Before I got married, I always imagined my future children would look like me: blonde, curly hair, blue eyes, and pale Irish skin. Of course, that vision changed when I married a Japanese-Brazilian who happens to be my opposite in every possible way. I didn’t mind, though. Who doesn’t love a mixed baby? By the ninth month of pregnancy, I thought I had come to terms with the fact that she wouldn’t look like me, and I figured the least I could do was give her an Irish name.
When Rory was born, she had a head full of straight, dark hair and looked exactly like my husband, but I didn’t mind. It didn’t bother me that her eyes were brown and almond shaped, because they were beautiful eyes. I didn’t mind that her skin was a bit darker, because it was perfect, beautiful skin. I didn’t mind that she didn’t look like me, because she was a beautiful baby.
I didn’t mind until the first time someone asked me the question.
My then five-month-old and I were at the library waiting for story time to start when a woman and her son sat next to us. I could feel her staring at us for a while, but I figured she was judging me for the fact that my baby was still in her pajamas at 10:30 in the morning. Instead, she asked, “Is your daughter adopted?” At first I didn’t realize she was talking to me. I glanced behind me and beside me, but we were the only ones around. And then it hit me: She’s talking to me, and she thinks I adopted my baby from a foreign country. (For the record, I think this question should be grouped into the same category as asking a woman if she’s pregnant: Don’t ask unless you’re 110% sure.)
It takes a lot to offend me, and I could tell that she was just curious, so I told her that “no, she is my biological child who happens to be half-Japanese.”
I didn’t think much of it until it happened again a few weeks later. We were taking our first plane ride to San Francisco to visit my husband’s best friend. I was slightly (okay, really) frazzled about traveling with a baby, and I was so busy praying that we didn’t forget anything, that I almost didn’t hear when the TSA agent remarked, “Aw, what a cute baby. Where is she from? I want to adopt one day.” I just smiled and patiently explained that even though she doesn’t look like me, she did in fact, come from my womb, and asked if he would like to see my scars to prove it? (I still made sure to wish him good luck on his future international adoption. I mean, I’m not a monster.)
The question was asked several more times over the course of my daughter’s first year. I tried not to let it bother me, but the truth is, it did.
I think it’s human nature to want your child to look at least a little bit like you. I think adoption is an amazing thing, and I know that adoptive parents love their children like their own flesh and blood, but my daughter wasn’t adopted. She grew inside of me for nine grueling months. I birthed her and I nursed her for 12 months. She shares half my DNA.
It wasn’t until a new friend told me that Rory reminded her of me that the question stopped bothering me. She didn’t use the words “look like,” but she insisted that there was something about the way Rory spoke and acted that made her certain we were mother and daughter. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we have a lot in common, after all. Sure, she may not have inherited my wavy blonde hair or my eyes or my skin tone, but she did inherit my love for reading and sour pickles. She sticks out her tongue when she’s super focused on something, just like I do, and she definitely has my sense of rhythm (poor girl). She may not look Irish, but she undoubtedly got my Irish temper (poor me). So, even though physically she may not be my mini-me, she’s still undeniably my daughter, and for me, that’s enough to overshadow the fact that some people may stare at as at the library or the grocery store and assume that she’s not biologically mine.
And every so often when the lighting is just right, she’ll smile a certain way or scrunch her nose just so, and I’ll see myself in her. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I smile and think to myself, “there I am.”
When my second daughter was born a few months ago, I was less surprised to see a head full of straight, black hair. Her eyes may be almond-shaped, but they’re still blue, and perhaps they’ll stay that way. Hey, a mom can hope, can’t she?
Nobody ever talks about this, my husband is half Indonesian and part Metis, I’m Scottish, Norwegian, and Swedish, blue eyes reddish hair. Two of my son’s look the mix, but our middle son looks like he’s a beautifully tanned islander with big BLACK eyes and dark curly hair. I’ve had so many comments that I try to explain away but it does get to me at times. Especially when my kids hear.
One day we went for a dr visit with our Japanese pediatrician he explained to me in very plane terms that my son wouldn’t have eczema if he was in Indonesia where his heritage is, and he began to explain Asian skin care practices and about their climate, and how much better off he would be in indonesia. His tone was so condescending, and I left there crying, feeling like being white, I wouldn’t be good enough as his mother. I’ve had time now and I realise that isn’t true, but people really don’t look well upon white mom’s of dark kids.
