A few weeks ago while at the park, a woman walked up to me, pointed to my children, and proceeded to thank me for adopting "those poor Hispanic kids." Um.....what? First off, as wonderful as adoption is, I didn't adopt them. Secondly, they aren't Hispanic (not that I would care if they were). Third, who says that to someone? There are like five things strange and wrong with that conversation right there. I was like "Um...yea, they are biologically mine, they are Native American, and.....yea." I didn't even know what to say. The woman looked me up and down and exclaimed "no way. You couldn't possibly have made a dark baby."
|I do not make pale babies|
My ex was almost entirely Native American and my kids inherited the beautiful brown skin of that ethnicity. With the exception of inheriting my light(er) brown hair, they have all the dark features of their Native American ancestors. They were born with their ancestor's distinctive almond shaped eyes; eyes so dark that I couldn't even see where their pupils were, which is in obvious stark contrast to my bright blue eyes.
|Black baby eyes|
|They have lightened up a bit in four years|
They have so much Native American in them that when they were born I had their umbilical cord stem cells banked (cryogenically frozen) because if they were to ever need a stem cell transplant for cancer treatment or anything, it might be near impossible to find a donor that has that much true blooded Native American in them mixed with quite a bit of Irish.
|Daughter's arm next to mine; complete with "rock star" stamp|
So at the park, after I uttered some fairly incomprehensible comment back to the woman who thanked me for adopting poor Hispanic kids, I simply walked away. Still to this day I have yet to come up with an appropriate response. I get asked quite a bit if I am their mother and stranger yet, this is the THIRD time someone has thanked me for adopting my own children. Three times and I still don't know how to respond, because hello....it's awkward....
What seems to happen is that if I take the time to explain that their dad was Native American, it inevitably sets off a series of questions that I don't want/need to answer.
To make matters worse, I've had several racist comments thrown their direction (and then my brain exploded). In fact, when I had my daughter, someone told me "you ruined your family blood line with your dark skinned baby."
What. The. Hell.
When my kids ask me why they don't look like me, it's the perfect opportunity to explain to them how people come in all different ethnicity's; yet when adults just assume that we can't be related....I find myself speechless.
Suggestions? This is just so strange to me that I, even in my infinite bank of crazy comebacks, have yet to find anything appropriate to say and am left there with my mouth hanging open. I know my kids are darker than me, it's quite obvious, but having only had the experiences of a whiter than white person, this is new territory for me. I have beautiful Hispanic, Puetro Rican, and African American friends, many of whom do not have children who look like them either, and they haven't heard half the crazy comments that I have from other people. I often wonder if it's because I am "white" that strangers think it's ok to talk racism with me, like I won't be as offended because of my lack of melanin.
How do I shut down the conversation and move on? I want to be firm, yet polite when tolerable, but in no way accepting of what they are saying. Anyone have any suggestions?