The Man With The Brown Face

December 13, 2011 emme1
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As a multi-cultural family, we have chosen to be at the frontline when it comes to racial identity.  For Mike and I, the fact that Emme would be black, honestly was an after thought.  We had come to realize that we cannot conceive, and that adoption was going to be our journey to parenthood.  After quickly realizing that international adoption was the best path for us…….AFRICA CHOSE US.  How?  I don’t think I can explain it to you, other than during our 18 years together, we seem to make very big decisions, in very small moments.  In this case, it was during a phone call with Mike’s Mom, and in a split second, we looked in each others eyes, and AFRICA CHOSE US.

Now that we have been home 2 1/2 years we have accumulated many lives experiences in regards to this subject.  Most of them are part of life as a multi-cultural family, and an opportunity to teach those that may ask (appropriate and, not so appropriate) questions.  As I said, we chose to be at the frontline of racial identity.

It is interesting to me that experts say that kids do not see color until they are around 5 years old.  I have thought differently about this for some time.  I have watched numerous times, Emme playing at a playground, and be drawn to play with other kids that are black.  Yesterday, my almost three-year-old and I had a conversation that made my mind up:

While getting in her car seat to go to school, Emme starts talking about the birthday party that she attended the day before.  It was for one of our Ethiopian friends, Alec.  Alec has a sister who is also from Ethiopia, and his Mommy (Becky) is a good friend.  Alec’s Daddy, who is from Burma was also at the party.  We have play dates all the time with Alec and Haven and Becky, but it is not that often that we see their Daddy.

Emme says to me, “Mommy!  Remember we went to the party with the bouncy things.” “I do!”, I said.  “Yeah, I played with…what was that girls name?” “Esther.” “I like Esther.” Emme said, and then with her big eyes, “Yeah! We played with Haven, and Alec and Becky!  And……..Mommy. who was the man with the brown face?” “That is Haven and Alec’s Daddy, Naing.”  “Oh….I like Naing.”

I smiled as I finished putting her in her car seat.  A day later, I am still smiling.  Kids do see color.  Thank goodness, because the world is full of it, just like nature, humans are many shades, and many colors.  I want her to see that.  I also want to help her cherish every un-spoiled thought in her young mind about the colors of the world.  It is later in life when that subject will become more complicated.  I think that is what the experts are referring to.

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