Quora: How does it feel to adopt a child of a different race from you?

My answer, originally published on Quora.

Q: How does it feel to adopt a child of a different race from you?

What should you be aware of?

I am young, gay and though not close to the decision whether to have kids, would like to have a family of my own at some point, but have a vision of feeling alien from my adopted baby and feeling incorrigibly guilty.

I'm not white, not that that should change anything.

My Answer

I'm white, my husband is Asian, and we adopted both of our kids from Korea.

When I look at my kids (or my husband), I rarely think about the fact that they are of a different race. I just think about how beautiful and unique they are and how much I love them. That part of parenting is the same for most moms, regardless of whether they adopted or not, or whether their kids are the same race or different.

Now as far as how other people treat us, as a "non-standard" family... I've been surprised at how much of a non-issue it has been with other people. I've been an adoptive parent for nearly 7 years and only once has a nosy adult asked if I was my son's "real mother." Everyone else who has asked if we adopted had a very good, well-intentioned reason for asking.

Surprisingly, a lot of people assume I am my kids' biological mother, despite the obvious race differences. Perhaps this is because we live in the San Francisco bay area, which is full of biracial families (my son's class has about 25% biracial kids); maybe people have learned that you can't assume parents and kids will be of the same race.

And as far as extended families, we dealt with the mixed race issue when we got married many years earlier.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com