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Adoption Blog: Painting the Nursery

Keep the Compliments Coming!

My husband and I always knew that adopting transracially could attract a good deal of attention from strangers based on differences in appearances alone. And our son, Miles, who is African American, has a gorgeous, chocolate brown complexion, which is noticeably different than our very light skin. But, the attention we receive as a transracial family is nothing compared to the attention Miles gets for being such a handsome, good-natured baby.

We know we are truly blessed that Miles is what people refer to as "an easy baby." Not only is he happy more often than he is fussy (he smiles a lot!), when he does cry, just being held calms him down.

In addition to being so mellow, Miles is absolutely adorable! I am biased, of course, since he is our precious little angel, but we hear this every time we go anywhere with him. People stop us and ask his name and how old he is, and they always comment on how cute he is. Often they remember us if we shop in the same store, as one cashier in Staples did when she referred to him as her "sweetheart" when we were there twice in one week.

Recently, we brought him with us to Newport, Rhode Island, to celebrate our anniversary. We were excited to be in town that particular weekend since there was an arts festival. Miles has appeared to be interested in anything hanging on a wall since he was less than a week old. I’m not really sure if he is displaying a genuine interest in art, but we are attempting to foster his love for the arts just in case.

While some of the artists at the event were impressed with Miles' stroller fan (it was a hot day), most of their attention was almost exclusively focused on our cute, happy boy. In fact, it appeared that he was detracting attention away from the art.

The night of our anniversary, we went out to dinner with Miles in his stroller. Several of the waitresses came over to look at him. He was asleep at the time so they couldn’t even see his big brown eyes. But that didn’t stop them from bringing over other people to look at him! Two servers brought over two others just to gaze at Miles.

It’s clearly not just us—many people really appreciate how adorable Miles is. To me, that is just a bonus. Maybe everyone feels this way, but I’m the happiest and proudest mother I know. I take advantage of every waking moment to smile and coo with Miles, to giggle with him, to teach him things as we go places together, and to enjoy watching the facial expressions he makes when I play with him—whether it's kissing his belly or lifting him up in the air like he's flying. The fact that he is an adorable baby is gravy in light of how much love I feel for him and his wonderful personality.

As he gets older, Miles will become aware of the differences between his appearance and ours, as well as notice differences between himself and the people he will likely encounter in our racially-diverse neighborhood, at his school, and among our Caucasian family. Part of this is intentional—we moved to this neighborhood because we are eager for Miles to relate to people from every culture. We want to ensure that we teach him how beautiful his dark skin is.

As a baby, he’s a total cutie pie, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow up. If we do experience negative situations, we’ve been prepared by our home-study classes to handle them with diplomacy. No matter how old he gets, how much he changes, or what lies ahead, I am a really lucky mama.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


I am very curious as to why the comments originally posted on this blog post have been removed.

My comment stands:  Why does being cute negate being black?  Why write about how surprised you are that people find your child cute even though he’s black?  This post is not a celebration of difference, it shows how deeply rooted beliefs that black skin is inferior to light skin are.  It saddens and dismays me.

By Picara on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 7:56 pm.

Not sure how your comments were removed, or why - but I suspect the editor did it.
If you re-read my blog, there is nothing at all that would indicate that I’m surprised hat people find him cute - or that it is ‘even though he is black’—my post was more about the positive attention we are receiving due to his cuteness, and not at all regarding any racial issues at all. Your comments saddened me.

By Renee Hoyt on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 8:01 pm.

@AdoptionCircle: If yr child is super cute will people overlook their different skin color?

this is the tweet that promoted your story.  It has since been removed from AF’s twitter stream.  Think about the implications of reading your article after reading that tweet.

By Picara on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 8:08 pm.

Wow - that is different than how this post was intended and I see now why it has since been removed - it’s completely irrelevant and does not represent our feelings about our son, or his gorgeous skin color.  I will take this up with the editor.  Thank you for letting me know about it.

