If you’ve been following my blog for the last while, you know I was adopted at birth by two wonderfully loving parents. My story is a unique one with a few twists and turns. Well, those memories resurfaced a couple of weeks ago while I was searching through photos for some childhood pictures of myself. On my hunt for snapshots of young Breegan, I discovered something amazing; I found Kingsley!
It’s one thing to hear how much your children resemble you while out and about and amongst friends. It’s a totally different feeling to look at a photo of yourself and see your child’s face. It was an incredible experience that I realized might be common for some and yet had never occurred before in my own life.
We’ve all heard people exclaim that they’ve got their father’s nose or grandma’s wonky right pinky toe. Because I was adopted, I grew up in a home where no one looked like me. I never saw my eyes in mom or dad, and my hair type wasn’t mirrored by any of my close relatives. Discovering phenotypic similarities between my sons and myself has been a novel and breathtaking adventure with an effect I couldn’t have foreseen.
I marvel at the beauty and art of genetics each time I look at these little carbon copies of myself and think about my journey to motherhood. Don’t get me wrong; most of us know that when you have a baby, there will undoubtedly be a combining of genes, and you’ll get this cute little blend of the two of you in varying proportions. I’m aware of that. But when you’ve grown accustomed to not seeing yourself in the people closest to you, birthing a child is often one of the first times you feel biologically connected.
The really interesting part of all this is that even in noticing this linkage, I realized something larger. Our unmistakable resemblance, as glorious as it was, didn’t necessarily make me feel more connected to them. I sat with these thoughts for a while, and the feelings didn’t fade. I love seeing myself in their faces, it’s true. But the closeness, the intimacy I share with my children, actually stems from the time I’ve spent with them since they were born. The pregnancies? I hardly remember all of those details, but the diaper changing and shoe tying are meaningful every single day. It really has been the feedings, the smiles and even the uncontrollable crying fits that stick with me and reveal character – mine and theirs 🙂
I think back on all the doctor’s visits, the first steps and “almost-falls” I’ve saved them from. I am bonded to my children by experience after experience, whether positive or challenging. I learn them every day as they’re also learning me. My sons have grown to recognize my facial expressions and the meanings behind them, and I can pinpoint every whimper or eye-rubbing fit. In those moments it isn’t our shared lip pout or sandy brown curly hair that emotionally fastens me to them. It’s all the stuff that mothers do and experience (& survive).
I have two adopted parents. I look nothing like them. Yet, our connectedness has never faltered. My mother and father never missed out on all the things that made them mom and dad. I never spent a day in my parents’ presence lacking love or support. Biology didn’t give me that; they did. My parents provided me with a beautiful life, complete with fond memories and unforgettable lessons. Because of them and my own children, I am reminded that we’re all in this together, and we’re all family…if we want to be.