I feel you! I have two kids, a girl and a boy, and sadly none of them look like me too. 🙁 No chance to hope for next baby to look like me already, since we plan to stop at 2. Sobs…..
Thank you for writing this article. My daughter is the spitting image of her Korean father and while I haven’t gotten any questions about adoption, I do wonder if people that don’t know us think that she isn’t mine (biologically). And it does get tiring hearing all of the comments from friends about how she is daddy’s baby. I always think ‘and she is half mine too.’ Just glad to know I’m not alone. I was feeling annoyed and found your post. Thanks.
I was just asked yesterday at a Dr. visit was my son a foster child? I guess this was the first of many ignorant comments to come.
This really makes me feel a lot better. I am currently pregnant with a half Chinese baby girl and I have been borderline depressed lately, feeling like she will look like my boyfriend and not me. He wants to teach her Cantonese and have his parents only speak it around her so she will learn it. His whole family lives here and my family lives on the west coast. I feel isolated and like she is a part of our family and now I am the loner! It’s pathetic, haha! I have to remind myself that she is MY daughter too and that she will definitely be like me, not just like him.
Mixed heritage is the most attractive people in the world. I have three children, not one looks like me or my family. If I think about it too long , it may bother me because I’m only child. In the modern world I’m white, but my mother side is native Indian, Irish and Welsh, my dad side from what I know is French , Italian and who knows. Two of my children look like their dad, who is Italian. My last daughter like her dad too who is Swedish , Scottish and Lebanese. This world is full of mixed cultures. That is the purpose in life. Soon we all be naturally tanned.any mix of race is beautiful.
You know, I’m a bad mother, I guess. I have a daughter that looks exactly like my husband and nothing like me and it bothers me so much, not and then it gets to me so much I’m depressed about it. I might say she takes after him, too. I feel left out. And I’m the one that always wanted a baby, not him, and we’re not having any more. How incredibly selfish to feel bad about something like this about a beautiful, healthy child. I thought it was post partum at first, but at four years old, I still feel the same. It comes in waves, it’s not all of the time.
I’m the daughter in the scenario you describe – I only look like my dad and we had similar temperaments as well, and I know that must have hurt my mother a lot. It was tough for us both and we both contributed to a complicated relationship – I didn’t quite trust her because I childishly assumed she disliked me, and she complained it was hard to turn me into a “real girl,” or to make me pretty or fashionable. (Of course she really meant look a little more like her.) We have a good relationship now that I’m an adult, but I know my mother still struggles with her expectations of family resemblance: my niece “got the short end of the stick ” because she looks like her dad and not her mom. I definitely wish she had had a chance to work through her mixed feelings about it all, I guess.
I am a mutt (my mom is half Italian and half German – my dad is a little bit of Irish, English, German, Bohemian, Scottish, French…). I am their youngest & I was born a few years into their marriage, I have a blonde haired, blue eyed older sister, who possessed a lot of our dad’s features at birth. Then I was born: with my mom’s round face, an olive complexion, a full head of shock black hair and almond eyes. No one saw a resemblance to him in me – except for my blue eyes.
As we grew, my face became less rounded, hers became rounder, my hair naturally lightened to brown with auburn highlights, hers is no longer naturally blonde. I see more of my dad in me today than my mom & I see more of my mom in my sister. I have two family pictures framed side by side: one where I’m four, and one when I was 25 – the juxtaposition works for me.
I’m married now, with a new last name and I am always amazed when someone approaches me and says “you must be Sandie’s daughter” (my parents are pretty active in the community), because I think I share the same brown hair color with her & some personality traits, but my dad’s freckles, fairer skin, blue eyes and face shape are easier to see than the way we structure an argument, talk with our hands or arch our eyebrows.
She’s yours and someone unexpected will notice it while you are too busy living your life (not worrying about what anyone else thinks).
I am half filipino, half irish. I have brown eyes, dark hair (when I actually have my natural color), and tan skin. My middle child, 2 year old daughter, has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes. I get funny looks anytime I’m out with her and my husbands not with us. She is the spitting image of my husbands mom. My youngest child, 1 year old son, has brown hair and brown eyes and highly resembles me. It’s crazy what genes do.
Our 12-year old daughter still looks as if my husband delivered her…until she opens her mouth…then there’s no doubt she’s my daughter too lol!
It was so refreshing to read your article.
