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Triad View: Trans-familied feelings of an adoptee

Tessa and I are different in so many ways. I love to read (an introvert)…she loves to interact (extrovert). I can’t stand to have bare feet…she can’t stand to wear shoes. I like tidy and sorted…her room is post-Katrina-esque. She wakes up cheerful and eager…I, well, I don’t.

Earlier this summer, I ran across this notion in an adoptee blog, Joy’s Division. Joy explains the difference between who she was born to be and who she was raised to be. I am reminded of her post every time I notice how different I am from Tessa (more so with her than with Reed).

It was like two Golden Retrievers adopting a daschound, they were busy trying to understand why I wasn’t a Golden Retriever. They did their best to help me be a Golden Retriever, who can blame them? That is what they knew how to be. They didn’t know how to be a short legged long dog. They wanted to help me overcome my short legged long dogness, but were at a loss, and gave up.

Joy’s post is an important one for adoptive parents in understanding how an adopted child might feel. But I’m not sure what to do with this insight. In fact, I believe Joy is not saying I should or shouldn’t do anything as Tessa’s mom. She’s saying that this is simply what happens in adoption, when a child shares the biology of one tribe and the biography of another. Perhaps the best I can do is just to be aware.

So today I’m full of questions and musings. What is it like to have me as a mom? What is it like to be part of our family? Will Tessa one day feel as if she was forced into being something she’s just not? What can I do to prevent her from having lingering feelings of being trans-familied?

Ideas? Thoughts?

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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2 Responses

  1. I don’t know. In my family, we have a lot of similarities in terms of features and some little quirky things, but when it comes to interests and personality, I’m so different from my parents that I used to wonder if I’d come from Mars. You just never know how that sort of thing will work out.

  2. I love your blog! We’re in the process of adopting and searching for a baby. I’m putting a link to your blog on mine. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences! – Cathryn

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