Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do I Have Something On My Face?

We were having a fantastic family day out recently when it suddenly occurred to me that I was getting a few double takes and head tilts from those who happened to look in my direction.

Could it be they recognize me from my ten seconds on Good Day LA?

Nah, that's not it.

Maybe videos I've done on momlogic: car seat safety? drinking on playdates? spanking?
parenting teens? nannies gone wild? throwing a simple party?

Nope. Nope. And definitely nope.

Oooh, maybe my blog has become this overnight success and I'm finally about to break into the stay-at-home-and-make-enough-to-support-my-family world!

Uh, not quite.

It didn't take me long to discover that people weren't staring at me because they might know me, it's because my daughter is Asian.

Oh right, I forgot!

I joke but it's true -- It actually exits my mind that she would be seen as different from her practically translucent, freckly, reddish-haired mama. She's just such a part of us now that her physical appearance is less of what I notice, and more of who she is has taken it's place. Ask her brothers how she's different and they'll look at you like you have two heads. In fact, I thought I would play the whole 'everyone is special' game with the boys tonight after reading their bedtime stories. My creative way of addressing it was flipped on its head when my four-year-old pointed out if was me who was distinct in our family -- uh mom, no one else has blue eyes.

You can't argue that one.

So while it might take a little while to adjust to this newfound attention, I totally get it. Because I think most of us (definitely more than maybe some care to admit) take notice when we see situations that aren't the usual. I can live with that.

Just be warned, I may stare back.


Unknown said...

I liked the No Dummy I'm Asian but I wouldn't really say it. I'd think it believe me but I wouldn't say it.

We get stares too with our pale Scottish Irish family and out tiny little Asian girl. Pfft. Whatever.

Kristy Hall said...

When my caucasian friend and his equally caucasian wife are with their adopted African-American son, he always replies "I certainly hope so" and leaves it at that.

I can't help but smirk to think of the inquirer's expression when they realize that they could have unwittingly stepped into a potential Jerry Springer-esque paterntiy situation. Hopefully they learn a lesson - never ask a woman if she's pregnant and never ask who a baby's mother or father is...

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...

LOL I love the position crack though would never be brave enough to use it! :) She is beautiful and she is part of you! I understand. NOONE ever seems to know or believe Noah is mine :( at best they think he is Celeste's and she is married military (we live close to base). I have the fact I am OLD and not asian added together :( hurts alot at times but maybe that is just me!

Noah's mama

Expecting Good Things said...

It's funny you wrote about this. I was just saying the other day how many stares we get. ie: Me, a blonde girl holding an asian little girl. I try to smile at the people staring but I admit it does get to me at times. The funny thing is if I'm with my dark haired non-asian sister, people assume Breelyn is hers. Even if I'm totally holding and caring for her. Eh, whatever. I can't wait until people hear her say "Hey, mom!". Ohhhh, the double takes with that one... :0)

Ramona said...

I think I get more stares when I'm with my blue-eyed blonde haired bio son than I do with my Taiwanese daughter.

Ramona said...

Why I click Publish when I'm not done is beyond me. Maybe it's my exclamation point. Anyhoo, I love your attitude about this issue. Like you, I've never been offended by people staring - maybe because I grew up with it having a mom that looks like my bio son. People always asked her where she adopted her half asian children from.

momwithfaithandhope said...

I sort of wish I got some stares and questions about adoption. . .Weird??? I'm just as guilty of "spotting" IA children by physical appearance. If we engage in conversation or make eye contact, I love to tell Gracyn's story. I've been told Gracyn looks like me, which she does NOT, but hey, I'll take it - she's adorable! I'm honest and say I can't take any credit, she was born in Taiwan, and came home this year. It'll be very interesting when we go to DL - let's see if we get stares and questions. Once they hear Gracyn is adopted, it's always assumed that Peyton is too. I think Ramona's comment is funny! I was thinking the same thing for her - I'd question Mikey before Jaden! Great post - And afterall, Jackie, I bet there are people who WOULD recognize you from blogging and MomLogic. You are that "followed"!

Anonymous said...

you're not asian?

Anonymous said...

I voted for other.
When asked if she was addopted,
I would respond with;


Anonymous said...

I think that's ridiculous. Sure, it can be natural to just notice that she is adopted but not stare. My friend is black and her daughter is half black/white. She has been asked often if she's the nanny. Just ignorant, especially in our culture today.

Rants & Raves in Seattle said...

Well my response is a little different. I do not have an adopted child but think about adoption every day. So when I see parents with children who do not physically match them I do look. I want to ask questions about their decisions, experiences etc. But I do not engage in that in front of the children.

I just wanted to say that stares could be from someone like me. Someone who thinks about adoption and admires those of you who did it.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think I would choose to believe they are staring because they see an exceptionally beautiful mother and daughter. Even if it isn't why they're staring, it's true.