I am adopted from South Korea and my husband is Caucasian. My 2.5 year old daughter looks very much like me brown almond eyes sweet little nose but my 5 month old looks so much like my father in law … It’s actually rather scary. So we both get looks now and again when they see all 4 of us together.
My husband is a dark-skinned Thai, & I’m so white, I glow in the dark. Needless to say, our son is my husband’s “mini me” (although, since his skin tone is a few shades lighter, it amuses my New Orleans-born heart to tell people that I “added a little au lait to the cafe”). When I’d be out alone with him, I used to get asked where I adopted him. A lot. For the first several months, I’d explain his mixed heritage. Then, I came up with the PERFECT answer.
Now, when I’m asked where I adopted him, I simply reply, “My uterus.” The best part is watching the reaction when the asker doesn’t quite get it: the head cocks slightly, the eyes squint & dart upward, the thought wrinkles appear on the forehead, & you can just tell they’re thinking, “Is that the name of some Asian country?” It’s a thing of beauty.
This is such a cute article. While I can’t personally relate (my son is my twin) one of my best friends is black and her husband is white and her daughter has blonde hair and blue eyes and a peachy pink complexion. As her friend, I totally think her daughter looks like her despite the color but I have seen people ask her if she is the nanny and stuff and I know it bothers her a little. But her daughter has her personality and facial expressions 100% and I know it always helps when people can see that.
I love this article. I had to re-post to my Facebook account. A friend passed this on to me. This article rings true for me in so many ways. Like you, I have had these same questions asked of me about my daughter, Izzy’s(who is white and African-American) since her birth 13 1/2 years ago. I’ve also responded to the same questions in the same way as you. Even so much as starting to pull up my shirt to show my C-section scar. Over time you get a bit desensitized but can still bother me a bit when asked. Like the you said, “Don’t ask unless you’re 110% sure.” Izzy might not have my blonde hair (yes, my original hair color), my blue eyes or my skin tone, but she is mine and what she doesn’t have in outward appearance she has in personality, strength, drive, and passion.
I love this article. I have 4 kiddos and all 4 look like their dad. I am blonde, blue eyed and he is tan, brown eyed and black hair. My oldest has the most tan and I got asked the same questions all the time when he was younger. I thought my genetics might show up in one of them but not so much. But our combo did make for some beautiful babies:)
I’m the product of a mixed marriage, also. My mom is Korean and my dad is Irish/British. I was asked if I was adopted as a child. It was hurtful that someone would question my family or blood relation to anyone; it was a lot to ingest as a kid. I always felt loved and my parents never made me different. Until today, I’ve never thought about that question from a mother’s perspective. I think I’d be just as hurt and agree it should be a black-balled question.
I’m married to a Scots-Irish and we live in San Antonio. It’s like Mexico City, USA… and I do love it, but my mixed race often confuses people here. I’m Mexican by proxy (well, ok, family too.. my sister in law is Mexican). But still. It is seriously mind-blowing to folks that our daughter has “colored” eyes – as if it’s some freak genetics accident… forget that brown is also a color!
As long as your girls know you and your husband love them, that is all they need! You have understanding & support from all the way from South Texas!
This is a wonderful article! I am of Italian/German decent with blue eyes and wavy brown hair & my husband is 100% Korean. I have been asked if my son is my child or if I’m the nanny. And I know people have wanted to ask me if I’ve adopted him. It does hurt your feelings but it has made me a true momma bear in the process. The world is full of so many beautiful people and our mixed children have up’d the anti. Enjoy those beautiful girls and relish in the looks when you get to correct someone. 🙂
Thank you for your comment! It’s nice to know that others can relate. I admit, I was a bit shocked the first time someone asked “where she came from”. I forget sometimes that she doesn’t look like me! But it’s fun telling our story and explaining her heritage, especially because most people are genuinely interested. My daughters are beautiful, even if they look nothing like me, and I’m sure your children are too. Yay for hapas!
I’ve only gotten this type of question once – when my son was about 7 months old. A stranger walked up to me and said, “oh my he’s so cute, where did you get him from?” She immediately apologized and I personally thought it was hilarious. My kids are half mixed up Caucasian (mostly English) and half Kenyan. They both look like black eye, black hair, very tannd versions of me (I’m as white as white can be with Grey/blue/green eyes 😉 ). I think the thing that has caught me most off guard if how frequently I get stopped by black ladies who want to admire my baby or how often black men interact with both of my kids. Even when my husband sing with me 🙂 personally I love it but it was unexpected :). In Kenya biracial kids are called pointy kids – point 5 mom, point 5 dad 😉 I think the hardest thing for me is that my 5 year old son often asks why we aren’t the same color.?
