Having a child of a different ethnicity or race than us


#1

Anyone in this boat? I’ll ask in the donor gamete thread as well. We have an amazing daughter thanks to anonymous embryo donation, born to us after 10 and a half years of marriage. I am Caucasian, DH is Latino (mestizo), and DD is Filipina/CC. While we considered various aspects of having a child of a different ethnicity or race than us, we decided that our biggest concern was that we didn’t draw unnecessary attention to our family, especially for the sake of our daughter. There is a handful of people in our close circle of loved ones who knows the route we finally took to have her, but we don’t want this to be a factor in how she is viewed by others. In other words, we agreed that if we thought a given ethnicity child could “pass” for being Hispanic/Latino or of mixed ancestry, that was sufficient for us. We tried to find a Hispanic child for years, both via adoption and in our initial attempts with EA. Finally, when we both came across our daughter’s batch’s profile, we knew this was the one and we didn’t fixate on ethnicity aside from what I already mentioned.

Now that she is a toddler, and we’ve been getting comments from loved ones and strangers alike about her looks (as in, “she’s so pretty”), I worry it may be a matter of time before someone asks about details of her heritage, especially if DH isn’t with us. Her godmother is actually this kind of person - she loves finding out where people’s ancestry is from, and she’ll ask random strangers. She does it out of innocent curiosity, but I don’t think she realizes what an awkward position this could put some people.

When we started down this journey, it was all very simple for me. We went from various traditional adoption routes to embryo adoption. I saw this as prenatal adoption, period. But now I no longer see it that way. I feel more like we fit with donor conceived families than adoptive ones, though. The fact that my daughter has features that don’t match mine is not because of her “homeland” (she was born in the US). She never had any ties to the ancestral home of her female donor, since she was conceived in the US as well. Yet I can’t just pretend that she doesn’t have Filipino heritage. I just don’t know what to make of it. What is heritage that doesn’t tie you to a birth culture, as in transracial adoption? What is heritage that doesn’t tie you to your parents’ homelands, if they’re different from yours/your donors’?

The easiest thing I’ve come up with so far is to stick with this script: She’s American, of mixed ancestry. This is true, and it would be true if we were her genetic parents as well, so it shouldn’t raise any flags for curious Georges. As for details, I want to leave that up to her when she gets older how much she wants to share and with whom. It’s not anyone’s business, after all, how she came to be a part of our family.

I’m having a hard time finding other EA families in a similar situation. Most DC kids’ donors are matched to their intended parents not only when it comes to race and ethnicity, but even less obvious characteristics. And like I said, adoptive families don’t really consider us one of them either, nor do I. So I was hoping to find another family out there in this same boat. Let me know if that’s you! :slight_smile:


#2

I think you are of solid ground with your approach. I am mixed race and was raised by my VERY caucasian mother…my mom is blue eyed and blonde, while my brother and I are dark: skin, hair, eyes. We didn’t look anything like her, and now my brother’s boys are strawberry blonde with hazel eyes. Thankfully, the physical differences now get much less attention than they did in the 70s and 80s. If I manage to concieve through EA, the child probably won’t look like me in one direction or the other.

My Indian heritage was important on and off over my childhood and I think you may find that your daughter’s interest is similar. Expose her to stories and what you can, just as a part of your regular life - “this is US” vs “this is YOU” so that it’s just normal rather than something that has to be singled out. You won’t stop the questions, which are usually innocent, but just saying that she’s mixed often doesn’t cut it for those who really seem to think they have a right to know. Those people, I’d just ask why it’s so important to categorize, and some of the rude ones (I still get those in my 40s) I will push back even harder.


#3

Thanks for your feedback. I grew up with questions about my background, mainly when overheard speaking my native language. Dh also gets comments now and then with guesses as to country of origin, sometimes completely in the wrong continent! So I don’t mind these kind of questions nor find them rude if phrased correctly. Plus a really good friend loves to put physical features with ethnicities, so she asks perfect strangers about their heritage.

I’m having a hard time combining my understanding and even appreciation of this kind of curiosity with what I’m reading troubles many people who were adopted or donor conceived or just don’t know or don’t want to be reminded of some or even all of their heritage.

I think if asked, I’ll just
Say Dd has some Filipino heritage, and if asked whose side, I’ll say both Dh and I have Filipinos in our family, bc now that Dd is here, it’s true!


#4

With my appearance, I have been mistaken for a native from Hawaii to Turkey and points in between except for the Nordic nations. I just go with the flow, but I can understand those who don’t have a connection not wanting the reminder.

Your tactic seems logical. Besides, the way bloodlines mix, it’s possible. Plus, a lot of Phillipinos had Hispanic mixed in from the years of Spainish rule, so she may well share some ethnic background with your husband. Add the CC from you and her heritage and you’ve got a decent match.


#5

Yeah, we are going to do dna testing on dd, dh, and me to determine our full ethnic heritage. That will be fun :slight_smile: