biracial.

If you don’t know or haven’t noticed our youngest son Deacon is biracial.  His first mom is white and his first dad is black.  He has beautiful brown skin and great curly hair.  I know I’m biased because I’m his mom, but I must say he is beautiful.

Today I had a weird moment at Chick-fil-A.  A man sat down beside me in the kiddie play area and we said our cordial hello’s and I went back to half-way reading my new book and half-way watching the kids.  For some reason I wasn’t in the mood to chat, so I read my book, looked up every few sentences for the kids and minded my own business.

Deacon ran over to me for a drink and when he left the man looked at me and our short conversation went something like this:

Man:  He is beautiful.

Me:  Thanks.

Man:  I always tell my mom that if I ever have another child I want them to be biracial.

Me:  Oh really.

Man:  Yes they are the most beautiful kids.  There’s just something about them.

Me:  Um.  Yeah.  Okay.

Is that a weird conversation to have with a man you’ve never met at the Chick-fil-A play ground?  I am not one to be offended when people ooh and goo over Deacon’s skin, hair and such.  It doesn’t bother me, because he is beautiful.  It only bothers me when people do that as they pass by my not adopted, white, four year old child.  Then it bothers me.  I want both of my children to get attention for how they were created by God.

Okay back to the weird man in Chick-fil-A.  Should this have bothered me?  What do you think?

I know I’m guilty of this.  I think Ethiopian children have the most beautiful faces and cheek bones.  I think Guatemalan girls have a look in their eyes that is captivating.  I think the Haitian children have beautiful skin and a great look in their eyes.  I think Chinese girls have lovely round faces and great hair.  You see what I mean?  We’re all guilty of this.  When is it overstepping the boundaries?  What is stereotyping and what is just plain adoration and curiosity.  I also wonder would we have these same feelings about these children if they lived next door to us with their Chinese parents, Haitian parents, Guatemalan parents, Ethiopian parents, etc., or is it easier to be intrigued by them because they live with white parents?

Tell me your thoughts.

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16 responses to “biracial.

  1. Don’t know about other cultures, but people gawk over our kids all the time. I know they’re beautiful b/c they are mine 🙂 I think that if these children lived with their 1st parents, people would still comment on how beautiful they are. BTW, I think Cayden rocks, too.

  2. Thanks Kirsten. I value your opinion since both your children are bio and biracial.

    I agree with you – I know Deacon is beautiful and if he were with his first parents people would still say that!

    I’m for sure not offended by people saying this though. I only hate it when people say it and then never even look at our bio child.

  3. I am writing without reading anyone else’s comments because I want this to be about how I feel. I have ALWAYS been intrigued by other ethicities. They are beautiful. Their skin, their hair, everything. I also love white children, obviously…but there is something about another ethnicity. I am not sure I would could put a limit on who I am talking about, I just think different ethnicities have interesting features I will never have so it makes me interested. I find people with different accents pretty intriguing too. I love to see both of your children, they are both amazing and adorable on so many levels. I hear where you are coming from and I appreciate what you are saying…I pray I open my head and my heart before my mouth!

  4. I am also guilty of seeing biracial and multiracial children as uniquely beautiful. I always thought I would birth a biracial baby since I thought I would marry by first boyfriend who is black. So maybe that is part of my thinking.

    Anyway, I think that when children of color are adopted transracially (although I’m not sure that this guy thought that in your case), the general public automatically thinks your family is free game. You will get SO many more comments once Amos and Story come home. I get more comments about our baby, and I think it is because he has a lighter brown coloring…lighter being closer to white and therefore more desirable. I don’t think that there is going to be a way to avoid people making judgemental complements towards one child over the other. You are just going to have to think of a way to respond that honors all of your children’s beauty. Just saying something like you wrote above, “I love that God created my children all so different yet uniquely beautiful.” or “I think all of my kids are absolutely beautiful, but I know I am probably biased.” should let someone know that you are not interested in discussing beauty based on your children’s individual racial characteristics.

    It will be interested to see how the comments change as our boys get older. There are a lot of people that think black babies are the cutest babies on earth, but they will eventually turn into black adults. It is no secret that black men are not viewed as positively as white men. All this to say the tables my turn when your boys are in middle school, and you may feel like Deacon is getting less positive attention.

  5. Thanks Tamara … and by the way Cayden prayed for you at dinner last night!

    Amie – You are so right about black babies and black men. They are two different things. I have a lady at work that I have heard openly talk bad about black people. This offends me greatly b/c I have a black child and hopefully very soon two more, and one day I will have two black teenager boys. Then what?

    I always think about how everyone thinks my boys are so cute and precious. BUT what would that same person think about them if they wanted to take their daughter to the prom? This is always on my mind!

    I know one thing. I love all my kids exactly the same, no matter what color they are and I pray that as they get older other people do too!

    OH yeah you are right too, this man at CFA had no way of knowing he was adopted. FOr all he knows my kids just have two different dad’s.

  6. Not defending a total stranger or anything, but maybe he was just curious about adoption. Since he said, “if I ever have another child I want them to be biracial,” maybe his first child is adopted and he sensed a kindred parental spirit. Maybe he was trying to get you to talk about other people’s reactions to your raising a biracial child because he’s dating someone who is not the same race he is. Or maybe he was trying to get you to talk about your boys’ different daddies. 🙂 Or maybe he was putting some moves on you because, babe, Deacon and Cayden have a H-O-T mommy!

    Whatever his reasons, if you felt a weird vibe from him I’m sure it was justified. All four of your children are beautiful, wonderful creations of God and it’s perfectly normal to get your “mommy dander” up if you feel one of your kids is being slighted. I do that with my kids all the time.

