A Review: “I Don’t Have Your Eyes” by Carrie A. Kitze
When I took my eldest child to the pediatrician for a check-up as a newborn baby, the nurse looked at the infant carrier at my son, looked up at my husband, looked at me, and then said, “Sorry, maybe the next one will look like you.” I always thought that was sort of a funny remark to make, as if I so loved the way I look that I’d want my children to all be clones of me.
With three blond biological children and my head of dark brown hair, I always joked that my Chinese daughter would be the child who looks most like me. But, even with our dark hair, we very obviously look different. When we’re at home just doing life, I really don’t think about it. But, when we’re at the grocery store or shopping at the mall, I am reminded of how different we look. We draw a lot more attention than I ever got when I shopped with any of the other children.
Our youngest daughter is only a toddler now, seemingly unaware of our physical differences. But, there may come a time in a few years when she is unsettled about how different she looks and asks questions about how or why we are different. And, if she does, I want to be prepared to answer her.
We will talk to her about our own insecurities and how we have struggled with how God made us. We will share with her how God has helped us through that and how He continues to. We will encourage her that He is the one who made her and that there is nothing about her that is a mistake. And, we will assure her that we love everything about her—how she is different from us and how she is like us.
A helpful children’s book to follow that conversation could be I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze. The book recognizes the differences between parent and child—eyes, ears, nose, hair, hands, knees, feet, toes, height, smile, voice, face, skin. But, also points out what is similar, those things that we share because we love each other and are part of each other—the same way of hearing those in need, the same way of gently touching others, the same way of giving thanks on our knees. The message of the book is this: it’s what is on the inside that matters most. The book ends with, “I don’t look like you on the outside but I look inside and in our hearts we are the same.” At a young age, this may be all Lydia needs. But, I think I’d want to follow it with one more thing—even when we don’t see eye to eye, even when our way of doing things are very different, even when you feel like our hearts are not the same (as children adopted or biological are certain to feel at some point), we love you; we want you with us; we are thankful for you; and we will walk with you always. Not a bad message for my biological kids too, don’t you think?
Think about it. Talk about it.
If your child looks physically different from you or siblings, when did he or she notice that and ask about it?
Do you look different from your family of origin? Was that an issue to you growing up or as an adult?
How have you celebrated your similarities and differences as a family?
This book has been used in a positive way in schools. Consider buying it for your children’s classroom and downloading the actiivity that goes along with it here.
Kelly is a stay-at-home mom/manager of a bunch of little ones (3 blond biological kids age 8, 6, and 4 and 1 dark haired girl from China, age 17 months) she’s hoping stay little for a while longer. She is a part-time editor and part-time blog-surfing junkie, always on the lookout for good resources and essays to post on this site. You can learn more about their adoption story as well as follow day-to-day life on their personal blog.