Adoptive Dad 23: But I’m Not Like You

Dear Josiah,

My little Jai Jai, adoption is something that is still not understood very well these days. Adoption is not common. So, one day when you go to school, some of your schoolmates or friends might ask you questions that could bother you. They aren’t being mean. They just don’t understand. Some of your friends may ask you, “Why don’t you look like your daddy?” They may say, “I look like my daddy. People say I have his eyes.” You might feel bothered, maybe even hurt, and wonder, “Why don’t I look like Dada?” You might say, “Dada, I don’t have your eyes. Mine are rounder and yours are narrower. Dada, I don’t have your hair. Your hair is black and straight, and mine is brown and curly. Dada, I don’t have your nose. Your nose is bigger. I don’t have your eyebrows. Yours are bushy and mine are thin. I don’t have your height. I’m going to be so much taller than you. (And you will be). I don’t have your color. You’re darker and I’m lighter. You look Chinese, and I don’t.” I know one day you will likely have these questions about your differences from me. And they are all true. Our differences may make you feel bad and that you would want to have the same traits as your Dada as other kids do with their daddies.

But I will say to you, “Jai Jai, you have Dada’s corky laugh and silly sense of humor. You might not have Dada’s mouth, but you have Dada’s cheesy smile. You don’t have my arms and legs, but you have my silly dance moves. You’re affectionate like I am. You love to love like I do. You like superheroes like I do.  You like books, comics, and cartoons, like I do (or maybe I like them like you do!).  You like art, painting, and drawing like I do. You like martial arts like I do.  You like ketchup like I do.  You have my curiosity and will explore everything. You have my imagination and will dream up anything. You have my spirit and will live life as an adventure.  You have my faith, as even now you like to learn about God.  You love your Mama like I do. You do outrageous things that drive your Mama nuts like I do.  And yes, you will grow up to be different from me in many ways, and that’s okay, because you will become your own person.  In whatever ways we are alike or not, you are my son and will always be.  But I do want you to be different from me in one way, that you would be a far greater man than me.”

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