Thank you for your comment! I’m definitely going to call my daughters pointy kids now! I’ve noticed that my daughter is definitely drawn Asian people. It’s a little confusing because my husband is Japanese, but born and raised in Brazil, so she always asks my Asian friends if they speak Portuguese:) She may have an identify crisis at some point! I have also learned to brush off the comments, and even joke about the fact that my husbands genes are much stronger than mine!
I once got did you kidnap her, lol, people have real nerve.
Oh no! That happened to my Indonesian friend’s husband. A cop stopped him and asked him questions because he suspected that he had kidnapped their son. But now, 14 years later, the son looks just like him.
My husband is full Japanese and I am Caucasian. Our children both look much more like him, although their skin is pretty pale like mine. No one ever tells me that they look like me. However we live in Hawaii so mixed race babies are very common and no one has ever asked me if they are adopted. Here we call half Asian half white babies, hapa babies (:
Hapa is one of my favorite terms! It’s such a fun word, and I often use it to describe them and educate people who ask about her ethnicity. When we went to San Francisco, no one batted an eyelash at me and my daughter because there are so many more mixed families there. I’m sure in Hawaii, beautiful hapas are everywhere. I hope to visit there someday!
My daughter is 50%white 50%black and 100% absolutely perfect! Although she doesn’t look anything like me (I’m very fair even though I’m from a family with dark hair and olive skin) our bond is undeniable. I do have people ask often “what is she” I’m not stunned anymore and I usually response with, oh her, she is mommy’s little princess. My mother travels with me often and their olive skin tone is a perfect match, who would of thought. My mother even carries around a picture of herself as a toddler because she is certain they look like twins. She might not have pale white skin like her mommy, but that’s my girl!
I love your response! I’m going to have to use that:) Thank you for sharing your story. I am much less quick to make assumptions now that I have a mixed daughter! Plus, mixed babies are the cutest, don’t you think??
Think of it as an opportunity to educate them!
Kids ask blunt questions often, and it is more curiosity of the world around them than malice.
And I’m sure your daughter’s eyes will be beautiful, no matter the color. 🙂 As your girls grow older, you’ll be more secure about them being biracial.
Best of luck to you in your mom-ing adventure! <3
Thank you for your comment! And I completely agree…it is a perfect opportunity to educate people and begin a conversation about interracial families. They are so lucky to be exposed to two amazing cultures, and I am proud of how they look, even if they look nothing like me! 🙂
The photo in this post grabbed my attention because I got excited to see another mixed-race family. Not to mention that sweet baby is gorgeous. After reading the post, I must admit I find it a titch ignorant.
Let me preface this by stating that I am adopted and a mother of two.
Reading this made me cringe. Resentment pours from this moms experience. My daughter looks nothing like me [Colombian adoptee] and looks exactly like my husband [Irish heritage]. I get asked all the time if I am the nanny. I am reminded everyday that she doesn’t resemble me. People are always curious about my girls. Ultimately, the only message I take to heart is that my children are beautiful, and our family story is special [just like everyone else’s]. Maybe I struggled with fertility for years, then labored with each of them for 36 hours…or maybe we spent years getting approved to adopt and then waited months to meet our children [like everyone else]. Regardless, we are a family and anyone who asks about how we came to be that way gets to learn about us. When I ask another parent about their children its because I want to share [whatever journey they had] with them. I hope the writer of this post considers a different perspective and maybe the next time someone asks if her kids are adopted, she will be flattered [by the possibility] and walkaway in silent wonderment.
I can somewhat relate. I’m Filipina and Chinese but I grew up in Texas, and my hubby is Scottish, German, Serbian, and Croatian. Before we had kids, we often wondered what they would look like since he has blond, curly hair and blue eyes and I’m pretty much the complete opposite. They are a mix of us, but both have dark hair and eyes. He’s gotten more looks and questions over the years so he’s used to it. But last summer, we were purchasing fireworks and a man asked him if our boys were adopted. I was irritated initially but I can appreciate that people are just curious.
In our family, we call them halfies. My cousin who is engaged to an Italian man says her future children will be “hybrids.” ?
