January 14, 2013

A Little Help from Kung Fu Panda

A week back, during our vacation in Thailand, Adi watched the movie Kung Fu Panda. As he was watching it, I told him that Kung Fu Panda was adopted by his dad. The next day as we were sitting in the airport I asked him if he liked the movie. He said yes and then went on to narrate some incidents from the movie. And then I bought up the topic of adoption again and told him that Kung Fu Panda was adopted and that's why he looked different from his Dad. Told him that his Dad loved him so much and that it doesn't really matter if a child is biological or adopted. And then Adi tells me "That's why I have dark brown skin - because my mother and father had dark brown skin" - simple and straight forward!! And he wasn't really fussed about it - just stated it as a matter of fact. And I said "yes, maybe". That's it, end of conversation!!

And to think that I could never bring myself to state this fact when Adi had issues about his skin color being dark. The issue came up when we were in the UK (when he was 2 years old) when most of his friends were "white" and then he said we were "light brown" and only he was "dark brown". We explained it by saying that everyone had a different skin color and I had to keep repeating that we love his "chocolate" color. Since then, I have refused to use sun screen when out in the sun, preferring to let my skin tan and get as close to dark brown as I could. As time went by, he grew comfortable with his color and the issue came up only once more when we returned to India. We had a wedding function to go to the same day of our return and on our way there Adi said " Will they laugh when they see my dark brown color?". Told him that many of his Uncles, Aunts, Brothers and Sisters had dark brown skin as well and he was happy and since then it has not been an issue - or atleast it has not been mentioned.

And now Kung Fu Panda seems to have given him the correct explanation. Maybe Adi was too little at that time for us to give him the right answer. He didn't know the word "adopted" then. Maybe if he asked us now I would have told him that he would have got his color from his birth parents. But does it matter - he knows now and is comfortable knowing the truth so I guess its really ok. Sometimes answers come from  the things around you and as long as it is understood and accepted - life is good.