question from a (white) adoptive mum about my (amazing, beautiful, brown) baby boy.

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

my son is 16 months old and the most amazing little man in the universe (not that i am biased, or anything...). we had the privelage of being chosen to be his parents and adopted him at birth. he is the light of our lives and we want the world for him. my question is about how to discuss 'race' with him as he grows up. i know race is a societal construct and should not be important, but as a brown baby with white parents he gets a good number of questions. we met his birthmother who is mixed, but did not know her own birthfather. we have limited information on our son's birthfather, and only know he is mixed but no details. it is clear from his fantastic 'fro and beautiful chocolate skin that he has black heritage and we know that he has white also... but we are not actually 'sure'. any suggestions on how we explain to him his background? i don't want to say 'we don't know what your background is, exactly'... but i'm not sure what we can say honestly, other than that... thanks in advance for your opinions.

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Carolyn - posted on 11/28/2008

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That's a tough question, and admire that you are thinking ahead. I would say you have a few years to think about it and seek advice (Advice I have no clue how to approach). I am very grateful for adoption, I just wish more people would seek out the questions as you are needed to raise a child of different heritage. I get so mad at my kids bc they use talk about this one particular family that adopted black children. There hair was always dry with poor haircut, and dry ashy skin. My son now cuts black hair and says he's gonna "hook him up" when he sees him.

I've gotten off track...just want to say I admire your seeking out questions that do need answers, maybe just right now though.

[deleted account]

thanks so much for your response... it is helpful to know how others in similar situations are approaching the issue... we do have lots of books, toys, and dolls that represent our son... and other cultures, too. we would have done that anyway, but having a multicultural family, its even more important. good to know that your son is grasping the concept... i am actually putting together a little book that will be about our son's adoption... so it will be a little storybook all about him! i'm hoping that will help him understand. in any case, its his pre-teen and teenaged years that i am a bit more worried about. i just hope he feels his dad is a strong role model and that he doesn't get too upset about not knowing anything about his birthfather. unfortunately, we don't even have a name to search for him when our son is 18... i guess you do what you can, right? just be honest, in an age appropriate way. thanks again!

Robyn - posted on 11/25/2008

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We adopted our black and white son at birth too. We never met the birthfather, though we were told that he is "full AA".
I think that having books with multicultural characters is enough at your son's age. My son didn't start to grasp adoption until this past summer at 2-1/2. We talk about his birthmother because we know her, but not about his birthfather. He still needs to see pictures of people for them to be even remotely real. When he's older and starts to understand that a man and woman make a baby, I think we'll deal with his birthfather then. Certainly, if he asks, we'd give him the age-appropriate information that we do know.
Has this helped at all? Or am I just rambling?

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