disrespectful and hostile to continue those questions! It would be like going up to someone and demanding “how could you have married that person?” I have no idea what people think they are going to accomplish. Just like you wouldn’t divorce your spouse due to comments like that, you’re not going to undo your beautiful family!

    As you say, it’s all about the pain in the people making the comments – they are lashing out because there is something fundamentally wrong with their own lives. As my favorite quote says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” We can’t know what the battle is. We just have to know that a lot of time when people react to us irrationally, it’s the great battle inside them that is driving the irrational and hurtful reactions.

    You are both strong and wise individuals with a beautiful family. I hope that those in your extended family will someday come to see that.

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