“Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?”

Courtney found this NY Times op-ed. Click the link above to read it all.

“The Real Thing – Relative Choices – Adoption – Opinion – New York Times Blog

My husband Tim and I adopted our daughter Willow, who is now 12, from China when she was 9 months old. We were told by the adoption agency that once the process was complete and the three of us were back home, many people would stop to inquire about our daughter’s Mongolian features or why she did not look like us.

It may be that having a child of a different ethnic background from yourself is more difficult in other parts of the country. And certainly that may lead to problems. But In my neighborhood in Brooklyn I see black women with half-Asian, half-black kids and I see kids with dark skin and blond hair — the mother is white, the father is not. There are Indian fathers and Caucasian mothers with their offspring. There are families with two dads. There are also Hasidic families with ten kids and Muslim women dressed in full burkas who have dressed their daughters the same way.

So here in New York City, we haven’t attracted too much attention.

Well, O.K., sometimes.

It is true when she was a baby, if I took her out on my own, sometimes people did ask me, “Is the father Chinese?” If I said “yes” the usual response was “Good for you!” This puzzled me, so then I just said, “Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?”


A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!””


2 responses

  1. Sue

    That’s remark about working in a sweathshop to your (presumably appropriately grateful) 12 year old is a joke?

    November 13, 2007 at 11:43 pm

  2. You’re the second person to comment on this article as if I were the author. I sent an email to the first one directing her to the link in the post. Your email, I suspect, wasn’t real – unless you go by the name of “asdf” – so I approved the comment in order to reply to you. If you go to the full article, as I instructed in my post, you’ll see that the entire thing is tongue-in-cheek. However, if you feel the jokes are still in poor taste, I suggest you comment on the actual article. :)

    November 14, 2007 at 8:08 am

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