Transracial adoption is tricky.

First, the mama has to learn to care for skin and hair that is different than her own. I was pretty lucky in this department in that Zippy is a boy — African American boy hair is much simpler for this mama to figure out than a girl’s would’ve been. But still, learning to care for his skin has been tricky. We have spent oodles of bucks buying different kinds of lotions, conditioners, and creams over the years. (BTW, we’ve landed on the best yet: Melaleuca’s Renew lotion. Zippy’s skin loves it! No itchy bumpies that end up bleeding and scarring! Love!)

I love Zippy’s skin. And, in fact, I’m oftentimes envious of his dark skin. The kid looks beautiful in every single thing I put on him. Every color’s a great color for him! When you’re a pasty-white mama like me, you have to pick and choose what colors to wear because so many of them look flat-out yucky.

Also, and far bigger than learning to care for skin and hair, there is the constant feeling of just being different. Just when you think no one in the family notices, someone says something that reminds you that one of us looks (outwardly) different than the rest. It is usually a low-impact, doesn’t-really-matter-in-the-whole-scheme-of-things conversation, but still I think those thoughts and conversations have to add up eventually to at least a few big ol’ pity parties for the one who’s different. Ya know?

For example, did you know that rolling your tongue is a genetic trait?? Yes. The only way you can roll your tongue like the model to the left is if one of your parents can roll theirs. And who could’ve figured that an 11-year-old boy would see tongue rolling as a great talent and would be sorely disappointed to learn that he was the only one in the household who couldn’t do it. His disappointment certainly increased when he saw that “even Chloe can do it!!” Yes, being different is hard and sometimes disappointing.

Apparently the length of your tongue is genetic, too. I promise a photo at some point, but just suffice it to say that Paul, Elliot, and Chloe can all touch their noses with their tongues and still have some tongue to spare! I think Paul’s family tree has a giraffe up there somewhere because it is a common trait in his family. Seriously. But Zippy has a short tongue and feels totally left out. His relief is that at least I am left out of that amazing trait, too. (I am absolutely loving that photo to the right!! LOL!)

And the most recent disappointment for Zippy being different: his curly hair won’t stick up with the static of a balloon. Now that’s a big disappointment for a boy who loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh. Thankfully he had quite a ball rubbing all of our heads and cracking up at the sticking-up hair. He wondered if someday when he straightened his hair if it would stick up nice and tall like Chloe’s. I told him I thought not. And we set out looking for more odd tricks that he can do!

For the record, Zippy does the best cartwheel in the family — by a long shot. He does the best flips– frontward and backward! And I think he has the best and most contagious laugh of the family. He can fit the most marshmallows in his mouth; he can fit the most pizza in his mouth. He can pretty much fit an entire plateful of dinner in his mouth at one time, and none of the rest of us can claim to do that with any success. He can surely be proud of those things! 🙂

Another good difference that Zippy has found: he very much prefers the color of his own earwax compared to the color of Elliot’s. Ha! What can I say? Boys will be boys, and brothers will be brothers…


One response to this post.

  1. Wonderful piece, Kelly. Zippy has, without argument, one of my favorite laughs. Absolutely delightful.


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