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The Boy Who Really Didn’t See Color

April 12, 2022

When our family moves into a new neighborhood we tend to stand out. And not just because we have thirteen children. Three of my children are white. Three are Asian. Seven of them are black.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of adoption in our country that it’s much easier to adopt children of color than to adopt white children. Maybe it’s because I was adopted by my stepfather, but adoption never seemed like a big deal to me. Oh sure, the expense IS a big deal. It costs about $25,000 or more to adopt a child.

When we decided to adopt we had two children and would soon welcome our third. I asked my best friend about adoption. See, he’s black and while my first adoptions were Asian, we were considering all races, and that included black kids, of course.

Do you have any concerns with us being able to raise black kids?

You? No. But, I do have some advice.

Oh?

Don’t teach them to be colorblind. The world isn’t colorblind.

I’ve tried to follow my friends advice. We have tried to make sure our children are comfortable with their race and honor their heritage. (They were born in five different countries.)

My kids weren’t perfect. They teased each other as siblings will do. But, for the most part we did a reasonable job, I think.

And we live in a great neighborhood, with great kids. We’ve been here nearly 10 years. My younger kids pretty much grew up here.

My wanted to play football in high school. When he was about 15 years old he was talking to his friend, Gary. My son was worried about being big enough to play football.

I hope I’m tall when I grow up.

I think you’ll tall.

Why do you say that?

Because I’ve met both your parents and they’re tall.

This is a picture of my son.

Elder Andrew Bliss in Philadelphia

My son Andrew on his mission in Philadelphia

This is a picture of me.

Rodney Bliss

When did I get to be so old?

Here’s a picture of the three of us.

Andrew Bliss with his parents Rodney and Annie Bliss

He did not quite match the height of his parents.

My son just looked at his friend.

Dude, I’m adopted.

My son teased his friend, of course. But, I’ve often thought about that exchange. My son’s friend didn’t have a friend who was black. He had a friend. He didn’t see the Bliss’s a multiracial family. He saw them as a family who lived on his block.

I’ve often heard people say they “Don’t see color.” But, I’ve only actually met one person that I didn’t see color. He was a 15 year old boy – a friend of my son.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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2 Comments
  1. Patricia permalink

    Loved it. I think part of it is getting to personally know someone. Then they are not tall or short or black or… or big ears or or. They just become themselves. Our Uncle Dean in our family. Kind of ugly I guess but we stopped noticing that and just saw the guy we were always glad to be around.

    • It’s like the old therapy joke, “I might be in denial. . .but how would I know?” People become more than the sum of their looks and features. The person who truly doesn’t see color doesn’t KNOW that he doesn’t see color. It’s kind of like a person saying, “I’ve noticed I don’t have a terrible pain in my knee.” Why would you say that if you DIDN’T have a pain in your knee?

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