I can never have my mother's eyes or my father's laugh. The Pakistani and Floridian blood of generations doesn't have a trace in my veins. My skin is twenty shades darker than my mothers, and five shades lighter than my fathers. I am a Middle Eastern—a Pakistani girl raised in a multicultural family. I am a transracial adoptee.
Every summer, my mom's side of the family goes to New Smyrna Beach for a family reunion, and this has been happening for at least 20 years. I am the only tan person there until all my cousins start sitting out in the sun. While they are sitting out in the sun, I am sitting under the umbrella because if I sit in the sun I get darker, they just burn. One thing that I always think about when talking about the family reunion at the beach is my grandmother.
My grandmother was one of the most influential people in my life. She worked until January 10th, 2011 the week that she died. Working at age 86 full time and living alone in a scary area in Sanford, FL – she was a very busy person, and never liked to sit down to take a break. She was a beautiful woman that didn't look a day over 60. One thing that my grandmother said was that no matter what color skin I had, I was still chosen to be part of this family. Skin-tone didn't matter, personality did. One thing I can say is that I couldn't fit into a better family.
At the beach, my grandma, in particular, loved to put together jigsaw puzzles since she couldn't walk down to the beach. She loved the jigsaw puzzles with beautiful pictures and a large number of pieces. That was one of the many things that made my grandma happy. Another thing that made her happy was seeing her family together sitting on the beach grilling hot dogs, playing catch, and just having fun. My mom always asked her how she should bring up the topic of adoption. But nobody knew how to help my mom because I was the first adoptee in the family.
The conversation came along one morning around 10 am when I was sitting in my room. I was around 10 years old, and I pretty much already knew that I was adopted, but I was never really told by my parents. It was a very emotional and awkward conversation. I had started to ask questions about parents a couple days prior to the conversation. So they asked what my questions were, and the first question was if they knew who my real parents were.
“No, we don’t have any records of who your parents are,” my mom said.
The next question asked was “Well, how did you find me if you were in Florida and I was in Pakistan?”
“Your Grandmother knew that we were looking for a child, and the doctor's office called, saying that there was a premature baby girl, covered in mosquito bites sitting on his office doorstep this morning, and she looked like the perfect match for our family.”
One minute you're abandoned on a doctor's office doorstep in a third world country, and the next you're in a private school in Orlando, Florida. Most people would be surprised to hear this story because I fit into my family better than anyone else ever would. Out of all the crazy families I could have been put into anywhere in the world, I’m thankful that I was put into this one.