Saturday, August 15, 2009

An adoption teachable moment

The coloration difference between Roman and Charlie is pretty noticeable, especially in the summer when Roman turns very brown. I've had people comment on Ro's coloring before, and family of course mentions the marked difference between the boys. Roman definitely has some Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern/Afghan (should I say Arabic?) influence in his looks; the eyes and skin tone, especially. Living where we do, we see other Middle Easterners often and it's very noticeable then - when you see Ro next to others. In fact, I know there have been some curious glances in stores when I look so Irish and Ro looks obviously... not.

Anyway, I went to the tailor the other day to take in a pair of pants for school. Dragged the boys along, of course. The woman is either Middle Eastern or Greek, hard to say. Mediterranean. Anyway, she could not get over Roman's coloring. "He looks like my grandson!" she cooed, and then she saw Charlie and kept talking about it. "They don't look anything alike! He is so dark!" (pointing to Ro.) I used my common phrase, "The baby has his dad's coloring" which cracks me up privately, then, because Ro doesn't have MY coloring. I think I'm coming across as a tramp - maybe they have different dads?

Long story short, when we got in the car I said to Roman:
"Do you know what she was talking about, your coloring?"
"Yeah."
"What did she mean?"
"That I have darker skin because I'm from Russia, and Charlie is from here."
I explained that he may run into this more and more - people comparing he and Charlie and talking about what they look like. I then said:
"Do you want to explain to people that you're from Russia, or do you want to ignore it?"
"I will ignore it, and just say 'whatever!' Unless they are a friend, then I might tell them."

I was so proud of him. The boy has already begun to work through in his mind whether to share his story. So cool.

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