Friday, November 4, 2011

Neat experience

Anyone who adopted transracially can probably vouch for me in saying that out in public you get the full gamut of stares and questions. In our case, people seems to stare more than ask direct questions. If Hubby and I are out together with Lovebug we usually will see people smiling at Lovebug and then looking at me and then looking at Hubby.. and then back to Lovebug...then back to me...back to Hubby and so on. The smile usually fades into a "How did that black hair happen?" look since Hubby and I are both blond with blue eyes. We just chuckle and move on leaving them to ponder the great unknown.

The other day Lovebug and I were at the grocery store together and while we were checking out this nice young bag girl was commenting at how beautiful Lovebug is. I started to see the wheels turning and soon the question came out:

"Um, so is your husband.. um, Chi. Um, Jap.. uhhhhhh. Well, I don't know what she is..."

I of course smiled and said she's half Filipino and in the 15 seconds it took for those words to come out I had the great debate in my head.

How much am I going to share with this stranger?

I've really gotten into the habit of just saying yes and moving on, but part of me really hates that and really how long can it continue? I mean eventually Lovebug is going to internalize that as me being ashamed of her coming to our family through adoption (Which I'm not) or she's going to blurt out in confusion "No, my Daddy has blonde hair! I got my black hair from my birthfather!" But, every time the question arises I stumble with what to say.

Anyways back to the original point. It seems that most people can't pin point what ethnicity Lovebug is. We've been asked if she's Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese among a few others.  Well the other day we were at the post office and a sweet lady was in front of us in line. I noticed off the bat the she had Filipino features. She saw Isla and smiled really big at her and then looked at me and smiled and then back to Lovebug again. After only a few seconds she said "She looks like she has Filipino in her." I then smiled really big back and said "Yes! She's half Filipino!" And her response was "Yeah, I can really tell! I'm Filipino too!". We talked a little more and as she paid for her postage, she made sure to look back at us and smile and wave before leaving.

You know, I don't know exactly why, but I left there feeling so good for Lovebug. The fact that someone from the same ethnic background could so easily see her Filipino characteristics just felt good. I want to keep that side of her alive and prevalent. I want her to be proud of where her ancestors came from and feel a part of that side of her and I guess just hearing someone else validate it was just a neat experience!

1 comment:

  1. We are not a transracial family but we have been in your shoes. Our sweet baby has red hair and bright blue husband has brown hair and brown eyes and I have blonde hair and green eyes. We frequently hear....where does she get her red hair?? Yes, we could (maybe should) use this as an opportunity to advocate for adoption (open adoption)and educate people but we frequently use the phrase, "the red hair runs in our family." Sweet baby girl's birthfamily is NOW part of our family.