One of the interesting things I’ve experienced as a mother who was adopted as a child is that I am constantly amazed by things that my children share with my biologically. I assume most people just take for granted that their children will look like some mixture of them and their spouse and their child will have some mixture of personality traits and mannerisms. When a child is adopted the one thing they can pick up are mannerism. Other than that those things are missing.
I did not think much about not having the same hair, face, tastes, interests, or anything else growing up. I was three when I was adopted, and it just never occurred to me that I shouldn’t be different. I never minded being different so it wasn’t an issue. But, as a mother I look at my children and I am amazed to see that my youngest son has the same teeth as me. My daughter laughs exactly like her Aunt. My oldest son has the same body shape as my husband. And, with the realization of how much like me my children are comes the realization that I am very little like my adoptive parents.
The good news to those who choose to adopt (which I highly recommend and cannot tell you enough what a difference it makes to a child who needs a home) many things are learned. Working hard, honesty, mannerisms, and ideals are all things that I can say my adoptive family highly influenced. My sister who is my bio parents bio daughter and I look nothing alike. But, people often say that we do look alike. Our voices are similar when we answer the phone. Our mannerism are often the same and I think that’s what makes people say we ‘look alike’. She is blond, thin and about 3 or 4 inches taller than me. So, we really don’t look ‘alike’. I work like my dad and mom. I was raised to believe that any job I am being paid for that is good honest work is acceptable. This has served me well over the past 20 years. I don’t care if I’m running a department or dumping recycle bins. I’m getting paid so it’s a good job. I can also remember walking downstairs a few months before I got married and my sisters and I all had on nearly identical outfits. They were the same colors and same basic idea. So, is fashion learned or inherited?
It gets interesting (at least in retrospect and as a mother) when the interest in things or response is so different that is striking. Example: my two sisters who are my parents bio children love interior decorating. They are good at it. They have an eye for different home styles and can envision what things will look like when they are finished before they have started. My mother is also amazingly talented at this skill. I am a complete failure with that talent. I always love the finished product, but I have a hard time organizing the details to get the result I want and I can’t ‘see’ the project unless someone literally draws me a picture. I also LOVE parties. I love getting together with my friends. I am extremely social and I want to be surrounded by my friends as much as possible. My sisters don’t share this desire with me. They have friends. They spend time with them, but they have never had the same fire for such things as I do. My daughter is my twin in this aspect. It’s amazing to watch it from someone else.
So, here I am trying to parent my children and do the best I can to guide them into being the humans that God wants them to be. I watch them often and see thing things they do that are so ‘me’ and the things they do that are all them. And, while I am watching them I wonder how I would be different if I had a different first 4 years. I truly believe that God directs each of our paths and has us go down specific paths for specific reasons. That world view forces me to see the good that has come from what society deems to be ‘difficult circumstances’. Some of the things I see as ‘good’ are: I have a bleeding heart when it comes to abandon children or really any child. I realize that while searching through the history of one’s family may be interesting – it’s really amazing how little most of it matters. I’m more interested in the people who are here now. I don’t ever even think about it when I am ‘parenting’ other people’s kids. I just treat them all like my own.
I have no scientific basis for what is nurture and what is nature. I don’t really think it matters. It’s just so interesting to notice the differences now that I was completely blind to until I had kids of my own.