MEET THE QUINTERO-ADAMS FAMILY:
Chris Adams, age 47
German, Irish and English
Lisa Quintero Adams, age 44
½ Korean, ¼ Puerto Rican, ¼ Cuban
Caitlyn Adams, age 18
A little of everything listed above! Lol.
Summer Adams, age 13
A little of everything listed above! Lol.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Kyle, TX (suburb outside of Austin)
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
When I (Lisa) was a junior in high school at the International School of Düsseldorf in Germany, my older sister, Rose, came home for Christmas her freshmen year from the University of Texas. She is two years older than me. Rose shared a photo album to show me what her first semester of college was like. I noticed a picture of a cute blonde guy. He was also a musician, which was a plus for me! It was Chris. :) I told my sister I thought he was super hot. She said if I graduated from high school and ended up in Texas, she would introduce me. Well, two years later, I ended up in college in Austin. I went to a party with a friend when by surprise, I met Chris. We hit it off, but remained friends because I was dating someone else. But after a couple of months and by a strange coincidence, Chris ended up at my boyfriend’s birthday party when a mutual friend invited him. Long story short, my boyfriend was not being very polite to me that evening and Chris noticed. He took me away from that situation that evening and we have been together ever since. November 4, 2016 will mark 27 years together and March 9, 2016 was our 21st wedding anniversary.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Chris’ parents were not very encouraging about our relationship in the beginning. However, time and children, more often than not, overcome any differences. We are a very close family on both sides and I'm grateful for that. Our parents are good friends, too. As a matter of fact, my in-laws just built their new home five minutes away from my parents! :)
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?
Although I am proud to be Puerto Rican and Cuban, I relate more to my Korean side, especially with tradition. Every New Year’s day, we celebrate with a Korean traditional “bowing” ceremony called Seh-Bae. The families all get together and dine on traditional Korean foods that my mother prepares mixed with American dishes, too. The young bow to their elders as they say, “Saehae bok manee badesaeyo.” After some words of wisdom from the elders, an envelope with a sum of money is given to the kid. Sometimes I would bank hundreds of dollars! Now that I am older and married, I have to pass out envelopes. I miss being on the recipient side!!! Lol. But I know that my daughters will continue this tradition with their own children one day. And Chris and I will be passing envelopes down to our grandchildren.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?
Although my parents always spoiled us and gave us wonderful Christmases, we did not traditionally hang stockings, leave oats and carrots out for the reindeer and receive unwrapped gifts under the tree that were supposedly from Santa Claus. When we get together with Chris’ family for Christmas, it's usually for 2-3 days since we all live far away from each other. So on Christmas Eve, everyone lays out their stockings in the family room. Each family comes out one at a time to stuff them. Each person is responsible for getting a prize for every family member’s stocking. It's usually candies or small trinkets. It’s fun to go through the stocking and see what surprises you find.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
Kyle, Texas is a suburb of Austin and has a very diverse population. Comprised of Hispanics as a majority, there are other population groups including Caucasian, Asian and African-American that are well represented.
DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?
We speak English in our home, but our daughters do know several phrases in Korean and continue to learn the language as they pick up words here and there from our family. Our youngest daughter is presently learning Spanish.
IS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?
Yes. Chris is very close to my family and extended family members and vice versa.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
Chris about Lisa: I enjoy the close family and cultural ties that are present not only during celebrations, but in everyday life.
Lisa about Chris: I appreciate the Southern roots of Chris’ family. They host annual family reunions where food entails BBQ, BBQ and more BBQ. It’s a lot different from our Korean reunions where the dishes include a lot of Kimbap, kimchi, Bulgogi and a lot of watermelon.
DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?
I grew up nearly 18 years overseas living in Korea, Japan and Germany. Chris grew up in seven states including 12 moves. We are both proud military brats. Although we both grew up in different cultures, our military upbringing and moving around made us have so much in common. One major difference was the just fact that I was overseas and he was stateside.
WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?
We have both learned to appreciate the cultural differences between our families and our upbringing. But one thing Chris points out that he learned very quickly about my Korean side is the emphasis placed on family hierarchy.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
We have continuously heard people tell us that our children look nothing alike. One is a blonde and the other a brunette. One has green eyes and the other brown. Our oldest is barely 5’2 and our youngest is nearly three inches taller. We don’t sweat the small stuff, but it can be annoying sometimes when Chris and I are asked if we are their “real” parents.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Our children are exposed to Korean traditions every day through their grandmother. My parents live five minutes from me and we spend at least one or two days a week with them. My mom prepares all kinds of Korean dishes every week. She is a retired chef, so we all eat very, very well. Chris’ mother has gone the length to research her family tree and to trace relatives that go back several, several years. The girls are now members of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and I am very grateful that they have this history of their family. My mother-in-law is fabulous when it comes to educating our children about their Texas family. We are planning a trip to Korea in the near future, so I can show my daughters that part of the world.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?
Our youngest daughter once asked us at around 5 years-old why her older sister was lighter than she was. My response was, “I cooked you a little longer in my tummy.” :)
DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
They proudly tell people they are Korean, Spanish and White. For myself, I like to use the phrase that I am Spay-Sian, half Spanish and half Asian.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?
Our goal is to educate our children to be respectful of the multitudes of cultures and people that they’ll interact with in their lives.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
Although Caitlyn favored Chris’ skin and hair color, I have heard from several people throughout her life that she resembles me and vice versa for Chris and Summer.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?
Fortunately, we did not have to teach our daughters to be grateful for their ethnicity. They are extremely proud of all their heritage
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
Chris and I dream of a world that is peaceful and loving for our daughters. We dream of a world that has countries standing united against the acts of terrorism. Standing united helps to transcend our differences, bringing together people from all backgrounds in hopes of world peace.