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Legacy of an Adopted Child

Legacy of an adopted child

Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first gave you life, the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for Love, the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you the seed for talent, the other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first smile, the other dried your tears.

One gave you up, it was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child and was led straight to you.

And now you ask me through your tears
the age old question through the years,

“Heredity or environment, which am I the product of?”
Neither my darling, neither,
Just two different kinds of Love.

Author Unknown

I came across this poem the other day and I fell in love with it immediately. It speaks so well to me as an adoptee, and I’m sure to anyone who comes from a unique family dynamic such as my own.

Growing up as an adoptee, and especially during my university days when I was constantly faced with the nature vs nurture theories, I was left to question which was more impactful on my life. Because I had only known a life impacted by the surrounding environment, I thought I had all the answers. Nurture won.

Now that I have reunited with my biological father, I realize that who we are cannot be defined by only one or the other, but that it is the combination of both your genes and the environment in which you were raised that makes you who you are.

I feel so blessed to have had the upbringing that I have, and to now know more about my history and where I’ve come from. A perfect balance – two different kinds of love.

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Adoption: Nature vs Nurture

Throughout my life as an adoptee, I’ve always internally debated the dichotomy of adoption: am I the way that I am because of who I came from (nature), or because of who (and how) I was raised (nurture)? Do my interests and characteristics come from inherited traits, or environmental factors?

Growing up, and throughout my post-secondary years when I was studying psychology, I was convinced that nurture was the winner of this debate. I truly believed that who I was had nothing to do with where I can from, and that my personality, interests, and skills were all as a direct result of my upbringing, and more specifically, who raised me.

But when I reunited with my biological father, my perspective was forever changed. As he spoke about his interests, his personality traits, and his skills, my eyes opened to the possibility of genetic inheritance. He spoke with the same eagerness and enthusiasm as I did. His passion for music, art, and culture mirrored my own, and his personality flaws mimicked mine.

The other day I had a parent-teacher interview with my daughter’s first grade teacher, and my eyes were once again opened to the reality of the effects of nature. The comments that they made about her personality – that she was artistic, creative, chatty, and enthusiastic about connecting with others and about expressing her creativity through music, art and dance – made me realize that she had inherited the same traits that I had inherited.

Now that I have my own biological children, I am constantly in awe of the ways in which they begin to develop into little versions of my husband and I. And while I still believe that the way that I was raised had a huge impact on who I am, I’m seeing more and more that nature has its place as well.

I see the nature vs nurture debate in a new light now – I think for me, my passion for the arts, my desire to express my creativity, and my inability to do math and science stem from my genetic-making, and the way that I respond to my surroundings, my desire to succeed, to follow my dreams, to believe that I can achieve anything, stems from the lessons and love that I’ve received from the parents who raised me.

As I ponder this dichotomy, I am reminded of the most beautiful poem on the subject of nature vs nurture and adoption – Legacy of An Adopted Child. This poem speaks so perfectly to me – what do you think of it?

Mother Daughter

Mini Me