Halfies is such a perfect word to describe our littles! I also like the term “hapas”. I don’t get nearly as bothered anymore when people ask questions. I’ve learned to laugh it off, especially since my daughters are so beautiful and lucky to be exposed to another culture.
As an adoptive parent, I think this blog post fairly offensive. Just because “She grew inside of me for nine grueling months. I birthed her and I nursed her for 12 months. She shares half my DNA” doesn’t put your role as a mother or your experience as one on a pedestal. Share your feelings, have your opinions, but to publish such a blog that poses getting asked “the question” as something so demeaning and offensive is something that Denver Metro Mom’s Blog should be embarrassed about.
Let me start by saying that I have an adopted sibling, a biological child, and my husband and I hope to adopt as well. I read this from the point of view of someone who has endured a physically tough pregnancy, dangerous delivery, and has scars (both physical and emotional) from pressuring myself to nurse for an entire year. I also read this as someone who holds the bringing together of families through adoption very near and dear to my heart.
In this mother’s experience, with her child, this is “the question” for their family. In other families, “the question” for mom could be if the children are her grandchildren because she is seen as an “older mom” or the question might be ignorant questions about physical or developmental differences. We all have pieces of our lives that are only our own, and strangers pushing themselves into your family and your experience can be very intrusive – especially when they ask things about our children right in front of them, which are usually none of their business.
Having said that, If you read the entire article, the author says that “the question” wasn’t offensive, “It takes a lot to offend me, and I could tell that she was just curious, so I told her that “no, she is my biological child who happens to be half-Japanese.”
She also goes on to say that she isn’t even bothered anymore when people do ask her about her daughter’s heritage – so I didn’t get the “demeaning and offensive” reaction from the writer you read in this post.
To me, this post was a lot more about people needing to think before they speak and not project their own curiosities about how a family is knit together than anything.
It also seems like this mom’s experience resonates with a lot of other biracial families and gives a voice to their experiences.
Maybe Denver Metro Moms Blog has a writer who is an adoptive parent who would be willing to share their story as well.
But the author DID offer to show someone their stretch marks, which doesn’t sound like a terribly polite answer, LOL.
I found the article a little off-putting as well. The assumption that people, as part of human nature, want their kids to look like them–I can’t really say that I feel that. I don’t really think of my one biological kid as my “flesh and blood”, and the two adopted kids as different–most of the time, I have to stop and remind myself which came which way.
So, someone says about my child: “Is she adopted?”. I’m not sure why the question would be more offensive for parents who didn’t adopt. It’s still people making assumptions about experiences, and sometimes people are incorrect.
I suppose I would think it would be odd, too, if someone who adopted a child that happened to look a lot like them was frustrated that everyone assumed they were biologically connected, and frustrated that people didn’t seem to understand that there had been weeks of waiting, and the uncertainties, and the intense joy that came from that process.
I agree with you 100%. I found this post extremely offensive to adoptive parents. My child is adopted and looks nothing like me despite being the same race. Giving birth does not make a person’s status as a parent more or less important than adoptive parents. I don’t think the author even realizes how offensive she sounds.
strangers aren’t entitled to answer’s to their questions. No one should be questioned.
It is interesting the things that people believe they have the “right” to say, and the things people just simply don’t think about when they speak. I am in the opposite situation. My Dad is actually my adoptive Dad. He and my biological father look nothing alike. However, as a child, we were constantly told that we looked alike. “Oh, you have your Dad’s eyes!” “Oh, I see how she takes after you!” And the best part? His response was always the same: “thank you!” I love that my biological daughter looks like me, and I love that I look like my non-biological Dad. It’s funny how that is ingrained in us, despite the actual necessity or meaning of it!
I love that people think you look like your adoptive dad…that must have made him feel good:) People often tell me that I look like my stepmom! I have come to accept the fact that my daughters will probably always look more like their dad, but I think you’re right….it’s absolutely human nature to want to see yourself in your children. Good thing my daughter acts just like me:)
I love that you wrote about this! I’m Vietnamese and my husband is a blend of Irish, German, etc. Our daughter is 90% me and about 10% him so he can definitely relate with you. Shortly after our daughter turned 2, I started a brand celebrating blended/mixed babies and families. It’s my passion project and I would love to send your daughters some of our shirts. http://www.loveisblend.com – email me at email@example.com
Thank you for your comment! Tell your husband I know how he feels:) I just spent some time over on your website, and I know my daughter would be proud to sport one of your shirts! I will send you an email. Thank you so much for the work you are doing!
