My son is not like me

He is brown, I am not

We are not alike that way

We stand in the mirror together with our difference

Sometimes it’s hard to seex


I forget we are different together

In the grocery store he coos up at the fans in the ceiling

I make funny noises at him

In the coffee shop I give him a bottle

And toss him over my shoulder to pat him on the back

He doesn’t feel different, he doesn’t act different


My son is not like me

We draw more attention than if he were like me

More than if he were just a baby and I were just a dad

Bad attention does not happen often

But sometimes too much attention of any sort

Is bad attention


We are different

That is part of the adoption equation

We may share the things that fathers pass to their sons

The things that are learned

But we will never share the things that make us essentially part of the same life


My son is not like me

Sometimes I wonder if we are wired

To look down into a bassinet and see ourselves

Am I also wired to project myself upon him?

Because I am an adoptive father, will that make me deficient?

Because I am white, will that make me inept?

Because I am not his birth parent, will I strive to be something that is forever beyond me?


My son will not look like me

We will be different together on his first day of kindergarten

He will be asked about me—why is your daddy white?

I will be asked about him—where is he from?

We will both find a way to mind the questions

And learn to find the answers