If you’re considering adoption in conjunction with having biological children, then you may encounter the statement, “your child is so lucky to have gotten your great genes!” This statement has the potential to leave the adopted child in the lurch. Consider how the adoptee may feel at that moment…
I grew up with seven other siblings (six of whom were adopted), thus only one out of my seven siblings was privy to receiving these genetic comparison comments. This sibling routinely heard, “you’ve got those striking blue eyes just like your dads!” My origin-less brown eyes watched this scene play out time and time again over the years. I began to wonder why people’s go-to comments when making small talk is generally related to physical appearance and comparing that to the biological parents. When meeting newborn babies, the run of the mill conversation usually settles around physical appearance and which parent the child resembles more. Is this a simple culturally polite conversation starter, or something more?
It wasn’t until I searched for (and found) my biological family at the age of 26 that I began hearing these social niceties for the first time. I’ll admit, the fact that my birth father and I resemble each other so closely, does hold a special place in my heart and I’m not sure why. Even though my birth father and I don’t know each other very well, I do feel an extra flutter of connectedness when people look at our picture and comment “you and your birth-dad have the same smile!” This makes me wonder, do I feel this way because I’ve waited for 26 years to hear this, or is this a comment that we are all hard-wired to hear and enjoy?
In the same way that humans may be genetically predisposed to show empathy, to tend towards social altruism, or have an inborn belief in a higher spiritual being, are we also hard wired to desire biological children?