Was My biological Dad Tall?

I knew the questions would come. When you adopt the questions are always there, just waiting for the right time to be asked. For our boys who were adopted at the ages of four and five from Liberia, Africa the questions have come sooner and more often. They vary in intensity, and importance, and they often correlate with something that is happening in their lives at the time. We have always been very open about the adoption, when you have caucasian parents and two caucasian siblings it is not something you can avoid.

Everywhere you go you tend to stick out, and so not only do you have questions about your history, but everyone else wants to know too. Christian has a very shy personality with a strong desire to blend. This is next to impossible in the very white town we live in. Christian would like to fly under the radar but his athletic talents make this a pipe dream as well. Christian’s biggest desire right now is to grow taller. If he could change one thing about himself it would be his height. Christian is fifteen and five seven, maybe five eight if he had an afro.

“How tall was my birth mom?” he implores over and over wanting my answer to change. Christian, she was not very tall, but you know your whole family was so malnutritioned and they never had a chance to reach their genetic potential. “Well what about my biological dad?” Oh honey, I have no idea. He was already dead when we were in Liberia to get you, and this was not a question I thought to ask about. I am sorry, I just don’t know. “It’s not fair, do you think I will still grow? Do you think I am done?” he desperately asks.

I want to wrap him in my arms and hold him tightly until the pain of this growing up thing ends. I want to tell him I think he is going to have another growth spurt, I want to tell him we can put him on a stretching rack or give him a magic pill. I want to tell him it will be okay. He knows all the right answers, ‘you need to work with what you have been given’ ‘If you focus on what you do not have you will never fully become what you can be’ ‘There are professional football and basketball players that are small’ ‘You just have to work harder and be better in other ways’ ‘God made you this way, and I think you are pretty great’. These things he has been told for years. These are not the answers he wants.

I knew the questions would come. Life as an adopted child is not easy and the teenage years are especially hard. Still, I find it ironic, comforting, sad, and even a bit humorous that the question that lays on his heart, is not one that is unique to be adopted. It is not about being black in a white family, why his mom gave him up, who he is as a black man in this white world. Those will come, I know. Today though, he wants to know why he is not taller, if he will get taller, if by some miracle he will still grow. It is a typical adolescent issue with a typical mom answer, “ I don’t know, but I love you!” Christian rolls his eyes, avoids my hug and hustles outside to practice his shot.

post script: This picture was taken last night after he was the only freshman to get a varsity letter in Basketball


7 Comments so far
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Three things…an afro might get in the way of basketball or anything where sweat pouring down your face might be an issue. TWO…lose that “growing up in a white world” language. I always had to KNOW I live in God’s Universe. NO matter what it LOOKED like to anyone else! AND no matter WHAT anyone else told me (Black American, btw)! He’s got his family (plus) on his side. REALITY, as is beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. THREE! You are awesome, and I am so proud of you! But what do I know, really?

Comment by Anonymous

oops…Wanda Myles, btw.

Comment by Anonymous

First of all, thank you for your continued support and sense of humor, I get the whole world thing, did not mean any offense but have felt like he is very black in our non diverse town which he has mentioned. And three thanks for posting again that it was from you because I had no idea and was worried I had pissed someone off 🙂 Love you

Comment by Kari

I love that THIS is the topic CJ is most worried about. If it’s any encouragement to him, my brother was 5’6 until his Jr year of high school and then shot up another six inches. My mom is 5’2 and no indication of what his height would be. =)

Love that letter!

Comment by Alissa


Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate your support. Christian is just in a place where nothing really consoles him about this. I am trying not be a fixer but you know us mom’s lol.

Comment by Kari

Hi Kawi,

UMass point guard, Chas Williams, is knocking everyones socks off leading the team to NIT victories. He is a sophmore and maybe 5’8″. Christian may want to check him out.

Comment by MA Swedlund


Thanks for the support and comment, he is very aware of Chas and other players but still just wants to be taller. Have a good day and thanks for continuing to read my blog!

Comment by Kari

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