Our adopted sons are SO different than us!
Ok, so we’re at that phase in our life when we have a 16 and 20 year old son. That, in itself, is a tough time!
Our boys are adopted. They each come with a completely different set of genes that they inherited from their birth parents.
There is that saying that there is a difference between “nurture versus nature”. All the parenting in the world doesn’t matter when you have 2 children who are so biologically different than their parents. Sure, they will learn from our examples, and hopefully incorporate that in the way that they become caring, successful adults. Nature, on the other hand dealt them cards that I’m wholly unaware of. Who were their ancestors and what did they inherit?
Our sons come from opposite ends of the planet. One is part Italian, Irish and English but born in Canada. The other is part Russian Jewish and part Tajikistani Muslim from an orphanage in Siberia. One was adopted at birth, the other at 15 months.
As a genealogist, it’s in my nature to want to hark back to my ancestors to look for similar traits, features, personality characteristics etc. This is so hard for us as we can’t draw on any of the familiar “YOU ARE JUST LIKE YOUR FATHER” sayings! Or, “THE APPLE DOESN”T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE”, “OH WOW, HE’S JUST LIKE UNCLE so-and so!”
We know little of their backgrounds, especially the younger one. We know that we’ve parented them exactly as we would have parented biological children, with maybe a bit more empathy due to the fact that they would have to deal with loss at some point.
My husband is a jock. Number one reason for being,for him, is to get that adrenaline rush, compete, win, start a new project, create a new business. I’m an academic, with a long history of selflessness and service in my family.
Our boys have no interest in sports, except maybe snowboarding and mountain biking.
They are not competitive. They are also not particularly studious, even though the older one is amazingly bright.
This, is not THE most difficult aspect anyway. The hardest part of having biologically different offspring is that they are EXTREMELY different people than would otherwise be in our family. It’s a constant battle to figure out why they say what they say, do what they do, feel what they feel. It’s a dance where we all try to move to our family rhythm in a way that works for all of us, while not treading on anyone’s toes.
It’s hard on all of us, especially them. I wish I could ask questions of THEIR ancestors to get some insight in how to be a better parent. I wish an unknown great grandfather could whisper in my ear “oh, that’s no big deal, I did that all the time and I became…..such and such.” or “wow, he’s JUST like my dad!”
This would be such a comforting whisper. A bit of a shoulder to lean on to know that we are doing the best we can and they will know it one day. We’ve learned along the way that we can only do our best and so can they. We all love each other and we all try to work on blending….on being part of this “crazy family”, as my son says.
I wish I knew more about their inherited medical history, their bio families mental health issues, and any other important factors that would help me be a better parent.
Being a genealogist with a desire to know a family’s past is so difficult when you have 2 members of your OWN family that you know very little about!!