By Renee Hoyt on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 8:15 pm.

This “revision” of the comment page is extremely disturbing and I’ll go as far as saying that it is dishonest on the editor’s part. I was extremely disturbed by the offensive tweet and let the editors know.

In addition, this “I expected hostility but because my kid is such a cute black kid, I’ve gotten none” exoticisation of transracial adoption is quite unfortunate. The message is, just make sure you adopt a “cute” black child, it will all be sweetness and light, especially during infancy. Everyone that I’ve showed your posting to has reacted similarly.

As a parent, hoping that I’m raising an antiracist child, I find this entry to be at best naive but at worst dismissive of the impact of race on people of color.

By teendoc on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 9:14 pm.

I am sorry YOU feel that way.  I agree that the tweet was offensive but I and all the people in my circles that have read my blog post agree that this is not at all inclined the way you’ve read it.

I never said the part about expecting hostility, and your putting it in quotes shows that you are trying to attach meaning to my post that was never intended and was not in fact there to begin with.  The “message” you gleaned from my post reflects that you were the one expecting hostility where none has been experienced or expected. 
Clearly, if you have feelings a certain way, it changes the approach you have to even reading the way an author intends their work to be interpreted.  This is the first such comment anyone has offered that doesn’t state what a cute sweet blog post, having nothing to do with being naive or dismissive in any way, shape or form.

My feelings about our son are true and honest. If he weren’t as cute, it would simply have caused me to write a different piece, not having the opinions of many strangers to remark about.  Since he is cute, again - having nothing whatsoever to do with his race, it caused me to write about it. Perhaps when and if there are any racial implications in his life to write about, I will take up that topic.

Sorry again for your misinterpretation of my intentions.

By Renee Hoyt on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 10:51 pm.

And why would I expect hostility? That doesn’t even make sense, Renee. I have no expectation one way or the other about you. I can only read what you put into your post. Despite the editor’s having changed the title, your words indicated that you clearly expected something other than the attention your son received for being cute. What was it you expected?

The tweet, the original title, as well as the post itself all lend itself to the idea of “cute” trumping “race.” I don’t know how many POC that you call friends wouldn’t see this as well.

And no, this isn’t the first such comment that someone has offered on this post. The other comments were removed by the editors. Remember?

By teendoc on Friday, October 08, 2010 at 11:06 pm.

Hi all,
The comments were not removed intentionally. Due to technical changes with our comments feature, we have *temporarily* lost comments from the last two weeks from all of our blogs. We will work to restore these as we can.
AFC Editors

By AFC Editors on Saturday, October 09, 2010 at 1:23 am.

Hi, It’s Susan here, the editor of Adoptive Families.  We understood Renee’s post as a beautiful expression of how every adoptive parent falls in love with their child and thinks that not only is he or she the cutest baby in the world but is amazed to find that the whole world recognizes their child’s adorableness.  We hear this frequently from parents of children of all races. 

Thinking that this cuteness was “despite” her son’s race is not supported by Renee’s writing or what Adoptive Families stands for.  For a couple of the many, many articles that have been published in Adoptive Families about preparing your child for racism, “white privilege,” transracial adoption, the folly of “color blindness,” see for example:
Talking about Race and Racism:
The Other Side of Privilege

Finally, we changed our comments function today from Disqus (which required yet another log in) to a new commenting tool that will make it easier for readers to comment. We will be adding back by hand all the comments on all the blogs that were made invisible by this transition.  There were a number of eloquent comments about Renee’s column which we do not want to lose.  We welcome respectful conversation on all topics in adoption.

By SusanC on Saturday, October 09, 2010 at 1:57 am.

Renee, as a fellow blogger,  I know how hard it is to put yourself out there. I’ve been thinking about you, caring for a new baby and managing a new job, and trying to fit in the writing time. It must be difficult. Hang in there.

By Sharon Van Epps on Saturday, October 09, 2010 at 6:53 am.
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Renee Hoyt

Renee Hoyt


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