Sunday, September 5, 2010

She can't be your mom, you don't match!

Amy Ford has written a book about transracial parenting, Brown Babies, Pink Parents. She also has a blog;  check out this post about the dreaded, "she can't be your mom, you don't match," comment:
It was a typical Friday afternoon and I was picking up my 6 year old from summer day camp. I was reading a notice about the outing for the following week when I heard my daughter talking to her friend. I didn't know the friend and it became obvious very quickly the friend didn't know our family either.

"She can't be your mom! Your skin don't match!" the new friend shrieked.

I turned around to see another brown 6 year old standing next to my own, whose face was now a mile long. My heart broke. I could see the embarrassment written all over my daughter. We have talked about these moments and even practiced with her what to say when someone questions the make up of our family. She knows that families come in all shapes and shades. She knows we all match on the inside even when our outsides don't. None of this mattered on a Friday afternoon in August at the YMCA summer day camp.
 Go read about the conversation that followed.

Has anyone bought the book?  I'd be interested in posting a review!


Anonymous said...

You know, I think that every parent would like to keep their child from ever feeling pain. But we can't. If it is not the fact that our skin doesn't match, it will be something else. If we could keep them from feeling pain, they would not end up being very strong people. Still it is hard. We feel their pain, too.

I do remember a time when any type of adoption-related comment seemed to be unwelcome by my daughter. My answers to these type of encounters tended to be short and to the point. I probably would have just said "yes, I am her mom. Not all parents look like their children." I am assumining that this child had not seen an "unmatching" family before. Most of the time kids ask me "are you their mom?" and I just answer "yes" without elaborating. Let them draw their own conclusions. Maybe next time they run into a family like ours, they won't feel the need to ask.
Sue (aka anonymous)

Amanda said...

Even though my Adoptive Mother and I are both White, I would hear that all the time. Or, they'd think she was my step-mother because I do somewhat resemble my Adoptive Father. I just always said "I don't look like her because I'm adopted."

No, you can't keep your kids from experiencing pain. But so much pain is caused by an ignorant society that can be fixed with education and demanding respect for our minority group(s). Why experience pain when it can be changed?

Anonymous said...

I think the process of change is often painful. If we didn't have "unmatching" families, how would society learn? I always think of the people of color who sent their children to the first desegregated schools. How painful that must have been for the children to be taunted due to their skin color, to be unwanted, to not fit in. But now we have schools where it is no big deal to see children of different races learning together. It's not perfect, but mostly better than it was 50 years ago. I agree we need to continue to educate people.
Sue (aka anonymous)