What color is Zoe?


Those eyes

I haven’t really talked about this with a whole lot of people.  In fact, mostly just my husband.

When we first started dating in 2004, I was 23 and optimistic; yet, very aware that bi-racial relationships weren’t that common, especially where we lived in upstate NY.  Walking hand-in-hand in the mall, I was always on the lookout to see if people were staring at us.  Now 8 years later and living in Los Angeles, that just seems funny.  But back then I was also more self-conscious than I am now.  I’ve come a long way… or so I thought.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t help but wonder what shade my baby would be.  I have very fair skin – my husband says I’m translucent.  His skin is medium brown like milk chocolate.  Would my baby be somewhere in between?  Fun to think about, except I worried if people would wonder if she was mine.  Then I felt bad about it – who cares what people think?  Maybe I’m just a little too sensitive.  But I couldn’t shake it.  A while ago, I read an article in a magazine about a mom who was mistaken for the babysitter on a regular basis.  Would that happen to me?

Fast forward to her birth– after her first breath, the greyish blue tint left and we could see that she was as light as me.  Her skin color didn’t look like she was mixed race at all.  You could definitely tell that she shared physical features with my husband, but not from her shading.  Our friends who visited us at the hospital teased by asking if there was something I needed to tell them.

I honestly wasn’t expecting this scenario.  In my naivety, I didn’t know that mixed babies could be this light.  I mean, look at Seal and Heidi Klum’s kids.  Granted Seal is a lot darker than my husband.  I, at least, thought her skin would be darker than mine.  Early on my husband would comment that she looked darker that day – then the next he said she was as white as me again.  We even asked the doctor if her skin would change.  He said by 9 months her eyes, skin, and hair would be pretty much set.

Gotta protect that fair skin

I recently asked my husband if when he takes Zoe places without me, does he wonder if people question whether Zoe is his.  He said it crossed his mind, but he doesn’t worry about it like I did.

Many people have told us that she looks like both of us.  No one has really said anything out loud about her color.  Is it taboo?  I guess… I probably wouldn’t bring it up if it was someone else’s baby.  But I have made comments to people about Zoe’s skin.  I have mentioned that I thought she would be darker.  I just haven’t told anyone how much I thought about it before.

Big Z and little Z

My husband and I discuss what it’s going to be like for Zoe.  By the time she’s in school, will kids ask about her parents and what color she is?  If we’re still in LA, I’m sure it won’t be an issue.  But what if we were still in Atlanta?  What types of people will she date?  Will she even notice color?

My hope is that one day, as bi-racial marriage rates continue to grow, mixed kids won’t even have to think about or deal with any color issues.  I know racism still exists – thankfully, it has not affected us.

A long time ago, before I was even dating my husband, a member of my family made a comment about mixed babies that I can’t forget.  It bothered me then and still does a little.  Neither of us could have guessed my future.  I doubt that family member even remembers the comment.  You never know the impact and power your words have to help or harm.

Through exposure and experience people’s hearts and minds can soften.  Our society has come a long way.  I mean – we have a President that’s mixed!  I am continuously learning to pay attention to much more than just the color of someone’s skin.  I thought I was “advanced” because I am a social worker.  Life is a better teacher.  I rarely catch myself worrying anymore – I am too overwhelmed with the love and joy I feel when I look at my husband and daughter.

She looks a little darker than me here
at about 2 weeks old



  1. Thanks for sharing! My husband is dark also(puert rican) and we have 4
    children together. 3 of them are very white like me with red hair.
    2 can tan the other two are my clones! LOl I enjoyed your story and had the
    same fears, but in the end all that matters is our love for our babies!!

    • Thanks, Traci! I wonder what our future children will look like too! And I would love to adopt someday… You’re right – all that truly matters is love. It’s funny how those fears pop up.

  2. Jen and Z… ya both look great glad to see u bith happy and healthy baby is
    beautiful. Never care what anyone else thinks when they look at you guys…as long as your happy and healthy.. well thats all that matters..
    I am dating a woman with a mixed baby as well and I could care less about what people think.. :)a Miss you guys hope to see ya again some day.


    • Thanks, Kevin! I have to remind myself not to care what others think. It’s hard. I appreciate your encouragement. Hope you see you at the next reunion!

  3. My husband is darker, Eastern European, and I expected our children to be at little darker as well but they are blonde and very, very white. I’ve had some relatives say that they were surprised at their “coloring” (which I thought was kind of a strange word choice). Actually when my husband moved to the US he asked me, “Am I still considered white here? Since he is much lighter than other people in his country.

    I’ll share an experience that was ignorance on my part. I pick my daughter up from school every day and there is a woman who also picks up her daughter. The woman is blonde and white. Her daughter is black. Since adoption has been a very big part of my life experience, I assumed that her daughter was adopted and almost said something to her about it. But then one day her husband came to pick up their daughter and I saw that he was black. I wondered how many people had made the same assumption I had.

    • Hi Sara, Thanks for sharing. One of my husband’s European friends from grad school asked if she was considered white too. So interesting. I never thought about that before.

      I’ve made assumptions too… once in Atlanta (pre Zoe) we drove by an older black woman with a white kid and I thought she was the nanny. But my husband was like – she could be her grandmother. I doubted; but now it would be the same with Zoe and my MIL.

  4. Lol when my husband and I had our first son he was translucent now he’s 9 and is a beautiful dark caramel color. He started getting Color at the age of two. You’ll see every summer they get darker and darker no matter what kind of sun block you use. all three of our kids come out so light and then by the age of four they are caramel and they all have blueish green eyes.
    We are the human race!

    • Hi Nicole, thanks for sharing! I’ve noticed that Zoe seems to tan pretty well too. It’s funny because I try to keep her covered, but I think it’s just from being in the car and the couple minutes we’re outside without sunblock.

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  6. I absolutely loved this post. I too have 2 bi-racial children. They do not look like me at all. I’m fair like you & my husband is middle-eastern & medium colored I guess, not dark though. This was just totally relatable & I think Zoe is beautiful.

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