It seems like nothing really in the grand scheme of things, but growing up, especially my teen years, I reflected a lot on this and still do, so thought it might be worthwhile throwing it out there. For what it is worth both mom and dad had families where they were all so similar in every way, it made the reality of difference, more apparent to me. Meeting my maternal family I found similarities everywhere I turned and I was no longer just the only one like me.
If you were raised by your biological family, have you ever sat down and consciously listed every thing you can identify about yourself, that is also found in a family member or members?
No? Start with the basics – the hair on your head and work down to your toes. Beside each item note which relatives have the same. Hair - color and type, forehead, eyebrows, skin type and tone, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, cheekbones, dimples, chin, shape of jaw, neck, body shape, height, hands, feet, toes…
Now start with personalities and identify what types runs in your family and what personality type you are, and who else has that type.
Do the same for talents – who is artistic and what form does that artistic talent take. Lots with musical talent? Storytelling? Abilities to solve crazy hard puzzles? Great cooks? Green thumb gardeners?
What about the brains in the family? Is your family primarily analytical or more creative? Do they migrate to the fields of science? Medical? Law? Engineering? Teaching? Humanities or Arts? How many of your relatives choose the same field you have?
Do you know when your family immigrated to this country and from where and why? Do you have any traditions in your family that relate to your nationality? Do you or your family have heirlooms passed down from one generation to another? Does it give you a sense of continuity?
The list is too big to make any stab at being complete so let your imagination fly and don’t limit yourself to just those above.
Then try to answer the following questions. It may give you a limited understanding of the reality of living life as a closed adoption adoptee.
Does it matter to you to know who in your family shared that trait? Have you consciously identified that you and Auntie Jean share the same…
Did knowing someone with that trait who you loved dearly, make it good to have that trait?
Did it make you feel like you were part of that family/closer to them because you shared those traits?
Do you or other family members make statements like: All the family is tall, We all love playing practical jokes, We all have big noses, We all have good teeth, We all have the same spot where we put on weight, We all are good at solving mysteries, We all love to argue, We all love to …
Now if you did not have anyone to reference would you truly feel the same about yourself? Do you love the trait or the person who possessed that trait? Does knowing another relative is the same, make it easier to accept it in yourself as part of who you are? Ask this in each category.
Now how much do you think seeing yourself reflected back by different family members increased your acceptance of yourself – your self-identity?
Did you ever look at every stranger who vaguely resembles you, and wonder if you are related?
Have you ever had to try to figure out your nationality, when you have nothing but yourself as an example?
Have you ever wondered how your ancestors got to this country, from where, why, when, and what they did and were good at?
Would it matter to you that you were stripped of your identity and family, and told you had no right to know any of the things everyone else takes for granted? Would you consider you were treated equally to non-adopted? Would you want to know who you were like?