We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

At the stroke of midnight

Today, while Mr. Four stayed home to catch up on some missed sleep from a very early morning with Bug, I took Bug and Giggle out for some swim and play time. Usually when we take a taxi, I sit in the back with the boys (car seats are not part of life here in Egypt, so the three of us fit easily). Today, I had so much stuff I decided to sit up front while the boys sat in the back. Perhaps this encouraged the taxi driver to be extra chatty (usually the conversation isn’t much more than a hello and how are you, if that).

He said, “Are they your children?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “But they are black.”
I said, “Yes, and they are my children.”
He said, “Is your husband black?”
I said, “No.”

He didn’t ask anything else. I’m sure that was all clear as mud to him, eh?

At the pool, I mentioned this story to my pal Cindy, who said someone here in Egypt, trying to understand her relationship with Maya, asked if Maya had been “born at the stroke of midnight.”

Who knew that pale skinned parents could have brown skinned children if they’re born at the right moment? Apparently, some Egyptians know this. I did not.

The other moral of this story is thank goodness for Maya’s family. We’d be lost in Egypt without them.

28 March 2008 - Posted by | adoption, family, race


  1. Is adoption common in Egypt? I can imagine him trying to figure out how a pale woman has dark kids — seems a natural question. At least he didn’t ask you what time they were born!

    Comment by Your sister | 29 March 2008

  2. Adoption is not common in Egypt because Islam doesn’t really recognize adoption. Fostering, yes, even long term fostering, but not adoption.

    As for asking me what time they were born: Cindy got asked that question in Arabic. So maybe he did ask me! There are some benefits to not knowing the language: apparently we miss a lot of racist comments.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 29 March 2008

  3. I realized I should explain this better for folks not familiar with how adoptive families sometimes deal with this issues.

    I respond differently to questions like this depending on whether the boys are with me. If they are, my concern is for them, not for satisfying some stranger’s curiousity. I’ll react in a way that I want them to hear: yes, they are my sons. Of course they are. And that’s what I want them to know. They know we have different skin tones, and they know why.

    If the boys weren’t around, I’d be more inclined to explain it, if the person was well-meaning and asked kindly. But there’s so much racism and colorism here that questions are not always meant kindly.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 29 March 2008

  4. I have 2 ask..why r u in Egypt? I’ve read ur blog occassionally and for the most part, you don’t really enjoy or fit in with the culture or the predominant religion, Islam.

    Why would you stay somewhere that you consider somewhat racist? You spend most of the time with expats. It doesn’t make much sense.

    Comment by anonymous | 29 March 2008

  5. Anonymous (whom I suspect is the same person who snarked at me last fall), I have to wonder why you read my blog if you don’t like what I have to say.

    In any case, even though I think you don’t really want to know the answer, and might only want to snark, I’m going to answer your questions in a another post.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 30 March 2008

  6. […] on Reading my way through Africa…Jack on Reading my way through Africa…Ms. Four on At the stroke of midnightrebekah on Reading my way through […]

    Pingback by Why are we here? « We Four in Egypt | 31 March 2008

  7. Deleted content… it’s my blog, so play nice.

    Comment by anonymous | 31 March 2008

  8. HAHA! why are you in Egypt is a question I ask myself all the time as a black woman! You’ve noted the Egyptians obsession with colour before, its much worse when you are the object of their scorn. i applaud you for trying to race 2 healthy black children in a culture that derides darker complexions. I recently wrote a post about this:http://bit.ly/cHz93h

    Comment by BlackinCairo | 10 June 2010

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