Before we brought the kids home, I did lots of reading on transracial families and one great book called “I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla” that talked about how kids see skin color.
We are fortunate to live in an extremely diverse area. I’ve heard all kinds of stories from adoptive parents related to their children’s skin color – weird questions from people in supermarkets, etc. I have yet to experience it. I think we probably get a few extra looks, but honestly I’m so focused on keeping four children in line that I don’t have time to look at people who might be looking at me.
The other day, however, I took the kids to the little neighborhood park. There was a boy there from Noah’s second grade class that he hadn’t seen in awhile (since we switched schools this year).
Wendemagegn was kind of riding his bike around while the boys hit a tennis ball back and forth. After a few interactions I think Noah’s friend finally realized we were all together.
“Who’s that?” he asked.
“That’s my brother?” Noah answered.
“Your brother’s black?” the kid asked.
Oh, did my ears perk up at this. I was so curious to see what Noah was going to say. I hadn’t really talked with the kids about questions they might get – choosing to go the “let’s not make a big deal out of it until we have to” route.
“Um, yeah. (with a “duh” tone of voice) He’s from Africa. Remember we adopted them.”
(We had started the process while Noah was at his old school.)
“Oh” the kids said.
And that was that.