I don’t look like you.

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The delicate topic of race. Who would have thought this would be a discussion I would have with my son and not my daughter.

Mr.D is becoming keenly aware of differences in how people look. Not just the obvious stuff, but some pretty specific attributes. When asked the names of his new friends at school he shrugs and then describes their physical appearances instead.

“He is the boy that shows his teeth when he talks.”
“She has yellow hair that bounces when she runs.”
“He is the short kid with brown skin.”

When he was younger he would state the obvious about people.
“That person is really fat.”
“Boy, that person smells.”
“That must be a girl because of the long hair.”

There were quite a few awkward moments that I had to tactfully work around. We are now past that stage of embarrassing statements, but he still makes questionable comments. I then wonder if I am teaching him enough about the world and the people that make it up. Especially, now that he has a sister who clearly does not resemble him.

He does have the tendency to point out any person of Asian decent and compare them to Dragon. At one point if he was in talking range, he would ask them if they were adopted from China. (I quickly put a stop to this line of inquiry.) Mr.D insist that he doesn’t look like me or Hubby. If asked if he looks like his baby sister, he says yes. He compares ears and noses and says they are the same. He says she is “crazy” like him and that makes her look like him. In his opinion, his little sister is almost his mirror image, except for her dark eyes and hair.

Interesting logic.

This leads me to wonder how do others perceive our multi-race family. I have noticed since bringing Dragon home, we as a family, bring more attention to ourselves. On almost every family outing I am approached by a complete stranger who makes a comment about Dragon. I don’t ever recall this happening when Ms.A and Mr.D were small.

It may be just the clerk commenting on how cute she looks or the grandmotherly women who stops me in the parking lot to share the adoption story of her niece. I always appreciate those positive interactions, but then there are others. I have had questions ranging from where she is from, how much did she cost, and even why didn’t I adopt domestically. I try to keep it simple and move on. There has only been one occasion that I just didn’t know what to say, so I walked away. Thank goodness that Dragon did not understand what was going on.

I have a terrible feeling that these episodes will not end and that Dragon will have to endure the ignorance of those strangers who feel the need to question us. Growing up is a hard thing. Adding any adoption issues and race issues is even harder. Hopefully when the time comes and she has questions about race, I’ll have it together enough to answer.

When asked what do I see?

It’s weird to say, but I don’t see her race anymore. It even weirder to tell you that I think she looks like us. Same round face, little ear lobes, cute little nose, poker straight hair. She couldn’t have been a better match. She is the beloved youngest daughter, the very spoiled daddy’s girl, the “crazy fun” little sister, the very much wanted child.

Dragon describes the year of her birth. Dragon describe her ferocious spirit and drive to survive. Dragon is a symbol of her culture and her race.

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4 Comments

Filed under adoption, Family

4 responses to “I don’t look like you.

  1. christine

    Just don’t go into Tawanda mode and smash into their cars (Fried Green Tomatoes)
    Just smile, pause, and gleefully exclaim how honored you are to be her parent and leave it at that.

  2. Mr. B

    When the time comes, Mommy will say the right words-count on it. Mr. B

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