“We Don’t Look Chinese”


One day, when Claire was about five, she and I were sitting talking at the kitchen table.  I’ve lost track of how the conversation started, but it ended with Claire saying, “You know, we’re Chinese…” (she and her sister) “…but we don’t look Chinese.” I tried my best to hide a smile and asked her, “Sweetie, what do you look like?”. My question confused her…she couldn’t answer. I’ve always wondered what she was thinking when she said that, because, obviously, she and her sister do look Chinese. I’ve hoped that what she meant was that she didn’t feel different, that she felt like she fit in.

Before we brought the girls home, we wondered what journey they would face as Asians living in a Caucasian family in America. We knew they might face discrimination, and they have…both facing the famous “slant eye” gesture from fellow kindergarteners on the school bus. Kids sometimes make insensitive comments about adoption (then again, so do some adults). But most people have been wonderful and accepting of our daughters and our family…it’s been pretty smooth, all in all. We do all fit each other. We all look like McCleary’s.

“You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  –Desmond Tutu


About Kelly J. McCleary

Wife and mother of three, author, financial professional View all posts by Kelly J. McCleary

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