Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Sameness January 10, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,transracial parenting — Elizabeth @ 3:17 PM

I knew it was coming, and here it is.  I don’t know if it’s a new phase of self-awareness, or a new confidence that Matthew has to start letting out some of these feelings he has inside, but he’s got some things to get off his chest.

So even though I knew it would come out someday, I was still devastated when he told me the other day–I don’t want brown eyes.  I don’t like my eyes.  I want green eyes like YOU.

{God give me wisdom}

Oh dear, I really like your brown eyes, I say.

DARK brown, he corrects me.  And I NOT, he adds, shaking his head back and forth.

Well, do you know why your eyes look the way they do?  Why they are that shape and why they are that color?


Because everyone born in Korea has eyes shaped like that.  Korean people have brown eyes!  I wasn’t born in Korea.  I don’t get to have eyes like you.  I have to have green eyes.

For a second, he is impressed with this information.  Being born in Korea is a great source of pride to him right now.  But it isn’t quite enough to tip him over.  He remains gruff and grumpy with his lot in life.  Isaac bounds in the room.

I love my eyes!  The shape and the color!  I love your eyes too, Matthew!  I love your brown eyes!!!


If there is one thing about Matthew, it is that he has an innate ability to stand firm in his beliefs.

So we sit in the floor of the hallway and begin to discuss how we all look a little bit different.  All of our hair is a little bit different.  Isaac says that my hair is black (??) and I correct him that it is brown.  He counters with DARK BROWN, and I don’t feel this is worth arguing about, so I say yes, I have dark brown hair.  Matthew perks up immediately.  He is gleeful.

Like me, mama!!  You hair is dark brown and my eyes is dark brown!  We the same!!!!

Yes!  You’re right!!!

Then we all went and stood in front of the bathroom mirror together and stuck out our tongues.  YES!  Our tongues are all pink.  That’s one way we are the same!  We all pulled up our shirts to reveal belly buttons.  Look, we all have belly buttons!  The same again!  We examined our arms next to each other and realized none of our skin is exactly alike.  Isaac’s is pinker.  Mine is very freckly.  Matthew’s is bronze and clear.  We examined hands and earlobes and looked for the presence of widows peaks until everybody was satisfied that we have some things in common but also many differences.  Matthew’s spirits were good.

When Jason came home and sat down with us for dinner, Matthew asked with a huge grin, “Hey Dad, do you know what’s the SAME??”.  He answered excitedly–my eyes and mommy’s hair.  Dark brown!  The same!!!

It may have been my imagination, but I believe he was sitting up straighter than ever in his chair that night.





18 Responses to “Sameness”

  1. Cari Oliver Says:

    This is my favorite blog post ever. And to think you almost forgot what you were going to blog…..

  2. Lori Says:

    I’m so glad he has parents to show him the wonderfulness of his dark brown eyes!!

  3. kimbelina Says:

    I remember doing something similar with Adam. Even though we don’t have a lot of common physical characteristics, he couldn’t be more like me in terms of temperament or personality (or strange quirks) if he tried. Once he realized that there were many ways that we were the same (our love of books, the way we’re both singularly focused on certain things) he was much happier.

    On Christmas morning he came downstairs and announced that he looked just like Daddy. Todd and I both looked at him, rather puzzled. Apparently the khakis and Oxford shirt he was wearing were similar to what Todd wears to work. Kids are pretty funny that way.

    Good for you for being able to find the commonalities that are so important to Matthew right now.

  4. Joann Says:

    That one gave me lumpy throat and wet eyes. Those boys are amazing, and you sure know how to stick it out with Matthew and give him the best answers! Xoxo

  5. Jenny Says:

    E, you are such a good mama, I’m not sure I would have thought of the finding the sameness, but I’ve tucked it away. This stage is hard (Jack at a month from four) is so aware now of so many things about his status as Korean, adopted, different….I love having someone to learn with.

  6. Juliet Says:

    This made me cry. Thank you for making me cry! 🙂 What a great mom you are. I’m with another reader in that I’m not so sure I would have been able to come up with this on the spot like you, but I’ve now filed the idea away in my “Mental Rolodex” for future use if and when necessary.

  7. Kelly Says:

    Awww, crap. Made me cry at work AGAIN, Elizabeth. Thanks a lot. Seriously – what a great way to explore how we’re different and how we’re the same with our kids. I, too, am tucking this away for the future (probably not-too-distant). Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad this made Matthew so happy in the end 🙂

  8. Yvonne Says:

    I love how you approached this. We too have had some of these conversations and they are harder than I thought they would be because my kids were hurting and I hate that. Natalie’s thing lately isn’t even her eye/hair/skin color, it’s the fact that she is petite and her younger brother is about to eclipse her in height and weight. Andrew’s issue was that his clothes were different (I had no idea what to do with that one since there is a dress code at school so he couldn’t be that different!). I always end up at the same place – you’re perfect just the way you are because that’s how God made you. And He doesn’t make mistakes.

  9. Joanna Says:

    I remember reading about this before we adopted…how you should highlight your ‘sameness’…but hearing it from you, a friend of mine, and a kid I ‘know’ it really drives it home. Thanks for sharing the wisdom that you prayed for and received. You handled it great!

  10. Grace Says:

    i love this. such beautiful, real moment.

  11. You handled the question perfectly. I think we are very close to D asking such questions. God, give me strength!

  12. I love this conversation, and it totally reminds me of the Sesame Street book, “We’re different, we’re the same”. It’s a favourite here! Adam always says that he has brown eyes and brown hair like Daddy, and straight hair like Mommy. He also believes that dark eyes see better in the dark. So neat to hear the observations of children!

  13. Christine Says:

    Wow… This is fabulous. We’ve had several conversations along these lines (although I’m not sure I handled them quite so eloquently) but never about him and I… I’m going to be coming back here when it does come up for sure. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Melissa Says:

    Love this! And I think you handled it just beautifully!

  15. Elizabeth Says:

    So well played, mama. I love it.

  16. Sue Says:

    i just re-read this…and realized that i didn’t comment when i read it the first time. and that’s because i passed the laptop right to damon and told him this post was so, so, so good that he had to read it right then. he read it. totally agreed. and never gave me the computer back.
    so…this was a great post. amazing. i loved how you all discovered your sameness. and, the tongue part… brilliant!! i will be stealing that.
    so far sameness things leo has going on are with damon…they can both roll their tongue (drew and i cannot) and they both get bloody noses quite often. the totally out of nowhere dripping like a faucet kind of bloody nose. the new fancy humidifier attached to our furnace has not seemed to help.

  17. Love this…like so many others! Can we repost it on WAGI? Kelly should still have your bio and pic from before. Just let me know!

  18. Kelly Says:

    Such a sweet moment to share as a family! Good job handling his feelings just perfectly!

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