Our family recently purchased a new television for our living room. I was amazed at the leap in technology televisions have made since our last purchase seven years ago. Our upgraded TV is said to have a billion more colors than older models. I have to admit that we are enjoying a much more “colorful” experience these days while watching our favorite shows. The progress that has been made in the television market is astounding!
Now Rep. Holmes, I write this letter to you today as a way to say thank you—thank you for igniting a movement that has brought to light another kind of “colorful” experience going on in our state. In the last month you have shown the state of Alabama and the rest of the nation the progress that has been made in what constitutes real family. It turns out that families these days come in a lot more colors, as well.
Let me take a moment to introduce myself to you. My name is Patrick Quinn, and my family is like many in our state. We are a transracial Foster Care family living in Montgomery, AL. When I am not busy being a daddy to my children, I am the Teaching Pastor at Frazer United Methodist Church. My wife and I, along with our three children, have been involved in Foster Care for the past three years, so I have become keenly aware of the number of children who need homes in our state. However, it was not until your comments about transracial families ignited this movement that I realized how far we have come as a society. You made me realize that, far from being an isolated exception, we are part of a great movement.
Rep. Holmes, your generation grew up in a black and white society watching black and white televisions. I do not blame you for thinking the way you do. Your picture of the world was formed in a different era. How could you know that a new generation is taking up the mantle of caring for orphans, regardless of race or ethnicity? How could you know that today there are hundreds of families like mine? Many of us live in the shadows of confidentiality due to the sensitive situations of the children in our care. Most of us are too busy with the quiet work of raising a family to be out in the public eye. You haven’t visited in our homes. How could you know that white children and black children are sleeping under the same roof all across this state?
This new generation of families is not “color blind.” My white children see that there is a black child living in our house. They notice that our black son has different hair and skin products, along with other differences. But they love him just the same. Their world is not color blind, it has become “color-full”.
I admit that before Foster Care my children lived in a predominantly white world. However the past couple of years have proven to be invaluable for my family and for me. The new colors in my life have enriched our world and enlarged our hearts. Like the billion more colors on our new television, our family is seeing the benefit of living in a world full of God’s beautiful colors!
So, Rep. Holmes, do you see what you have done? Unknowingly, you have given a voice to the voiceless! Foster and Adoptive Families could not have done what you have done for us. You have brought this issue out of the shadows and exposed it to the light. You have helped us bring awareness to the plight of the orphan, to the most vulnerable among us, our children. You have singlehandedly made this a state issue that has grown into a national issue. You doubted that families like ours existed; well, here we are, standing in the spotlight that you created!
Now it is time to finish what you started. March on to the finish line. You, too, can upgrade, from the black vs. white world of yesterday, to the beautifully multi-colored world of today. You can join the movement of this color-full new generation. Will you join us in the fight? Will you join the families that gathered on the steps of the State House? Instead of denying that we exist, will you now become an advocate on our behalf?
Speaking for many Foster and Adoptive families, we do not want your $100K, as helpful as that would be, we never got into this for the money. It might be better spent upgrading your TV from black and white to something more appropriate for today’s world. There are so many more children that need homes like the one we provide for foster children. Help us spread the word. Use your voice for love not hate. It’s not too late for you to see this world the way God sees it, in “full HD” with billions of colors. It is a beautiful world, Rep. Holmes. I hope you get to see it.