“Are you Irish?” I don’t know.

Picture-019Andee Bateman,
Noblesville, IN.

As an adoptee with flaming red hair, I was asked this question frequently. I found out at 47 that I am not – my biological relatives are from Wales and Norway. In the meantime, I wore the ‘red-headed-step-child’ moniker like a badge. I was loud, round, sassy and nothing like my svelte, demure female relatives that were genetically related to each other and devoutly relgious. I married an Englishman, who is also adopted, and we named our children Connor, Padraig and Finn. We have since found out that he is mixed race Asian/British, probably out of India or Pakistan, so we have a unique mix all around. As I have taught my kids about how the Irish were persecuted in early American history, much as Muslim American’s are persecuted right now, I hope that they learn and understand that it is never ok to make that judgement about people. Even though they look positvely garden variety white, it is my goal to teach them that at many points in time, they could have been on the receiving end of this kind of prejudice just because of some random genetic markers – and that is not ok. My oldest son has posted the humanist principles on his wall, and he champions the bullied kids at middle school. I guess we are doing it right.

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