Discussions of race are interesting in our multi-racial family. We’ve always treated the girls’ adoption from China very matter-of-factly, talking about it with them from well before they could possibly understand what that meant. It was nice not to have the stress of deciding when and how to share their adoption with them. It was a no-brainer–they were going to figure out we didn’t “match” sooner versus later.
We’ve always focused on our similarities, knowing the world would focus on our differences. The girls revel in the fact that I’m the “outsider” in the family, the only one with green eyes. They share their brown eyes with their dad, brother, and even the family dogs. They share many favorite foods with me, except for chocolate chip cookies which are dad’s favorite. And one of them smiles exactly like her father, just like it’s meant to be.
As they’ve matured, it’s been enlightening to hear their perspectives on racism. They’re against it, of course, having been called slant-eyes, and probably always feeling a little different, living in communities which are 90% Caucasian. I remember sitting at the kitchen table when Claire was about five. Talking about herself and her sister, she said “You know Mom, we’re Chinese, but we don’t look Chinese!” Amused, I asked her “Sweetie, what do you look like?” But she was too young to know how to answer. I’ve always hoped that what she meant was that we’d been successful making her feel included.
Recently Megan–in all of her 14-year-old wisdom–said during a discussion of other cultures, that while “everything’s different, it’s all still the same.” She was born into one culture, but raised in another. She knows that in every way that matters, she and her sister are the same as everyone here, though only through a twist of fate that they didn’t choose. At a tender age, she inherently knows what I wish all people could understand…that a person is a person, no matter their color, or their customs, or their costume. I am counting on her and her sister, through their perspectives, to help change the world’s.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” –Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears A Who