You Look Just Like ME!

My brother in-law is staying with us for a month to help my husband with work. It’s good having him here. We haven’t seen him in over ten years so there is a lot of catching up to do.

He and J (my husband) and I sit on the deck at night and talk. I listen to the stories they tell and think there is this whole side of my husband that I don’t even know. It’s strange. One subject that comes up often is how much they look alike. They compare features and discuss who they got this feature from and who they got that one from etc… Normal sibling talk. That is unless you are adopted.

“I got my eyes from mom”

“You got your height from dad”

“We have the same nose”

“I got mom’s teeth”

I am so happy that they get this opportunity to spend time together. It makes me feel bad though that there is a part of me that is really quite jealous! I don’t think anyone who is not adopted could truly appreciate the feelings that come up when this sort of conversation takes place in front of us.

I am luckier than most. I have seen photographs of family members from my mother’s side so I can see the resemblence in various physical characteristics, but I don’t necessarily feel lucky. There is an entire side to my identity which eludes me and probably always will. I wonder what parts of my father’s family characteristics I share and I wonder why it matters to me. I wonder why people who have this information and talk about it so matter-of-fact like can’t seem to grasp how bad it would suck not to know. How having this connection makes one feel tethered to the Earth. Without it one floats with their feet always reaching for solid ground.

I guess it’s true what they say; you don’t always appreciate something until it’s gone. That’s a shame. I think if the non-adopted people of this world could put themselves in our shoes for just five minutes there would be no such thing as the fight for open records. The fact that the majority of those who would keep our identities from us KNOW who that person is staring back at them from the mirror.

Imagine how simple the open records thing would be if we could take all of the people who keep them from us and wave a magic wand over their heads, eliminating their identity. No longer would they know their history, no longer would they recognize themselves. They would not know their nationality, their mother, their father, their grandparents. They would get out of bed, slowly walk to the bathroom, rub the sleep out of their eyes and peer into the mirror. A stranger would be all that they would see. Who ARE YOU?! They would think. Where did you COME FROM?!? I don’t recognize a single thing about this person staring back at me!

No connection at all. Terrifying isn’t it?

Yep, it’s a crying shame alright. Give me five minutes and a magic wand and we would have our records in our hands that very day. Anyone have a spare wand they could loan me?

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13 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family, Open Records

13 responses to “You Look Just Like ME!

  1. Terrifying indeed. And I wish I had that wand for you.

  2. suz

    I have a magic wand but it did not come with directions. Hence, I dont know how to use it. I just flap it around and hope for the best.

  3. Joy

    This post reminds me of my early marriage, how I loved to spend time with my in-laws, because for the first time I felt like a member of a family that I had entered in the normal way.

    I loved listening to their stories. Their interconnectedness.

  4. It is a souls need to see faces that look like our own…
    My hope is that some day we will take the shame out of producing children out of “wedlock” as they used to say, and accept the fact that all human beings have the right to know our origins and our family history.
    And your right, if you wern’t adopted there is no way you can understand the need we have “to know”.

  5. Hi Mia, I’m the youngest of five–and the only adoptee in the family. In our family, rather than saying, “I get my eyes from mom,” I’ll say, “I’m clearly more attractive because I’m from a better stock of people” or “too bad I’m adopted and don’t have a 25% chance of getting alzheimer’s” or (my favorite) “have you seen dad’s teeth lately? No? Me neither.” Or if my mom does something spastic, I’ll say, “thank god I’m adopted.” It’s all pretty humorous.

    However–having not found any biological family, I find it extremely frustrating to not know my genetic history–or even to know what the people who I’m actually related to are like. And I agree with you–people who aren’t adopted can never really understand.

  6. Mia

    Me too third mom.

    Thanks Elizabeth!

    Suz you crack me up.

    Joy I can see that. Maybe I should look at it differently but to be honest other than the brother who is visiting I wouldn’t want to claim any of them! lol

    I agree completely SH.

    Miss Keeks that is so funny! I have said that before myself “thank GOD I’m adopted!” lol but my all time favorite is: It doesn’t matter whether it’s genetic or environmental because I have crazy on both sides so I am pretty much screwed all the way around! ;o)

  7. Mia, I have no magic wand, but, there are many of us working to educate people about open records. Until people understand why records should and need to be open, it will not happen.

    That’s why it is so important to advocate for search and reunion. People need to understand that reconnecting is good and should happen. I believe that people are beginning to understand – it’s just taking way too long.

    If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it too and go back in time and make a different decision – to raise my son, not allow him to be adopted.

  8. Mia- I just love your blog, truly I do. I’m so thankful to have your insight to guide me as we raise our son.

    Snuggle Bug looks nothing like us. He looks a lot like his birthmother and she’s told me that she’ll send us a picture of her as a baby so that I can see how much they look alike at that age. I would LOVE to have such a picture to share with Snuggle Bug, but alas I have yet to receive it and I don’t feel comfortable pestering her for it.

    Anyway, Snuggle Bug doesn’t look like us. He has wavy blond hair, blue green eyes, and the cutest button nose…he’s truly beautiful. Oronzo and I, on the other hand, are dark haired with brown eyes.

    What amazes me is how many people, even those who know we’ve adopted Jacob, feel the need to tell us “He’s got your chin, or your eyes, or…”

    At times I will say, “Actually, he looks a lot like his birth mother” or “he’s got his birth father’s [insert descriptive word here].

    Other times when strangers ask, “Where’d he get his curly blond hair?” I’ll simply say, “it’s in the family genes” and leave it at that because I don’t feel like taking the time to get into all the details with perfect strangers.

    Snuggle Bug is too young to have a voice yet in these matters, but one day soon he will and I’ll ask him how he’d like me to respond in these situations. I’ll leave it up to him to tell me what’s comfortable to him and what’s not.

    But in the meantime, I do often wonder how he’ll feel about not looking anything like us. Will he feel disconnected? Will he feel out of place? How can we help him cope with those feelings? He’s such a happy, good natured little boy now and I would hate to see that beautiful light dimmed by sadness.

    Our son will know that we send updates to his birth mother. At some point we’ll probably have him include letters of his own, if he’s so inclined. We will be sharing with him the few pictures we have of his birth family. He’ll know the names of these people. We will encourage him to speak openly about them whenever he feels the need.

    And one day, when he asks the question (as I expect him to), “When can I meet them?” we will contact his birth parents and ask them. It will be up to them and Snuggle Bug to decide that together, but we feel pretty strongly that it has to come from him first.

    I think it’s a tragedy that there are closed adoption records. It’s so unfair to those who had no choice in the matter of adoption. I never want to deny my son his history, his identity and I don’t believe it’s right for others to do so either.

    I really like your idea of waving a magic wand over these people’s heads, eliminating their identity, so that they can experience what so many adoptees have to deal with on a daily basis!

    Excellent post, as always!

  9. At this point, I’d like a big stick instead of a wand. Oops, did I say that? Good post, Mia.

  10. LOL! I just loved this post. 🙂

  11. Mia

    Cookie I hear ya’ sister!

    Overwhelmed I will go look at the pictures today. I can’t wait to see them!

    Sume…a big stick…..lolololol. YES!!!!!

    ((((Atilla))))

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