Raising a mixed-race child

Guest post by Theresa

Last week I took Ayla to one of those sing-along/nursery rhyme groups for babies. It happened to take place at a senior’s residence and moms, babies, and seniors all had a good time together. After the session, a kind old lady came up to me and said, “Now who does this little sweetheart belong to?”

“Oh…she’s mine,” I replied.


Ayla might be the cutest baby-as-a-bunny EVER.

For the record, I am Asian and my husband is Caucasian. Of course having a mixed race child, I did not expect my baby to look exactly like me—I just never expected her to look so different than me. With her English-rose complexion, light brown hair, big light brown eyes, and cheeks the size of Texas; Ayla is a bit of an anomaly, even amongst other half Asian/Caucasian babies who tend to have darker features.

Everybody tells me she looks like her Daddy, which is plain to see. Her looks are still changing, so perhaps in a few years she might be a spitting image of me. But for now, people seem to think that I am just the nanny.

When I go out with Ayla, people often do double-takes: they look at me–then Ayla–then me again. “What an adorable baby,” I imagine they think. “Who’s that Asian lady with her? She must be her nanny.”

I guess it’s just a bit of motherly pride as I want people to make the connection when they see us together. I want to show off my beautiful baby girl. I want to tell strangers that I carried her in my womb for nine months and have the varicose veins to prove it. But I don’t. Instead, I casually mention in the conversation that my husband is Caucasian and hope that they make the connection.

While mixed race marriages are on the rise, I guess it still takes time for people to get used to seeing families where the kids don’t exactly look like the parents. My story isn’t unique—there are tons of mixed race children out there with mamas who probably feel the same way I do.

There are a few rare cases in which biological twins from a mixed race couple are born and one is black and the other is white. Now that is a tougher one to explain.

All babies are beautiful—black, white, yellow, purple or beige. As the comedian Russell Peters says, “Everybody’s going to be beige, the whole world is mixing.”

Comments on Raising a mixed-race child

  1. I just had my daughter on May 13th and from the second she was born I was told how “weird” it was to give birth to a girl that looked like her. My husband is Mexican, and I’m possibly the most pale euro-mutt on the planet. Strangers haven’t said too many strange comments, probably because my husbands been next to me everywhere we’ve gone so far…but I get the rudest comments from my inlaws! They’ll say, “wow, it’s amazing how she looks EXACTLY as Fernando (my husband) did as a baby! Thankfully she turned out dark, since you’re so pale and all..” and when I’ve tried to point out the fact that she has my eyes and my lips I get shut down from his mother. She laughs and just informs me that I just don’t know since I wasn’t around when my husband was a baby…and that I look silly walking around with her…I’ve told my husband how her comments have been adding to my “baby blues”, so he just takes the baby over to his parents house now.

    • I’m so sorry your IL’s are doing this to you. Mine did something similar, always pointing out how much my daughter looked like so-in-so in the family. Even today, commenting on her hair and how it’s wavy. Apparently her aunt had curls before her grandmother cut them off. But yeah, she has normal straight Asian hair now. HELLO my baby is half white and I have wavy hair! Totally has nothing to do with the fact that she has MY hair?

      One thing they did that horrified me…they would comment on how our daughter had her father’s nose, as if it was a bad thing 🙁 For the record…she had the same smushed newborn nose that almost all babies have, but still!

    • It’s actually an accepted phenomena that babies look like their fathers when they’re born. It’s sort of nature’s paternity test. Scientists theorize that a father was less likely to abandon or kill (to restore the mother’s affections) a baby that looked like him. So yes, your new born looks like his father. All newborns do. It isn’t something other people should be making an issue of because the truth is, it doesn’t actually reflect much of what (or who) she’ll look like long term.

  2. Awww, I love this! Ayla is the cutest thing ever!

    My husband is mexican and I am caucasian. We both have dark brown hair with curls. We have a daughter with dark brown, curly hair, and an olive complexion, and a son with blond hair, light skin and blue eyes. He is referred to as the milk man’s baby.

  3. Great article and comments!

    I live in Seattle and half Asian-half caucasian kids are so common around here. They are always very, very cute.

    I have an interesting twist on this. I am lesbian and am trying to conceive. Sperm comes with only a very basic description of hair/eye/skin color so we really have no idea what our kid will look like. Half me, half some random stranger. Hopefully we will get to meet him in 18 years and then we can really figure out whose eyes and whose bone structure and whose skin tone our kid has.

