Shaynah was one of the ladies who responded to a request I made for couples to share their stories. I really loved this interview. I hope you enjoy hearing her story!
What challenges have you faced?
We have faced many challenges, but I guess the biggest challenge that we deal with is explaining different situations to our children, specifically our boys. I find that my oldest son often gets frustrated when others try to tell his youngest brother that they are not true blood (part native), and that he is adopted.
How do you deal with difficult times?
Difficult times have to be discussed and not left to fester, even if you don’t have a solution or answer right away.
How have you adjusted to life together?
We have adjusted to life together just fine. We take the good with the bad.
What kind of boundaries protect your relationship?
We do not let others opinions influence our marriage. That has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with the vows we spoke to each other. In order to keep a garden flourishing and growing, you have to put in the work to water, feed, weed out the bad, and protect the environment in which surrounds it.
How has your family reacted?
My family loves my husband and has always accepted him from day one -no question. His family, specifically his father and mother, have never truly accepted me. They didn’t come to our wedding but his uncles, aunts, and cousins came all the way from Alaska and the Philippines to be there. That was a huge deal to us because his father is the eldest son in his huge family and has the final say over things when it relates to family. He even expressed to a few of his brothers of they attended he would disown them.
So my husband and I were literally just expecting to only see my family and a couple of his friends there. But to our surprise, his cousin asked if she could be in my wedding, all the way from Alaska. Other members who attended made it clear by coming that they did not share the same feelings his parents had.
How have your friends reacted?
My husband has lost some Filipino friends because he married and had children with me and his first wife whom was also Black.
How are things now with friends and family? Are they supportive or are there any outstanding issues?
I currently have not seen his parents in three years and we live literally seven minutes away from each other. However, I don’t keep my children from them ever. I don’t want my children to think that, because of my issues with my In-laws, that they have to suffer too.
I just could no longer be around the two-faced behaviour they would put on. You love me and are fine with showing affection when I’m in your home, but out in public, you act like you don’t know me. Or when our kids would do something they didn’t agree with, they would say, “That’s the Black side not the Filipino side making those poor choices.”
The final straw for me was when our older daughter, who was 19 at the time, got pregnant and didn’t want to marry our grandson’s father. They literally said that they disowned her, and she was no longer welcome because she has brought shame to the family. I was livid. It stressed her so much that she actually considered aborting her child.
When my grandson came, naturally as anyone would, I posted pictures non-stop on Facebook. So my family, my sister and brother specifically, who lived in different states, could see him until they were able to come in town. My brother-in-law asked me if I could take all the pictures down because the family in the Philippines saw the pictures and news traveled like hot cakes that their granddaughter was an unwed new mother. Needless to say, I could go on and on.
I even vented on Facebook once and stated that my in-laws said anyone related to them that were Facebook friends with me were to unfriend me immediately. Oh they flipped when they saw how many comments were under my post saying that, “I may not be blood but I was damn sure family.” The fact that most of those people were his brothers, nieces, nephews and first cousins said a lot.
What advice would you give to others?
To bring things to a close, my advice to others is simply this: Love who you love, but don’t ever let others, even if they are family, make you feel ashamed. Don’t let them question you, or make it seem like you are betraying your ethnicity or culture because you have fallen in love with someone outside of your own race.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
I feel anyone looking to date outside of their race should see films to get a better understanding of what you may have to deal with in the future. Three of my favorite and most life-impacting films are: A Bronx Tale, Mississippi Masala, and The Lovings. These are three stories in three different pivotal time periods of American History in which an interracial couple had to fight the injustice of others trying to dictate to them who they can and cannot love.
Thanks for your time and for listening to my story. To Beyond Black and white, please never stop doing what you are doing to help spread the LOVE without boundaries.
Thank you so much for reading Shaynah and Dennis’ story. It was a pleasure to speak with them. I hope you enjoyed this segment. Thank you so much for reading this article. If you are interested in doing a feature interview for the website, please leave a comment below, or connect with either me or Christelyn. You can reach me directly at [email protected].