"Mommy, When You Adopt Me, Will Your Skin Turn Tan Like Me?"
"Mommy, when you adopt me, will your skin turn tan like me?"
My heart stopped as I looked into my son's beautiful brown eyes, as he expectantly awaited an answer from me. All the preparation in the world could not prepare me for taking his little hand in mine and trying to explain to him that no, we do not look the same, but we are family bonded at the heart. That his culture is one I am proud to be a part of. That he is special and gorgeous and unique just the way he is.
Series of various hands representing diversity via Shutterstock.
My patient-beyond-his-age 3-year-old then threw his arms around my neck and said, "I just wanted to be like my mama. We're together forever and I'm your son." I hugged him so tight and had to fight back tears.
I realized at that moment (and I've had many of these huge moments over the past couple months as a new mom) that my little boy didn't need a big explanation from me. He didn't need reasons. He needed connection and assurance of love.
While there are many unique blessings and challenges that come with being a transracial family, the first is being fully comfortable with it yourself. My husband and I welcomed this idea before meeting our beautiful boys. However, I hadn't thought much about the process their minds and hearts would go through while attaching to us.
It's been two months together as a family. My youngest still jokes with me that I look like Snow White. My 5-year-old says he likes my hair when I dye it darker to "match him." But as they connect -- as they laugh, as they smile -- they begin to accept love and begin the process of attachment. Every day, both of my sons tell my husband and I multiple times, "You are my family." It is my joy to hug them back and say, "Forever, sweet boy. You're our family."
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