I stumbles across a comment that mssc54 (an adoptive father) left on a post over at the Love in Asia blog that contained the paragraph:

Incidentally, I think biology includes more than DNA. I think biology also includes manerisms, quirks, speach patterns, etc. Birth Parents only includes the DNA. Our little boy and girl have developed some of our traits and although they possess none of our DNA they do exhibit some of our biological traits.

I’m sorry did you fail biology? DNA isn’t something you pick up by osmosis. One hundred percent of a child’s DNA comes from its biological parents, there is no way of changing that. Now absolutely children are influenced by the environment they grow up in and the people they grow up around but that’s not biology it’s nurture.

Too often adoptees get told that genetics don’t matter that blood isn’t thicker than water, that nurture is supreme and nature is irrelevant,
but those of us who have grown up and are in reunion know this is ridiculous. Yes we do pick up mannerisms from our adoptive parents, of course, but we also already have mannerisms that were wired in from birth. When my adopted brother is with his bio brothers, who he did not grow up with, you can’t tell who is talking unless you are looking at them their speech patterns, inflections and language use are so similar. How can that be anything other than genetics?

My sister and I, who didn’t grow up together, like and dislike the same food, are attracted to the same people, laugh at the same things, our brains think in the same pattern, how can that be anything other than genetic?

When adopted children are told by their adopted parents either overtly or subtly, that blood doesn’t matter, that DNA doesn’t matter they often feel a bundle of complex negative feelings. Blood matters to us, we want to know where we come from, who we look like, who we are like.

This rhetoric can also make adoptees feel guilty that they are not enough like their adoptive family, they feel guilty for not being able to fit in when often the reason they can’t fit in is because they have genetic traits, thought patterns or aptitudes that none of their adoptive family have.

Growing up without someone who mirrors you genetically is incredibly lonely and unanchoring for a lot of adoptees and adoptive parents should be acknowledging that to themselves and their adopted children. They should be acknowledging that there are positive aspects of our personalities that are genetic, that did come from our first parents, that we are not blank slates,they should be celebrating differences between family members, not be trying to force their adopted children into the shape they assume their biological children would have come in.