Your post remind me of how I used to feel. My husband is from here and I am from El Salvador, our children look more than him than me. A few years ago, we were at the park and a parent asked me how much I charged to babysitt? Which I replied that they were my children, they just look more like their dad!!!
Oh my goodness! I’ve also been asked if I am my daughters’ nanny:) I’m so used to all the questions now that it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. It’s become an excellent conversation starter!
“And I know that adoptive parents love their children like their own”. Umm, no. Adoptive parents love their children because they ARE their children. This is a pretty offensive article–I understand the awkwardness with people asking if you adopted, but is it somehow more offensive if you are genetically connected with your child? So offensive that you asked someone if they’d like to see the “scars” that proved your child was from your womb. And, really, “So, even though physically she may not be my mini-me, she’s still undeniably my daughter, and for me, that’s enough to overshadow the fact that some people may stare at as at the library or the grocery store and assume that she’s not biologically mine.” Another news flash–people might see her in the grocery store, assume she’s not biologically yours, and STILL assume (and even realize by the way you interact) that she is “undeniably” your daughter. Food for thought, indeed.
lol In our family it’s the opposite, both of our daughters look like me:) Our daughters are mixed, too, so it’s my poor husband who gets the looks. He doesn’t care, though:) He is proud they look like Mommy, though he insists he added “cuteness” to them:)
That sounds like something my husband would say! Isn’t it funny how DNA works? It’s so fun to see how they turn out and how they continue to change as they get older.
I am a strawberry blond Irish and Swedish woman and my husband is Korean-American. Somehow our daughter ended up with brown, almond shaped eyes and curly BLONDE hair. Our son looks much more like my husband, but my genes must be strong, because he still doesn’t look that Asian. I’ve only had someone ask once if they were my children. Once someone stopped me and said they were exotic looking. Before we had children, I admit I was looking forward to people asking if they were adopted. For some reason, I thought it would be cool to surprise people with my explanation. After reading your article, I can see that it’s not as cool as I thought it would be!
Oh, I’m so jealous! I want to keep having babies until one of them gets my hair! 🙂 I think “exotic looking” is a compliment! I’m used to the question now, and you’re right, it is sometimes fun to explain our interesting background, especially since my husband is Japanese, but born and raised in Brazil!
Great post! I had a very similar experience on a plane with my half filapino daughter (I am blond and blue eyed as well!)… She is her dads twin, but I could not be more proud that she 100% has my personality. We now have a six month old son who looks much more German than filapinio and we joke that we have one for each of us. The mother-daughter bond is so strong no matter what is on the outside. These mixed families will be much more the norm for their generation – and the kids are too cute!
Thank you for your comment! I recently read an article that said in a few years, “hapas” will comprise most of our population! My younger daughter is starting to look more like me, so maybe we will have one of each, too!
I FEEL YOU! My 3 boys are all half Irish – Half Japanese (Well, Okinawan to be exact). (I’m the Irish) Their Bachan calls them Happa…but we live in Texas & that doesn’t mean anything here.
I am sure your girls are beautiful. My boys certainly are! brown eyes are my favorite.
Happa is one of my favorite terms of endearments for our littles! I love mixed babies, and think my girls are lucky to look like their dad. And the older Rory gets, the more I see myself in her…or maybe that’s just wishful thinking! 🙂 (And yes, Rory has beautiful brown eyes) <3
I am Korean and my husband is Greek. I thought my genes would trump his and our daughter would look more like me than him. I was completely wrong and just an oven. She is him in every physical way possible (except she has my nose). Just in case this happened, I told people when we got married that I was definitely going to take my husband’s last name. That way, people involved in our daughter’s life would know I AM HER MOTHER and not the hired “Chinese” nanny. At her daycare the rotating student teachers automatically assume I am the mother of the (only) Chinese girl in her class, instead of my daughter’s mother. Naturally, they are very embarrassed whenever the precious Chinese girl HERSELF tells them I am not her mother but my daughter’s mother. I just smirk at them and leave with my child. I totally understand. I just try to ignore it by laughing at their ignorance/stupidity. I have no doubt that your children are BEAUTIFUL!!!!
