I am Indian with black hair, brown eyes and brown skin. My husband is Caucasian with dark brown hair, brown eyes and fair skin. My three-year-old daughter is Hispanic and Caucasian with brown hair, hazel eyes, and fair skin. My one-year-old son is Mexican and Caucasian with blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. My family is a transracial adoptive family.
Honestly, I forget my kids are of different races than my husband and me. Race doesn’t define our family. Sleeping through the night, celebrating developmental milestones, playing princess, and unconditional love are some factors that make up our family. Fortunately, most people don’t comment on my children being a different race than my husband and me. Unfortunately, there have been reactions and/or comments that make me aware my family is different in some people’s eyes.
“Why don’t you adopt from India?”
After being plagued with infertility, my husband and I started our adoption journey. We agreed to adopt a baby domestically with race not being an issue. We wanted to provide a loving home and be the best parents we could be to a baby boy or girl, even if he or she would not look like us.
Most people were ecstatic about our adoption plans. A few individuals, who were supportive of my husband and me adopting, did question why we would not adopt from India so the child would look like me. I knew this question was not intended to be malicious but it bothered me. I thought, Adam isn’t Indian so why should we adopt from India? Will our child be loved any less because he or she may not be Indian or not look like us?
The lack of physical resemblance of our child to us was an issue for some people even before a child was placed in our arms. I realized that this issue could very well be a factor we would be dealing with in the future.
The kids and I have been stared at, usually when my husband isn’t present. With all of us looking different, I’m sure we stand out. I understand people are curious and might be trying to figure out the connection between the kids and me. The frozen stare, however, can be uncomfortable.
I’ve learned not to react to the staring. I try to reframe it in my mind. I think: We’re being looked at because my children are incredibly cute. In the back of my mind, I know some stares are because my family is composed of different races.
“They must look like their father. They look so different than you.”
This is a phrase I hear when my husband isn’t with the kids and me. Sometimes I explain that my kids are adopted and the kids look like their birth parents. Other times I reply, “Yes, they do look like their father,” because both kids share features with their respective birth fathers.
I’ve also replied, “Genetics are funny,” and move on with my day. This reply often leaves a puzzling look on the other person’s face because it doesn’t clearly answer his or her statement. Our dry cleaner is one of the individuals who comments on how the children look different than me. The last time I saw her, she encouraged me to have another child so he or she can look like me. I told her I’m done having children. In my mind, I was rolling my eyes and thinking of a more smart-ass comment I should have made.
“Are you sure they’re yours?”
Yes, I have been asked if my son and daughter are mine. Twice. In both instances, my daughter had been calling me ‘Mommy’ and my son had been cuddling with me. This reaction hurt me the most and makes me aware of how ignorant people can be. It made me aware my children could very well be asked if I’m their mom or why they don’t look like me. This reaction makes me aware we live in a world where being different may not always be accepted.
“Are your children adopted?”
No one has ever asked me if my children are adopted. I’m assuming this question hasn’t been asked because it can come off as rude or intrusive. If asked, I’d be happy to acknowledge my kids are adopted. My husband and I have been open with our children about the fact that they’re adopted since they were placed with us. Their adoption is not a secret to them. Without adoption, these two wonderful human beings wouldn’t be part of our family.
There will be a day when my children realize they look different than my husband and me. I want them to be proud of who they are individually and who we are as a family. I hope my husband and I will be able to teach our children to look beyond each of our outward appearances to see the love that makes us a family.