by Carole Towriss
My family and I recently returned from a visit to Disneyworld. We always stay at the Fort Wilderness campground in the cabins, mostly because that’s the only place where all six of us can stay in one room. Actually, its not really a room—it’s more like a tiny trailer with one bedroom, a murphy bed in the sitting room, and a kitchen, but anywhere else we have to get two rooms.
One of our favorite things about Fort Wilderness is the boat ride from the campground to the Magic Kingdom. It’s about a twenty-minute ride and is usually full of other families. I love watching the little kids, probably because I am gratefully past the double stroller and backpacks-full-of-stuff stage. One afternoon there was a pair of little girls sitting a few rows in front of me with what I assume was their grandmother. The older of the two had mild Down’s syndrome, and was about a year older than her sister. What I noticed first, though, was how much alike they were. They shared the same blue-green eyes, the same slight build, and the same silky, dark blond hair as their grandma.
Grandma was putting sunscreen on the face of the oldest and she reared her head back and batted her eyelashes, just like my kids did. She, however, did not fuss or push grandma’s hands away – unlike my kids.
Many people would have focused on the girl’s differences—her almond eyes, short neck, small ears. While I did notice them, I was drawn to the similarities, both between her and her sister, her and her grandmother, and between her and my kids. Or even her and all kids.
Maybe it’s because I have four children who look so dissimilar. We adopted three of our four children from Kazakhstan. The two girls are Central Asian, and the boy, our youngest, is Russian. Kazaks were a Turkic people conquered by Genghis Khan and his Mongols, so even our two Kazakh girls look different—one looks more Turkic, one more Mongol. Most people say our youngest looks just like our college bio-daughter Emma, which is weird.
Our four children share not a shred of DNA, and it makes our house a loud, chaotic, wonderful, loving mess. And even though they all look so different, they are all ours. And like any family—or church, or city, or country—we can focus on the differences or celebrate the similarities.
What similarities do you celebrate in your family, church or town?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV