The Myth of Fingerprints

June 22, 2009 at 9:10 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, M'ijo | 4 Comments

One of the mixed blessings of biological parenthood, it seems to me, from my non-biological parent perspective, is seeing your own traits or your partner’s traits emerge in your child.  Your smile, your stubborness, your depression or diabetes, your eyes, hair nose anger.

Today was one of Those Mornings.  Mornings (or afternoons, or evenings) that leave me worn out and weepy from a series of violent tantrums that seem impossible to predict and that frighten me with their intense physical ferocity – throwing, pinching, hitting, biting…

I find myself wondering Where It Comes From (Probable but not Satisfying Answer: Mostly being 2.5).  Who are P’ito’s biological parents and does this propensity to physical aggression come from them? That’s the nightmare adoption myth isn’t it? You don’t know who those people are.

I handle that thought gingerly, aware of my own tendency to turn there when I’m at a loss, aware that I don’t go there as often as I should when P’ito awes me with an act of tenderness, a clever thought, or his amazing athletic grace and self-awareness.  That’s as much of a possible inheritance as is aggression, but how often do we think – I wonder from where his gifts come? Why do I so often go there when I’m worrying about the parts of him that are hard to parent?  If he had come from me, would I more easily see both the positive and negative possibilities of genetics?

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4 Comments »

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  1. that’s a tough one to answer…as a parent to both biological & adopted children, i really am not even sure. i do know that my husband spends a lot of time telling me that my daughter got her stubborness from me! 🙂 But she also has this amazing sense of adventure & larger-than-life personality that must come from her birth parents.

    One thing we often remind each other of in this family is that everyone is their own individual and a lot of things come from deep inside of yourself and are part of you only!

  2. Well, for us, Valentina DEFINATELY takes after me. My mom, who is with me a lot on a daily basis, says multiple times a day “she’s JUST like you!” So that means I’m apologizing to my mom, several times a day, for my behavior.

  3. I think it’s hard because we don’t ever want to think of ourselves teaching our children bad habits so when we see them doing things we don’t like, we have to look for the reason. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I had bio kids though. I do know there are several areas in which I think it’s great that Ruby and Medina don’t have my genes because at least they’ll have a fighting chance – vision, daily headaches, mosquito bites, singing ability. We also talk about how cool it is that we can all roll our tongue – a genetic trait that came from three different bio families coalesced into one.

  4. Sounds like 2.5 to me.

    One benefit of looking at it from the “it’s the age” angle vs. “where does he get it from” angle is…because it’s the age, it will pass.


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