I love seeing the photographs of others’ siblings and parents. The similarities in their anatomical features: the similar smiles, the same stance, mirrored features.
Last week, someone posted a photograph of her brother as a child. It was amazing to see her biological children’s faces in this image taken many years before they were born. I found myself typing about the similarities, but then, I stopped myself. She has one son who is adopted. Quickly, I hit the delete key.
Knowing her son might see my comment, I wanted to spare him the sadness of never sharing the sameness. I know that sadness; however, it was often tempered with my family forgetting my foreignness.
The birth of my children solidified my biological place in my own little family. I realize for many adoptive parents who, like my own, never thought they would see their eyes gaze up at them, that fact is so very difficult to bear. I empathize. I understand the joy an adoptee can bring to a childless couple … how we ease the pain. Yet, here I implore adoptive parents to recognize and address the added pain their adopted child experiences when she has no physical frame of reference.
Selfishly, I finally delight in the comments, “Oh, your son and daughter look just like you!” Bear with me. This time of seeing myself in another human being has brought me joy amidst the childhood pain of never experiencing this reflection of self in someone else.