    I LOVE the two of your kids I already know and I can’t wait to meet the other two. You and Aaron are awesome parents.

  7. Our daughters are only 16 months apart, and we have experienced this since the moment our second daughter arrived. Even as a little baby she had a full head of curly black hair and the biggest dark eyes, and she received much more attention. Then our son came along, and he is practically a celebrity, at least here in Chile. It does concern me for my first daughter, because she regularly asks, “Why do people like Owen so much?” … out of curiosity now, but being that she already has a tendency towards insecurity I worry that she feels hurt by always being overlooked.

    For our part, I do think that people feel like we are “free game” for comments as an adoptive family.

  8. I too think about the dating thing alot. I think that I am going to require that we meet the parents of the girls they are interested in (especially the white girls), before they go out on big dates. Like I want for us all to sit down to dinner at our house (us, my son, the girl, and the girl’s parents). I think a lot of racial prejudice is based on lack of exposure and ignorance, and I would like to handle the situation up front before the major drama begins. I am sure my boys will hate me, but I feel like we would need to do this to protect them and support them. I think this is a good idea regardless of race, because then at least the parents on both sides have open communication and a way to discuss what their expectations are for their child’s behavior.

  9. Hi Jamie,

    Have you heard the song by Britt Nicole, Set the World on Fire? Give it a listen.

    It will take baby steps to change the world…but, I believe it is changing….you lead by enlightening….by living your life.

    I think your WHOLE family is beautiful!!!!

    Hugs to you and your whole family:)
    Diane

  10. We have the same feelings you have about this Jamie. We KNOW Rosa Grace is BEAUTIFUL! Everywhere we go, people are sure to tell us. I usually just smile and say thank you. But I wonder…are they saying that because she’s different?

    Like another commenter said, we are drawn to what is different. As a teen, my hair was straight as a board. I thought curly hair was the most beautiful hair in the world. I wanted a perm. Now…my hair is crazy curly on its own and I think straight hair is the way to go! See? Its never being satifised with what we have.

    I think that plays a lot into peoples comments. Our kids are different. Therefore, there is a need to comment about it. That’s fine. I don’t mind…usually. But here is my worry.

    I don’t want Rosa growing up always thinking about her outward appearances. I want her to be beautiful inside and out. As she grows, I want people to see past her prettiness and notice what I notice. She is more than pretty brown skin and curly brown hair and big brown eyes! She is an AMAZING miracle of God and I want everyone to see that through her!

    So…yes….I completely understand how you feel. I also worry about my next child. Will people comment on his/her looks? What if my next child is not as “pretty” as Rosa in the ways the world defines beauty? Will I have to worry that Rosa will always take the attention? All people are beautiful because God handcrafted each of us to be who we are. Thats what the rest of the world needs to realize.

  11. i hear you. i think though thar our children hve characteristics that are simply striking. I see it with our 3 girls, all biological and all very different. Most folks comment on syds green eyes and say how beautiful she is….and Riley is standing beside her and gets the obligitory, “you’re cute too.” Then there are times when some people comment on Ri cause her eyes are soo soo dark and mysterious and her dark curly hair is so pretty. And as Kins gets bigger and people see she has tan skin and dark hair and bright blue eyes, she’ll get comments when the others won’t. I try to remind my girls that their eyes and hair and skin are not what make them beautiful.

    Of course you don’t want one or the other to feel like they are not noticed or worthy of attention, but I don’t think the comments of strangers will dictate that. I think they will feel absolutely loved and valued because of the way you are Aaron love them and instill their value.

  12. Maybe it’s stereotyping/racist when you refuse to see the beauty in all people, not when you notice a genetic feature that’s stronger in a certain race.

  13. Jamie,
    Well, first I have to say that I am so guilty of thinking that the biracial children that I know really are beautiful children (although I don’t know many children period that are not beautiful!!!) but I have said those very words “I think biracial children are so beautiful.” Is it stereotyping? Well if you define that as giving a certain characteristic to an entire group of people then it obviously is. When I say it, it is from a genuine place of admiration and it is the truth of the friends we know, but do I know every biracial person in the world so that saying that would be true-NO!!! ouch! I don’t get offended by “I think asian children are beautiful” but I do get offended by “she is so smart, all asian people are smart” So for me I guess it is what is being said that tells me if it is true admiration or stereotyping. Although after writing that, I would rather them see Ellie as beautiful because she is Ellie not because she is asian. She is a beautiful “image bearer”! As for the “not saying anything to your white, non adopted child” I really struggle with that often. It is very hard for me as a Mom and my response is always “yes, I have THREE beautiful children!” after someone gives Ellie a compliment without even noticing I have two other children with me. It is more difficult for Gates than Finn. She even said to me several days ago “Everyone really likes Ellie cause she is little and cute.” Partly a statement and partly a question. It is something I take to God often especially as they grow older. I don’t want Ellie to begin to take pride in all the attention, but I don’t want to take anything away either-it is a slippery slope and I am so thankful God is in control. A mothers heart will always be tender to the things of her children!

  14. Both of your boys are beautiful. People say weird stuff all of the time. UGG.

    I love your blog!

  15. I just happened upon your site but was drawn by this post. We just adopted a biracial child who is now 15 months old. He spent the first 14 months of his life in the hospital and has some medical issues we are trying to overcome . He is absolutely beautiful. I think God has created so many things in the world that are beautiful, and people are just one of them. I say we take the opportunity to enjoy and admire all the diversity He has created.

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