Nature versus Nurture … there is perhaps no place where this particular debate (or at minimum the nature side of it) can be more easily observed than in homes where there are both biological and adopted children. Mine is one such home. My husband and I have a biological son (16) and an adopted daughter (12), and we continue to be surprised by the new, sometimes “foreign,” things we see in our daughter.
Our son is a blending of the two of us, and most of what we see in him is recognizable. He’s the first born of two first-borns, so his dominant and uber responsible nature makes sense. He has my dark brown eyes and his dad’s hard head. His old soul comes from Tim, his love of music from me, and he’s got a double dose of introversion. There are not a lot of surprises. He’s good with his hands, but not athletic. We understand his talents and decision-making process.
With our Guatemala-born daughter, we find new gifts and personality traits that don’t exist in the other three of us. She is light-hearted, playful and loves a good time; she’s not crazy about work. When we brought her home at 4½ months, she was super serious. She didn’t smile much and seemed to be examining us even at that young age. Today, she loves cheerleading, and she is fast and flexible. She’s crafty and creative and great with puzzles, and she forces us into new areas. She is the perfect counter to her brother. Our little Latina adds spice and laughter to our home!
When Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates,” he knew what fun it can be. But, he also knew that reaching in and grabbing a piece of who-knows-what can be scary at times, too. It’s like that sometimes with our daughter. I still find myself learning that communicating with her is different from how I talk to our son. She thinks differently, she is impacted emotionally in a different way, and she receives information differently. And, those differences go beyond gender differences or those we would find between biological siblings. Though she’s been with us virtually her entire life, the influence of genetics is powerful.
There are a variety of challenges that come with adoption; this is another of them. However, “the box-of-chocolates effect” is also one of the greatest joys of adoption. Our girl will forever keep us on our toes, but I cannot imagine our lives without her. She is a beautiful blessing!
Are you an adoptive and biological parent? Tell us more about your experiences.