Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Didn't Know You Were Adopted....

You probably thought this story was about me after reading the title didn't you?  Guess again. This one would be about Tatiana and the assumptions that are made when strangers see us together. This time the scenario went like this.....Tatiana drove to school, pulled into the parking lot, we both got out of the car, said goodbye, I hopped into the drivers seat, and drove away.  Someone who obviously doesn't know her very well came up to her and said, "I didn't know you were adopted." Tatiana said, "Um, I'm not." The guy just looked at her like she didn't know what SHE was talking about and said, "Oh."

This isn't the first time I have written about this, nor I'm sure, will it be the last. However, normally when "confusion" arises as to who "I" am, the comment is, "I didn't know your Mom was white," not, "I didn't know you were adopted." This makes me giggle and frustrates me all at the same time. When you carry someone for 9 months, have 20+ hours of labor and raise them for 16 years, you tend to want to shout...."Ya she is my daughter!!"

Now for those of you that know me well, or have been reading my stories for a while, you know that I am an adopted child myself. So why does the comment this boy made to my daughter irritate me? I love my Mom with all my heart so I don't know why it "bugs" me to hear someone ask if my child is adopted. Is it all the hard work I put into the pregnancy and labor? With all the grief I gave my Mom during my teen years she deserves an award for "that" work! Not even 9 months of pregnancy and 20+ hours of labor compare to the grief I caused my Mom during those years. We will leave it at that for now. That's another story for another time! =)

You would think I would be used to these "mom" questions by now, but I'm not. My kid is my kid. Period. I'm very proud and protective of my family so when someone tries to change the reality, I get a little "buggy."

The funny thing is, nobody ever questions Jamie and Tatiana when they are out and about. What's up with that!? She is a mix of the two of us in looks and color, so why don't they question him? is it because he is big, and black, and scary, and they don't dare!? Or is it simply because she is brown and so is he, so there is no question? Hmmph...I'm still bugged.

I wonder if that's why I'm so passionate about writing for my blog and The Next Family? I love my family so much and when anything about them is questioned, I tend to go a little "mama bear," if you know what I mean!

So just to clarify; No, she's not adopted. Yes, I am white. Yes, her Dad is black. All clear? Good. I feel better now.  On to the next question.


Anonymous said...

This is my favorite picture of Tat - she is beautiful and a perfect blend of the best of you and Jamie in so many ways. Remember, you cannot control what comes out of someone else's mouth, only your reaction to it! :) Love you three a whole bunch!


Amy Wise said...

Sis thank you thank you! Love you more!

Nay K. said...

Amy, I often find it silly on the person that makes such comments to a obvious bi-racial man, woman, girl or boy as such as your daughter.

It would be different, if some people who are bi-racial, but it does not show up in their skin tone at all like singer Mariah Carey. It is silly to ask such a question to someone like singer Alicia Keys, actresses Halle Berry, Katerina Graham or Quincy Jones daughters, when it is so clear in their beautiful skin tone and hair texture. Same for actors Shemar Moore and Boris Kodjoe.

The people that ask those questions or make those statements must be going blind.
The person(s) that sees you and Tatiana in public should be able to see that she is bi-racial and that you are her mom or at least her aunt.

Someone could ask me that question when I tell them that I have some Native American Indian and a bit of Latin from my very light skin maternal grandmother because my skin is dark brown and no obvious trace of mixed heritage. I get doubts at times, so sometimes I show a photo of my grandmother from my cell phone just to prove my point. God, I wish that it showed up in me.

The same can be said for a person that is bi-racial, but of two Asian backgrounds or two Hispanic backgrounds. The difference cannot clearly be seen.

Amy you and Tat are just facing the same question that t.v soap opera actress, Victoria Rowell(black) use to get asked when she and her bi-racial child was in public. People who did not recognize her from television would ask Victoria the same question because her child has her mom’s face, but a very white skin tone.

As for as Jaime and Tat being in public and not being questioned, it is not always because he is a big guy. I think it is more of the public just assumes that (due to that racist term; (1 drop of black blood) that she is just all Black.

Now when will your book be in the stores?

Peace out. Go Miami Heat.

Amy Wise said...

Nay K.

It was a comment from a high school student and not meant as bad or anything negative but interesting none the less. I just think it's funny that I'm the one who is adopted and I NEVER get asked that question! Yet Tatiana who isn't gets questioned all the time. Irony. Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

That is the most beautiful picture of my beautiful granddaughter. I was going to comment on your blog but had to say this first.

With regard to your blog, I have had the opposite experience. Remember all the times someone commented "she looks just like you" or "we can tell she is your daughter". You and I would usually just look at each other and smile without going into adoption.

I think most people see what they want or expect to see without really thinking about it. However, if something is different from the expected, that is when they ask questions. Love, Mom

Amy Wise said...

Mom thank you! I LOVE this pic of Tat. I can't believe how grown she is....where oh where did the time go!?

I know, the irony of the adoption question always goes back to you and I and everyone thinking that we look exactly alike! It's hilarious. I guess when the "picture" is not the "norm" questions will always be asked. I just never assume, because you know what they say about assuming....=)

Love you more than words can express...A.

Dera Williams said...

You know, with kids you have to realize that for the most part they are not yet mature enough to keep things to themselves, they just blurt out. But if this came from an adult, I just don't have the tolerance for it. We may think something but we should be able to sy things with more tact.
As far as looks, again, most people and young people are visual. If a person looks like them or close to them they assume, for instance they are black. Some kids can grab one parent's features more strongly or share some of both. It is hard these days to tell if someone is bi-racial or if they have two black parents. My daughter's friend gets asked all the time if she is bi-racial but she is not-- she has two black parents. I think it is rude since she gets these questions from people well over 21. Adults should better temper what comes out of their mouths-- it is just plain rude to walk up to someone and asked them what are you? I hear this from friends who are not bi-racial, or mixed, well, hell, everyone is mixed. Again kids are visual, especially little kids. I remember when my daughter was about six or seven and my mother came to pick her up and a little boy said, "I didn't know your grandmother is white." My daughter was confused. My mother is light-skinned and to little kids she is white. I wouldn't take the comments to heart. I guess though it is nerve wracking always having to explain. Race, America's obsession.

Amy Wise said...


Thanks for sharing your experiences.

This comment came from a high school senior. It really just cracks me up more than anything because I AM adopted and never ever get asked this question, yet Tatiana who isn't adopted always gets questioned. If we don't "match," people assume all sorts of things. It's all so ironic that the people in my fam that are adopted never get asked if they are, yet the people that aren't adopted do.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.


Pilkington.14 said...

Hi Amy

My name is Jerone Pilkington and my parents are interracial too. My mom is white and my dad is black and I was born with light brown skin. People are always surprised when I tell them that my mom is white and they usually respond with disbelief. It also doesnt help that I'm the only one in my nuclear family that still carries my mother's birth name. My community was dominatly black and I never had any trouble from others while growing up. However I was constantly reminded of how different I was. Eventually I just stopped telling people because I knew they would not believe me and personally, I really did not care if they didn't.

Amy Wise said...


Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Thank you as well for sharing your story with me. It's always so strange from my perspective as the Mom to have people question if Tatiana is my daughter. We were at a restaurant the other night picking up food and she was sitting right next to me. They took my to go order and then moved on to her like we weren't together. It's a constant for us. I'm used to it but it still irritates me a bit. I guess it's natural, I just wish people would think before speaking. We take it all in stride these days and just try and giggle. Thanks again for reading! I hope to hear more from you. Amy