Do you know what makes a family? The answer is quite simple, it is love. Its not always about blood ties or relations but rather the love and bonds shared between people that makes them family.
Jessica Satterfield from Greenville, South Carolina understands this concept better than most. The mom of three doesn’t look like any of her adopted kids, but that doesn’t make them any less of a family.
The mom recently went online to discuss what it’s like to raise kids who “don’t match” their parents. We must say, her words are so touching and reveal the very essence of what a family should be like.
“I glanced in the mirror one night when I was putting my children to bed and suddenly remembered that I didn’t grow them in my belly when I saw our reflection staring back at us. It might sound weird that I forget that my children are adopted, but I do. Because to me, they’re just my children.
My family doesn’t look like most. I am a white mama to three beautiful brown children. And although most of the time we don’t notice, others around us do. We walk into stores or restaurants, and people stare or give us a double glance. I choose to believe it’s because they think our family is beautiful and are curious of our story.
We were on our way back from the beach last summer eating our hamburgers in a restaurant, and I noticed an older man staring at us. I started to become annoyed and wished for at least once, we could eat a meal like a ‘normal’ family. I suddenly noticed the man walking toward our direction, and my heart began to race. He shook my husband’s hand and nodded his head in my direction. His eyes filled with tears as he looked at my children and said, ‘I just wanted to tell you that you have such a beautiful family.’ I watched him walk out the door as tears rolled down my cheeks.
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Back in January, I felt God begin to whisper to me about a baby coming. Even though we’re still believing for healing in my womb, this was a surprise to me, because I felt this baby would come through adoption. And at that point, we knew we would be adopting our foster son this summer. We figured he would be our last adoption. But every morning in the secret place with Him, I’d find myself writing about and praying for this baby. I didn’t know how this would come about because we certainly weren’t pursuing adoption. But it doesn’t matter with God. He doesn’t need things in place perfectly to move and do what He’s said He would do. He’s the one that brings the alignment, all we have to do is believe what He’s said. And wait. You can keep reading about what He spoke to me about this baby and what ivy has to do with it all in my blog post! Link in profile. PS we could stay at the beach forever and be fine with it. #gracewhilewewait #oki2019
The thing is, although my daughter laughs just like me and my youngest son crinkles his nose when he smiles, just like I do, my daughter’s family portraits are drawn with peach and brown crayons. On the outside, our family doesn’t match.” Jessica wrote.
“I hate the saying ‘love is colorblind.’ Because that is simply not true. Love is celebrating diversity, honoring our differences, and respecting our uniqueness. Oh, how others miss out on such greatness when they pretend we all match skin. Celebrating diversity in our family is simply a part of our family culture — it always has been, and it always will be.
Practically speaking, we do this several ways in our home. One way we do this is by creating a safe place for our children to ask questions and keep an ongoing, open dialogue about ways we are different and things that make us the same. My daughter will say, ‘Mommy, your green eyes are beautiful,’ and I’ll say, ‘And your brown ones are too.’
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At my favorite place with my favorite people for the entire week. She’s been to this beach every summer since she was born. Last night we went to one of our favorite restaurants and the waitress mentioned how she’d watched Selah grow up! 💗 If you’re looking for a cute suit to match with your girl, this one fits just right in all the right places (I’m wearing a Medium). 😉 They have them to match the whole fam but I didn’t think I could bribe my boys enough. 😂 @yaffifashion #gracewhilewewait #selahgrace #oki2019
We have Band-Aids for every skin color in our house, and my daughter plays with brown baby dolls, because representation matters. We have a large collection of children’s books that celebrate adoption and honor cultural diversity. It’s important to me that we give our children language to describe our family. I want them to know how to talk well about our differences and what makes us unique, so that when a situation arises, and it will, they’ll respond to inform and educate with confidence.”
The mom further revealed, “Last summer, we went to the park. Our foster son had only been with us for a few weeks. He was climbing on a jungle gym with another little boy he had met at the park. I heard the little boy ask him, ‘Why is your mom white and you’re brown?’ And without skipping a beat, he said, ‘Families don’t have to match to be a family. What makes a family is their love.’ My eyes filled up with tears, and my heart almost exploded, so proud of our boy.
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“What is it like adopting an older child? Should we break birth order? Do you have any words of wisdom for bringing an older child into our home? How will it affect our children?” These are the most asked questions that land in my inbox. And buddy, are they loaded. I never can respond with the fullness of what I want to say, and honestly, even trying to tackle this subject here is daunting. But I believe it is worth it. I swore up one side and down the other, we would NEVER, under any circumstances, break birth order. I’d heard horror stories and our family wouldn’t be one of them. But God doesn’t really care about what you’d prefer. He’s not about our comfort, or what is easiest for us. He’s about Kingdom, and sometimes He asks us to lay down our ideas of what our family should and should not look like, and say yes to His. Older children need moms too. They need someone to wipe their tears when they cry, to tuck them in at night, to listen to their dreams, to dream over them. I would even go as far to say they need moms and dads more. I love my little kids more than life itself, but this boy, he swells my heart with so much pride. He’s walked through fire and come out on the other side, THRIVING. I know his healing journey isn’t over, much like mine, but my son, he’s a warrior boy, and I’ve never been more proud of anyone in my life. Keep reading in the link in my profile. 💗 #gracewhilewewait #adoption #fostercare #thisisfostercare #olderchildadoption #fostertoadopt
When I look at my sweet children, even though we celebrate them, I don’t always notice our differences. I just see my children: The ones I waited on for so long, the ones I prayed for, and dreamed about. Every once in a while, I’ll remember our story in a quick glance in the mirror, and be reminded of how much I really love it. To the world, our family doesn’t look like we match. But we know, we match hearts.”
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story and showing us all that love is all that really matters. We are sending lots of love to Jessica and her whole family.
Remember to share this article and spread Jessica’s message that ‘families don’t have to match.’