"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Colors of Us

Grace has been talking a lot about her skin color lately. She refers to her skin when we see other people who resemble her, when we see someone on TV with dark skin, and even when we are just sitting together reading books and she glances at my arm wrapped around hers. We always talk about how pretty her beautiful, soft skin is. She seems to agree with us. In fact, she commented that some of the girls in her dance recital were, well...not as pretty because they had "light skin."
Oh how I wish Grace would always be so confident about her beautiful skin color. I worry that there may come a day (hopefully not too soon) that she will realize that there are really not too many African American kids in our neighborhood, schools, or city.

We are blessed, however, to have some wonderful friends who also have beautiful children with brown skin! Take a look at these three beauties...
The three girls were playing together the other day, and it struck me that they are all adorable and unique, but that they have so much in common. They are all adopted, have families with multiple siblings, are not from good old Wisconsin, and have pale parents :) Grace has shared with me that she feels like her skin is "sort of like" her friends, but that it is darker. She does NOT think this is a negative thing. I love her confidence. The thing is...I wonder when it will be necessary or appropriate to share with her the opinion of some small minded people who disagree with her positive attitude. I read a great book that was written by an adult adoptee who explained how shocked he was when he realized that not everyone was so positive about dark skinned people. He said that he wished his adoptive family would have told him about racism. He felt sort of blind-sided by it when it happened to him. That being said, I can't imagine looking into Grace's beautiful dark eyes and telling her that some people may not like her just because of her dark skin. I simply can't imagine it....Have any of you explained such things to your kids? It was easy for me to talk to my bio kids about this before we adopted Grace, but it sure seems hard to have the same conversation with her. I would never want to even plant such a negative thought in her little head...
And...so...we read...We have several books about "differences." Watching Grace's two little girlfriends with her reminded me of this book:
The book does an excellent job of describing the different colors that people can be. Most of the colors are described as foods. For example, one of the characters is the color of "cinnamon." Another is the color of "creamy peanut butter." Grace thinks she is most like the girl who is the color of "chocolate brown, like cupcakes."

For now, I think I will still focus on the beauty of Grace's skin. I will continue to teach her that she is gorgeous. She seems to have no problem believing me. She thinks I have a long way to go to be as "fancy" and "beautiful" as she is. Her little dramatic self continues to focus on being as dolled up and glam as she can be- there is no doubt that she feels like a princess every day. Keep up the good work Grace!


  1. Oh how I already dread this day...even though our littles are not even home yet! I pray we will all have the grace to rise above the race! She is absolutely gorgeous!

  2. I found your blog through another blog and have followed for a while but never commented. I just have to say that we have had similar conversations with our five year old daughter also adopted from ET. Right now she likes her skin better than ours but wishes she had long straight hair like her older sisters. Of course, we love her curls and think she is beautiful. We just hope and pray that she sees herself as beautiful too and that God made her special just the way she is.
    I love this book too. I like that it doesn't use black or white but things that kids can really relate to like coffee or peanut butter or peaches. It's such a fun and positive way to talk about race.
    One last thing I have to tell you is that you got me addicted to Naartjie. Early this spring they had a shirt with Africa on it and you wrote a post about how cheap it was and that the company started in Africa, etc. I had to order one as well because except for fundraising shirts I had never really seen a cute girly shirt with Africa on it.
    Well, now I have a hard time going a couple of weeks without ordering something for my girls. We don't have a store anywhere near us so I like that the girls can have different "boutique" looking clothing without breaking the bank. Thanks for opening my eyes to Naartjie! :)

  3. I love your post. I haven't had any conversations about racism with my girls as I just can't imagine. I feel like I need to at some point but I don't think Maya can understand right now. That is going to be a very hard talk for sure!

    I love that so many love Naartjie as that is by far my favorite store for the girls. I think Maya's entire summer wardrobe came from there.

    Have a great day!

  4. As always... DITTO everything you said! It *does* feel different when I think about talking to Av about racism than it did talking to just the boys. Hate that it's a thing we have to talk about at all. Totally know what you mean... on every level...