  4. I am the oldest of four, and NONE of us look alike! You can see some similarities when you line us all up, but looking at just two of us, people rarely realize we’re related.

    If you see, for instance, my oldest and middle brothers, they look like almost complete opposites – one is 6 feet tall, dark brown skin, dark eyes, and a BIG guy, and the other is about 5’7″, light brown skin, grayish-hazel eyes, and slender. The youngest is a bit of each – about 5’9″, dark skin and eyes, and slender. And all three are FULL brothers. I have a different father, and I look like the spitting image of our mother.

  5. My grandfather is Black American and My grandmother is Jamaican and my mom is a pale red head with freckles (which doesn’t resemble any part of her parents). She used to get asked all of the time if she was adopted and she still gets odd questions from her co-workers. Her response?
    “Shame on you. People of color come in all shades.”

  6. My son looks exactly like his dad…except all his “colors”. Our son has blond hair, blue eyes & fair skin.

    My husband is Hispanic with dark features all around, I on the other hand am Caucasian with blond hair, blue eyes & the whitest skin you’ll ever see.

    When people see our family they always tell us how our son looks nothing like my husband…funny thing is that it’s actually the opposite. The only features he got from me is the lighter features.

  7. My mother’s father was 75% Tuscarora American Indian and her mother was 100% Mohawk. My father is Caucasian.

    …I am and always have been pale as a ghost. I have dark brown hair, a rounded nose, green eyes, and white white skin that never tans.

    I have high cheekbones, broad shoulders, and am 5’11”, but other than that, I look nothing like my relatives on my mother’s side (in fact, the men are about 6’3″ and the women 5’3″!)and everything like my father’s cousins in Scotland.

    I’ve always felt like an outsider and like I didn’t belong because I don’t look like my cousins with their black hair, dark eyes, and dark skin. I’ve always felt like a wannabe at indian cultural events and now I worry about my baby. Her father is Caucasian and she will likely be as pale as the both of us, but still 1/4 indian. It’s going to feel weird teaching her about her culture when she might not feel very connected to it (even less so with her being raised off the reservation and not on the pow wow trail http://www.powwow-power.com/powwowhistorypg3.html )

    But I guess appearance isn’t everything and her culture is still very important. I just hope it’s as important to her as it has been for me, even if I did feel as though I were on the outside looking in. I may not look like everyone else around me, but that doesn’t change what I am or who I want to be. 🙂

  8. My dad is white, my mother is Hispanic. There are four of us kids, two which look like my mom, one that looks like my dad, and my sister is somewhere in between. My dad and mom have both gotten odd looks from people whenever we are all out together or in small groups. And in fact, I don’t think you should have to clarify that you are married to a caucasian. Let them think what they want. The only way people will learn that kids and families and parents come in all sizes and colors is if we act like it’s completely normal. And it is. 🙂

  9. I hope hope HOPE that we aren’t all beige someday!! I LOVE the diversity of the world, regardless of what it is… mixed babies are especially beautiful because they get a little bit of all of it. It’s always fun guessing if baby looks more like mom or dad, but when mom and dad are mixed races the possibilities are endless. Who cares what people think (although I do think the sarcastic comments are funny ha). If you say it’s your kid then it’s your kid and they should have the decency to take you at your word. Same goes for adopted children. The world would be boring were we all pasty white.

  10. I’m a mixy kid. German, Spanish, Native American. During the winter months, when i had very little tan, people would tell my mother “she looks just like you!” But the moment the pools opened and I turned chestnut colored, no one thought we looked alike anymore. My boyfriend is black. We’d like to have kids eventually. that should be very interesting. I can’t wait to see those babies. lol

  11. My father’s Jewish (equivalent to around %30/40 “White”), and my mother’s a mixture of European ethnicities.

    Hence, my brother and I get mistaken for being of partial Asian decent (I guess we are, but it’s undetermined), or African-American decent. Also, my dad gets stopped in airports, which annoys the shit out of all of us.

    Why can’t it be accepted that “race” is just a spectrum, like colors?

  12. My partner is half Fijian-Indian, half Australian, and I’m half Dutch, half Australian – it’ll be fair to say that it’s highly likely my children won’t look at me at all. But honestly, who cares? On a different note, my mother keeps telling me she can’t wait for the ‘latte babies’ to come!

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