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old daughter who is half white (me) and half black (dad) has sparked dozens and dozens of lovely interchanges with complete strangers such as:

IDIOT: Wow, is her hair naturally curly like that?
ME: No, I gave my three year old a perm.

IDIOT: Wow, she's absolutely gorgeous. Who does she look like?
ME: (LAUGHING) Thank you.

IDIOT: She's so exotic. Where did you get her?
ME: From my vagina.

Bottom line, people are idiots.

Sarah said...

I've so wanted to ask people what position they were in when they conceived their children... but I don't have the nerve.

Wendy M., I'm laughing my ass off at this comment! "IDIOT: She's so exotic. Where did you get her?
ME: From my vagina."

RP Mom said...

I really do not like some people!! But I REALLY REALLY REALLY love the picture of you and Lucy!!!! HUGS! I think that they are just jealous that you have a family that loves each other so much and it shows when you are all together!

Jeri said...

We just got back from dinner at our fav local dive. The staff is completely used to us, we're a small town, they know what we order, etc. There is a table without fail where 3-6 women sit, various ages of 60+ I would guess, and without fail they always stare at us when we walk in. No exception tonight. Though now they smile and there's a friendly exchange.

But when we go anywhere, we are so used to the stares. Sometimes it's because I go shopping with 4 kids by myself. Sometimes I'm sure it's because we have 3 small Asian kids. My 11yo son notices faster than I do when people stare and openly stares back. A few times he's said out loud "it's rude to stare" as we walk past someone. I ride the fence between putting someone in their place because it gets old and being disrespectful to adults. More often than not though I will tell him to look away and then I will stare straight back when it's much more than a glance. Especially if they're not smiling. Grrr. The mama bear emerges because I think how dare you make my child, or anyones CHILD feel different. Grow up and get a life.

I'm always willing to answer questions if someone is really considering it. Or if someone has a comment that's appropriate. I absolutely HATE being told 'you did a good thing' or 'what lucky children you have' or anything along those lines. I'm lucky that God gave me such beautiful children. But adoption doesn't make me a good person, I didn't set out to save the world, and my children didn't win the prize of a parent by being adoption.

I'm guessing that's more than you were wanting!

Sarah k said...

Been there done that. BUT honestly we get it worse when Hubby is around. I am Cherokee Indian and Yugoslavic, so I naturally have high cheek bones, dark hair, and olive skin. When alone with Jer, I don't get it as much because most think he looks like me. I have a picture of me when I was his age and we look alot alike.. BUT enters my 6foot Blond German man and all the eyes turn our direction. Now there is NO WAY That Jer is You get use to it. I haven't noticed it for a long long time now. When Jo gets home it could be different though because he is darker than Jer. Who knows.

Sarah k

Paula Perry said...

i'm in the same boat, i forget that she doesn't look like me, until someone else points it out. really i do forget.

Observer of Life said...

Please don't be offended when people look at you or your child. I love children, and often wish I could have had more than the two that were born to me. I'm beyond the age to adopt, so know there won't be more for me to raise. But I totally admire the families that have taken that step, and can't help but look! And when I see these beautiful children that don't look like their parents, I'd love to hear their stories. But not knowing the people, would be hesitant to speak, knowing that some might take offense at my questions that were just meant to be friendly. Some adoptive families love for others to talk to them, and others don't. It's hard for us to know which are which!

JackieMacD said...

Thanks for all the great comments! Observer of Life, I feel it's important to point out, I don't mind talking about adoption and our experience. I could talk about it all day. It's when I feel like my kids are uncomfortable or it's pointed out to them that Lucy is different. We talk about it honestly and don't hide it, but I would never want Lucy OR my boys to begin to reject going out as a family because people feel the need to stare or say things in front of them.

If I'm out of ear shot of my kids, fine. I would be happy to talk with anyone who has sincere questions.

Miss Sweet Tea said...

Ha Ha Ha, this post made me laugh out loud! Seriously! I am from South Korea, adopted when I was 12 hours old. My mom and I have dealt with this my ENTIRE life! It's mostly humorous, but can be quite annoying and ignorant as well. As I've gotten older I realize it definitely bothers me more than my mom. If we go out to eat, I get so angry when the server asks if we want one check or separate. I think I've actually yelled at a server before for asking this!

When I was about a year old my mom and I were at the grocery store. She had me in the cart and the bag boy was pushing it to the car. He actually asked my mom, "is this one of them foreign exchange students?" I mean really??! Granted, this was in Georgia and there weren't many Asians at the time (mid-80's), but still, get real.

Anyway, it'll happen A LOT and it gets so old, but I wouldn't trade it for having a family I look like. My family is a blessing from God! Have a great day! xoxo