Families that match…

January 4, 2007 at 8:43 pm 6 comments

There is something cute about the family that looks alike. When I see a family in an advertisement and everyone looks the same … I need no explanation .. I immediately think “they are related.” The ad doesn’t need to explain who is who or identify them all as related – we just know. Even though we also know they are just models and probably not biologically related at all. But we’ve been trained to identify what “family” looks like. A mother and a father and a little kid who looks half of each parent. These are the “nice families.”

Feeding on this same issue is families who dress alike for family portraits. Or the kids are dressed in the same outfit. As if to emphasize the “matching” part which makes them cute – makes them obviously related. In browsing through forums for adoptive parents – I found it strange that somany of the photos showed this matching garb phenomenon. White sister and Asian brother dressed to match. Black sister and white brothers matching. It stops me – I think it would stop most people – and we take a second look. Would a regular on-looker, someone not connected to adoption, see these kids and their matching garb and think “oh they are related!” Probably not.

I hate to admit it, but when I see transracial families dressed alike in a family picture I don’t have the same reaction as I do when I see the “cute family” in those ads – even though I DO think my own (transracial) family matches and is “cute” together. I do wonder – if adoptive parents of “mixed” kids (meaning some of one race, others of another race) do the matching dress more often as a compensation.

Before I left the states I saw a Hospice commercial on TV that I often think about. It’s a grandfather blowing out his birthday candles. Birthday cone hat on his head and his asian granddaughter on his lap. How did I know that was the scenario? Nothing on the commercial said that he is her grandfather and they are related. So why did I make that conclusion? Is it just me… product of a transracial family … who made that assumption? It was a cute commercial and I often think about it – wishing more companies would be that bold.


Entry filed under: Adoption.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sue  |  January 5, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I don’ t often dwell on it but I admit to occasional waves of jealousy and resentment when I see families that so obviously match up.

    When we dress alike it is in clothing from her heritage and I feel awkward, though she is still at an age where she loves it. If and when it ever embarrasses her , my cross-dressing” will be over.

    For me, it is about trying to connect, but if I look deep, I can see that it is also as a way to compensate. And yet it only seems to drive the differences in deeper. There isn’t really any way to fix it, is there?

  • 2. papa2hapa  |  January 5, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    i wish I saw this commercial. the closest thing I ever see to mixed families is on pbs.

  • 3. HeatherRainbow  |  January 6, 2007 at 11:11 am

    I often wonder about the matching for adoptive parents with mixed children, too. Sometimes it doesn’t always look good… because we all have different colors which look good on us… and it doesn’t always work out that way.

  • 4. Patricia  |  January 8, 2007 at 1:08 am

    I (a white mom) often dress to match my Chinese daughter. I started it because I read that it can help with attachment. My daughter is a very energetic 2 year old and always attracts a lot of attention wherever we go, but I have a special place in my heart for the comments we get when we are dressed the same that make it clear that people notice that we belong together.

    BTW – Walmart had a commercial a couple of years ago that showed lots of shoppers in succession – including a white mom and Asian daughter.

  • 5. Mo  |  January 19, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    I’ve never really thought about matching. Perhaps because in some very odd way, I believe that my family does match. We don’t look much alike. My parents are White. My mother is short and my father is tall. My sister and I are both adopted, but we look very different. I have fair skin and am bigger boned. My sister is tiny and has very dark skin. When it counts, we move as a unit…to me that is matching.

  • 6. Grace  |  January 20, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    I thought you’d find this story interesting.

    I recently found out a shocking fact about a dear friend of mine. This pink-skinned woman with green eyes and frothy aubrun hair, raised in the “Mainline” of Philadelphia, has an older, black brother. Handsome, too, I might add. In my ‘sensitivity’ to families who come together in different ways, I assumed he was the adopted older brother and she the second birthed child of this advantaged white family. She recently told me that he is her full brother.


    It is no joke. Her very white looking father and (deceased) mother were both pale off-springs of multi-cultural parents. They in turn produced a son who took on the darker features of their African relations, while my friend, bore all the light European features of the other half.

    True story.


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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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