I'm kind of in an opposite situation.
I'm American and my dh is French but we're both Jewish. In fact, my family's origins are from near here and there is a remote chance that we're distantly related (the closest would be that my kids are their own 5th cousins...)
I'm blond so people assume I'm not Jewish and that we're a mixed couple. The kids look like my dh, dark and I actually look unrelated to them. We gave them Israeli, rather than French or "American" names. Also, confusing is that my kids don't have an accent in either language. Yes, a problem in both countries as in French, I have an accent while they don't. In the U.S., they pass normally but then start fighting in French. Sigh.
So I'm asked all the time
where we're from, what the story is, etc. I prefer that they ask and get the story straight
rather than assume something else and then say something nonsensical. My favorite was when someone told me that I could only take my daughter home once they called the mother... I like when they say "Oh, so you're husband is Jewish". Then I have to awkwardly add "...and so am I".
I don't think that parents should be cagey or dicey with their child's story. Okay, maybe not spill out every detail but sometimes people ask for a reason. Sometimes they have relative in the States (lots of immigration to the U.S. from this part of France, esp. in the Jewish community). Sometimes they've been to the States or whatever. Some are Jewish, or part, too and just feel the need to tell me.
I used to live in Hong Kong and have travelled thorughout Asia. There are a lot of Asian adopted kids here and sometimes I do ask. Often because I can see that they're curious about us too! I'll tell the child that I've been to their country, how they have beautiful this or that, etc. I then try to ask something "French" like what grade they are in school. I kind of like showing an adopted child that they're not the only ones who have a story.
My kids go to an ethnically mixed school. Sometimes I've been out in public with one of their friends and I'm surprised how often I get asked about a child who isn't
mine. It's like the barrier is down. "Yes, he dad is French and her mom is Moroccan" "Her dad is Laotian and her mom is English" etc. Then it's usually followed by a positive comment, like how beautiful she is, etc.
What I hate is when people say "half". My children especially aren't "half" anything. They have both, full nationalities. In our case, they're not even half "French" being of no "Gallic" background at all (the ethnic origin of the majority of French but not in our area). Sometimes I'll say they're half "Alsatian" but they're really Jewish-Alsatian so that's not really the same.
I would say for example, "half-Japanese". What I really hate is when people use "American" instead of "white" as in "half-American, half-Japanese". I have a Japanese girlfriend who married a Japanese American. Their children are both nationalities and full Japanese background.
Also, "Caucasian" which is technically a part of Eastern Europe. It also isn't strictly "white" including the ME and parts of South Asia. I'm not really comfortable with using a term referring to facial features specifically.http://www.answers.com/topic/caucasian-race-1
Some nationalities can't be passed to children, usually do to various rules, which is a shame but not necessarily a problem. I'm careful to make the distinction between nationality and ethnic origin.
Yes, it's a little confusing for the kids. Their identities are intact but to add to the confusion, my husband has American relatives. Some family immigrated decades ago and then a cousin also married an American. So they've met American cousins on their dad's side.
We get out maps, which the children love. You were born here, I was born there, this is where your grandparents live, etc. They liked the fact that they can live and work in so many places.