Did You Know #1…

Did you know that the 13th amendment to the constitution did not abolish all slavery?  I didn’t.  In fact when I googled, “When did the 13th amendment pass?”  This is what I got.

  1. December 6, 1865
  2. Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th amendment, which formally abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31, 1865.

Note that the entire text of the amendment is linked but not stated, which leads us to believe that all slavery was abolished.  It was not.  Here is the text of the 13th amendment as passed and ratified.

Amendment XIII

Section 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

After the passage of this amendment, it was a common occurrence in the south for an able-bodied black man to be arrested and convicted of vagrancy for simply having no money in his pockets.

Black men who were unemployed for even a short time were at high risk for being channeled into the prison slavery system. The practice was called convict leasing and it served as an important part of the Not Slavery-Slavery system of that time.  The convict leasing system had risen up to fill the need for cheap labor after most slavery was outlawed and the threat of the “lease was a powerful source of intimidation”… Convict leasing was also referred to as “the chain gang”. – The Wheat Money by Kristi Tyler

Whites were paid a fee for identifying a black person as a good worker for the convict leasing system.

Did you know about the full text of the 13th amendment?


This one life matters, what will you do with it?

“Look, you have this one life. If you keep being selfish and unkind, it’s going to come back to you. Ask yourself why you’re scared, why you hate.” – Clemantine Wamariya

Sometime in 2013, I joined a Facebook group called Transracial Adoption. It’s purpose is to bring together all parts of the adoption triad (Adoptees, Birth Mothers and Adoptive Parents) to tell the truth about how it is to be an adoptee of a different race than your parents.  I have learned so very much and my perspective has been molded so much by this group. It’s made me a better parent to my boys… not perfect by any means, but better.

Regularly there are posts of articles to this group from varying different perspectives. Listening to these perspectives has been on of the things that also helped me change my perspective on life, parenting and my faith (see Why I did a 180).

Today, there was an interesting link to a blog post written by a woman who survived Rwanda, Clementine Wamariya. She was a refugee in Africa for years, and then moved to the US. She is a public speaker, blogger and a great storyteller. I am sure she is many more things as well. I read the entire post and in the last paragraph was the truth nugget I posted at the top of this post.

If you keep being selfish and unkind, it’s going to come back to you. Ask yourself why you’re scared, why you hate? Volumes could be written in our collective journals answering these questions if only we would ask them of ourselves. But we, Americans, alas, are not so self-reflecting.

This is the question I will unpack for a few days.

What are you reflecting on?


How you say it…

I watched a beautiful video on facebook today. Here it is:

It reminded me of how powerful my words can be.

Some of you might wish I would stop posting about racial injustice, however, I know how powerful words can be and so I post.

  • I post so that my children will know that their mother fought hard against the injustices they will face.
  • I post so that my black friends know that they have an ally in me.
  • I post, always hopeful that some of my white friends might read what I have shared or what I have written and allow it to challenge their view of the world.
  • I post because I am a follower of Christ and he calls me to love others and sometimes love means pointing out sin. I wish I was more like him because he would do it differently. I’m working on that.
  • I post because to stop posting would mean that I believe my words don’t matter.
  • I post because to stop posting would mean that I surrendered to the idea that the world can’t be changed, or even one person can’t change.
  • I post because to stop posting would mean that I believe racism in all its forms, (institutionalized racism, racist individuals and racist groups) has been eliminated.

So I will post.


Why I did an 180…

18 years ago, you would have found me listening to Sean Hannity and MIchael Savage. I started listening to Sean Hannity as soon as he came on the national scene. I was conservative through and through. I bought the line that led us to believe that to be a Christian you had to be a conservative.

15 years ago, you would have found me calling in fairly regularly to Bill O’Reilly’s show, Sean Hannity’s show and Glenn Beck’s show spouting conservative rhetoric.

10 years ago, I was still listening regularly to all of them.

9 years ago, in the middle of the summer, our church, Calvary Church in St. Peters, MO (@calvaryonline) announced that they were partnering with a predominantly black church, Greater St. Mark Family Church in St. Louis to plant a purposely-integrated church in North St. Louis county.  Brian and I were intrigued and immediately volunteered to be part of those sent by Calvary. The commitment was for a year to help build the church.

In January of 2007, the beginnings of that church were established with several couples who committed to combat racism by learning to love each other as the body of Christ. It was a beautiful thing. We opened our doors to the public as “Calvary Church at the Mall” in a movie theater in the St. Louis Mills mall on Easter Sunday, 2007 with a black pastor and a white pastor and a black worship leader and a small but committed congregation.  The church has since moved to northern St. Charles but still is an integrated church and we worshipped there every Sunday until we were transferred to the Chicago area in August of 2014.

I will never forget a passage that we studied early in January of 2007 and is what I feel to be the founding passage of that church which is Acts 2 where Jews from all over the world heard Peter’s preaching, accepted Christ and repented of their sins.  Acts 2:42-47 in particular describes the early church. Now keep in mind this included people from all over the known world:

“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” NIV version from Bible Gateway

We did that and in those early days of the church, those of us who were white listened to our black brothers and sisters in Christ describe what it was like for them to live in St. Louis.  For me, the scales began to be chipped away from my eyes and I began to see the injustice which they lived with every day. Deep friendships with the Pierson, Draper and Washington families continued to chip away at those scales.

These families were patient with me as I began to see that conservatism too often has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters. Yes, I said that. And yes, I meant it.  Please let that sit with you for a few moments.

Conservatism, too often, has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters.

The Political Right, too often, has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters.

Neither will acknowledge the systemic racism in our country. Neither will acknowledge white privilege.  Instead, they claim that all the blame for all of the wrongs which currently exist in the black community belong solely to blacks themselves.

This is untrue. It is a lie.

Take a look at this video which tells the truth.


Because there really is systemic racism in our country and because there is such a thing as white privilege, I can no longer subscribe to the political right or to conservatism. As a follower of Christ, I cannot subscribe to a philosophy that denies injustice and points the finger of blame at those it oppresses.


adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

Just a little something I had to write this morning…


An ever-changing
moving target
at our house

Acceptance always
our goal
our motivation

Love you where you are
show Christ’s love
believe you want to be
the best you
you are capable of being

Willing to be
a safe place for you
for a season
or for a lifetime

Loving you
is not easy
is heart-bursting
is joyous
is heartbreaking

of love
of grief
of acceptance
when you choose
to leave

Know you were
and are


Musing on Being a White Mother to Four Black Boys

I’ll never forget the first time I was asked this question and unfortunately, I didn’t have a really good answer.

“What is it with you and little black boys? Why only black boys?”

The question was asked incredulously as if I might have been harboring a perverted fetish for them and I was shocked.  So I took a big deep breath and answered, “Because black boys are who God pointed out to me.”  While it was a true answer, I wished that I had come up with a better one in that moment. The asker was an African-American woman at a Christian women’s retreat.

Since that time, I’ve been pondering over why it was that God called Brian and I to adopt our four sons and here’s the best conclusion to which I’ve come.  He knew we would fight for them. He knew that we would do the hard work to be the best parents possible for them.  He knew that we were committed to fighting racism even before we became their parents. And He knew that I would share everything I was learning with others.