Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Don't You Look Like Your Brother?

My cousin adopted her daughter from foster care about 7 years ago. When the little girl was in preschool, another child asked her why she didn't look like her mom and sister. My cousin then told her she was adopted.

Jacob has always known he was adopted and we talk openly about how we are different. We have discussed everything from how our eyes are the same color to the different skin colors and tones and why he uses olive oil in his hair while M needs special lotions. We don't really discuss it in terms of race but rather just in the way people are different. Of course, there are times when we discuss race but it is not nearly as often as just why we are different and how we are different.

While attending a reunion with other families in our Ehtiopian travel group, I was reminded of the conversation my cousin had with her daughter a few years ago. While Jacob goes to a very diverse daycare, most of the kids look like their siblings and only a few come from multi-racial families and backgrounds.

On the way home, I decided to ask Jacob about this. Here is the conversation we had.

Mommy: Jacob, do kids at school ever ask you why you don't look like M?

Jacob: Yes. Sometimes.

Mommy: What do you tell them?

Jacob: What?

Mommy: What do you tell the kids when they ask why you don't look like your brother?

Jacob: Because I'm Jacob.

Mommy: Oh. So you tell them you look like Jacob and that's why you don't look like M.

Jacob: Yes.

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