“Mom, Why Don’t I Look Like You?”

Caucasian mother with adopted African American child

A single Caucasian mother with her African-American son adopted through the IAC

In the past, through closed adoptions, these were probably dreaded words to hear. But now with open adoption, these words are easily explained and most likely already known from a very early age. By the time your child is asking these types of questions, they are noticing the differences around them and trying to figure out how they fit into the family and the world.

The key to answering any question about adoption from your child is honesty. If your child asks you about where their looks came from, or why they don’t look like you, you’ll want to go back and revisit their adoption story with them. Remind them that they have birthparents and that they likely resemble them more than you. If you have photos of the birthparents, pull them out and compare them to your child. Notice the differences and similarities between them. If you don’t have photos of them, or of only one of them, you can help your child imagine what they might look and what traits they might share. Give your child permission to daydream about their birthparents and acknowledge that they do share the same genetic background.

You can also take this opportunity to explore the differences and similarities between your child and the rest of your family. Perhaps you share eye color, or curly hair, or rosy cheeks. Perhaps you share silly talents such as touching your nose with your tongue or wiggling your ears. Or you might even share other interests such as sports, music, or math. Your child is likely trying to find something to connect them to you since they know they are not genetically connected.

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  • Sharon

    Perfect answer! I love the last paragraph ;)

  • Tracy

    I feel so blessed that my husband and I have such a great relationship with our daughter’s birth family. Our daughter will grow up with a strong, confident sense of who she is, and when she has a question such as that we can visit her birth family and talk about it together.

  • http://www.adoptionhelp.org/ Independent Adoption Center

    I will be out of the office from Thursday, August 4 through Monday, August 8. If you have immediate concerns please contact Ryan Schwab at rchwab@adoptionhelp.org Thank you.

  • kekesofly

    hey yall

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