I love this! It’s so funny how people make assumptions based on a simple glance and stereotypes. I’m sure your daughter is beautiful and has more than just your nose:)
I grew up in a mixed household, and had a neighbor once exclaim very excitedly to my dad “oh I am getting a foreign exchange student too!”. Now my daughter looks more white than Asian, but as she’s grows up, she’s definitely taking on more of my physical and personality traits. So, it will change, and poo on those silly enough to think ask families look exactly alike!
Oh my goodness, I hope that your neighbor is a little more culturally-aware now! As my daughter grows, I see so much more of me in her, and I think that will continue. Plus, my youngest daughter has a lot more of my physical attributes, which is pretty exciting:)
Thank you for sharing your story. I have two beautiful mixed children too. I am Japanese and my husband is Black. I was told so many times that my children looked JUST LIKE my husband. It didn’t bother me too much in the begining, until it was too often. I did get the questions like “Are they yours?” and “Are you nanny?”. However, nobody, absolute nobody have asked me that if they were adopted. Isn’t it funny that the questions that you have received are completely based on those stereotype ideas?
I just hope oneday in the near future, the world becomes kind enough to accept any and all types of family dynamics.
By the way, Rory is so cute!
(What a cool name! My daughter’s middle name is Keiko.) Thank you for your sweet comment. Isn’t it interesting that so many people don’t think about the possibility of an interracial family when they see our children, even in 2016?! I’m used to the questions now, and love that my children look like their dad!
After reading this, I had to speak up. I had to speak up for my daughters. One of my sweet girls is adopted, and the other sweet one is biological. If my adopted daughter ever read this, or was confronted in public to your reaction to “the question,” I would be mortified. You have made it clear (and literally said) that this question offends you. You have made it sound that although “adoption is an amazing thing,” that is doesn’t compare or match up having a child with half your DNA. How would this make my daughter feel? Special, chosen, fought for (as we tell her daily)? No. Inferior, excluded, like she doesn’t belong? Sadly, yes. If my biological daughter was confronted with this, I can only hope that she would put up a fight for her sister. That just because they don’t share the same DNA, skin color or eyes, that she would claim her sister as 100% family. There is no superior way to make a family. Family can look a thousand different ways.
I’m not trying to stir things up or start a fight, I just wanted to make you aware of how your tone came across to adoptive families, and how it could hurt those who are adopted as well. Blood, DNA and looks do not make a family (or a superior family, for that matter). Love makes a family. That is what I hope my girls will cling to and understand as they grow up in this culture.
Food for thought. Thanks. 🙂
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize for offending you or if I in any way insinuated that I believe adopted families are inferior. I did not say that I was offended by the question. I said that “it takes a lot to offend me and I could tell that she was just curious”, meaning I wasn’t offended, just shocked by her question. It is not the fact that people think she is adopted that offends me. (I having nothing at all against adoption and truly do believe it is a wonderful thing), I find it a bit ignorant that people assume she is adopted simply because she doesn’t look like me. My frustration stems from the fact that people (strangers!) are constantly telling me that my daughter looks nothing like me and wonder “where she came from”. I often get asked if I’m the nanny, and although this can be bothersome, it does not mean that I’m against nannies in any way. I also have a friend with twins who is often asked if they are the result of fertility treatments. This does not offend,her and she has nothing against twins who are conceived this way, but it does become quite tiresome. I was simply writing about my experience as a mother of a mixed child and the frustration that comes from people making unnecessary assumptions.
Thanks for this comment. You summed up my thoughts exactly.
I WISH someone would ask me if I were the nanny! I’d love to look in my early 20s! 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this, Julie. As an adoptive mom, I felt the exact same way reading this post, but wasn’t going to take the time to reply and explain why it left a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I just prayed my beautiful daughter who looks nothing like me would never have to read it. So thanks for kindly putting into words another perspective.
My nose started to burn when I read your post. Thank you. I am adopted and this post brought up a lot for me.
Yes, I absolutly agree with you, the way her tone came off in the blog was a bit insulting about someone asking if her kid was adopted. Also, as a bi racial person, I’m a little baffled that she was that upset about her kid not having blonde hair, I mean really, you got with a non Caucasian person, and were suprised that your kid didn’t turn out Caucasian.
I totally agree with you. I am one of the oldest adoptive children that I know of that has come from Korea. I just turned 39 this year. Having grown up in an era where adoption was not as common as it is now I took great offense to this article. Luckily as the oldest of three children and the only one adopted I always knew how special and lucky I was to have been adopted. Growing up I was always asked and looked at by strangers as if I was the foreign exchange student or even asked if I spoke English. Instead of taking offense my mother always replied with pride that I was her daughter. Growing up people would often ask me where my mom and dad were. In the beginning I wouldn’t fully understand the origin of the question and I would answer innocently that they were home. Luckily for me I was blessed to have been raised in an enviornment that celebrates differences and acceptance. It was a non issue that strangers were curious or sometimes ignorant. If I took offense to strangers ignorance over the years then that was on me. Luckily I was raised in a family that never thought twice about the fact that I didn’t genetically look like the other four members of my family. I may not have the blond hair or blue eyes or the physical traits of my adoptive parents but that doesn’t mean I haven’t inherited specific traits like my mom and grandmas laugh or my grandmas tendencies to throw any clutter away without a blink of an eye. I also may not technically be blood related but no one can deny the uncanny mannerisms that I have in common with my mom, aunt or dad. Blood does not make a person connected as does having the same eye color or hair. You said it perfectly when you said love is what makes family.
being a mother of three I can not relate to this blog post or understand how this article does not offend more people?!?!
As the future mother of a biracial child I would like to say that I did not find this article offensive at all. If anything I take offense to the adopted people making it all about them. I have many friends who have biracial children and are going through the same thing. There is a weird feeling if you are the parent of a child that might not look at all like you- especially if they look completely like another race. My husband is super blond with blue eyes and I often wonder how he’ll feel if our babies look completely different. Everyone thinks about how their features are going to show up in their children – that’s only natural. It is also EXTREMELY offensive for someone to ask if your child is adopted just because they make look more like the other parent. In this day and age with so many interracial and intercultural relationships I can’t believe it is still being asked.
That’s not meant to insult adopted people but it is an insult to biracial people for anyone to assume they are adopted. Also your child is not so ethnic looking that she couldn’t possibly be yours – which is another thing that bothers me (and much of the interracial community) you would think people had never seen a biracial child before – their features can be all over the map. That’s how genetics work.
If a person who is adopted can’t understand how this is offensive for interracial couples specifically that’s really too bad. No one is saying it’s terrible to be adopted but when biracial children constantly have to hear this ignorant question and defend the fact that the person who they may not look like is infact their parent it is damaging to their psyche. It makes them feel weird and out of place because they have to deal with the fact that other people are uncomfortable with their skin and features. Its just a completely different situation than when you’re adopted. We have other challenges we’re dealing with.
And yes with the way the world is going nowadays you never know and the question should be right up there with are you pregnant. You can’t possibly tell if a child is adopted just by looking at them. Who knows what their family dynamic is.
Lindsey thanks for sharing your story and experience! I know it can be hard to share some of the more intimate and human parts of being parents. I just wanted to offer some feedback or food for thought. As a friend of adult adoptees as well as a friend to adoptive parents with a transracial adoption, I have to say that in general it sounded as if it was offensive to you that someone would assume your daughters were adopted, as if being adopted is less or not as real as your experience. I’m certain this wasn’t your intention but I thought it might be helpful to hear that you may be unknowingly offending adoptive families by using some of the language that you did.
Thanks again for your vulnerability and willingness to share.
Your words really resonate with me as my family looks quite like yours. I have been asked THE question a number of times in addition to “Are you their nanny?” Most of the time I forget that my children don’t look like me (actually, I think I forget that I’m NOT Asian) until I catch someone staring at us for long periods of time. Thanks for sharing your story – there are real feelings involved here!
Thank you for your response! I love that my babies are mixed, but it always catches me off guard when people assume that they aren’t mine. Because to me, they so obviously are my daughters! And yes, I agree, I sometimes forget that we look so different, too! I’m glad you were able to relate.
Even if they were adopted, they would still be “yours.”
Exactly! I went through a hell of a lot to bring my daughter home. I would not expect someone who hasn’t adopted a child to be able to comprehend the bond we have. I can only hope my child doesn’t encounter people with this mindset.
You’re an amazing Mom and a talented writer – so proud to see your smiling face and byline! Having had the privilege of working with you as a K teacher I can also say that your dignity and intelligence shine through every word – what a great example you are setting for young mothers. Keep up the great work Linds!
So crazy what people will say! The girls are very lucky to have you-