It seems some how appropriate for my daughter to ask me on the night before Halloween why she looks different from mom and me. We have never made any attempt to hide her being adopted, and we wouldn’t have hidden it even if it wasn’t obvious. She knows about birth moms and dads, but she wanted to know why she is brown and I am white. I have to say it’s a heck of a conversation to have while carrying her up to bed. My answer was we are all the color God wants us to be even if we don’t know why.
Then she asked if I was sad she didn’t look like me and mom. I told her she is brown, and I am white. O is somewhere in between as he turns dark tan if he is allowed to so much as look at a picture of the sun. I pointed out mom has a darker color than me even if she doesn’t tan like O. We are all different colors, and I love our entire family.
She took this in for a second and said, “So you like that our whole family is different colors?” My first reaction was to say she had it correct, but I quickly corrected myself. I told her I think our family is beautiful, but I really don’t care what color we all are. I don’t love her because she is a Black girl or O because he is an Hispanic boy. I don’t love them in spite of it either. I love them because they are my children, my family. She said she would have to think about it. I had to laugh, but the conversation did put me in the right mind set for our nightly prayers and thanks.
I thought it oddly relevant to have a conversation about looks and what’s on the inside right before a holiday we all celebrate by trying on a different skin for a night. It was an interesting conversation because it made me think how telling my first answer of “yes” was when asked if I loved that our whole family was different colors. I do like it. In my heart of hearts, I like that it reaffirms my desire to remain race/ethnicity neutral and to instantly challenge those who aren’t because they are challenging my children. At the same time, last night was an eye opener of sorts on what it will take to mold our children to believe as we do.
Still, if one is going to go through all the trouble to raise a kid with or without medical difficulties, why not take the time and effort to try and mold their thoughts as well. Last night brought the process of thinking and having empathy in to focus on another front as well. I have become more and more concerned with the decision making process than the results. I keep telling myself if we can explain the why a kid can’t ask to play a game loved by a sibling as that sibling is going to bed, maybe, just maybe, over time the recognition of inspired jealousy, hurt feelings, and lack of sleep will lead to better timing if not better questions. Until then, we will continue with more long conversations about emotions and their causes along with more tears as the games are put down for the night with the first bedtime of the evening
May we all learn better ways to think in order to better shape the world around us whether it be for a night of role play or a life time of happiness.