By THERESA DAVIS
“Why am I the only one who looks different?”
Oh, boy. That is a question that covers biology, genetics and emotional support. If you really want to get your hands dirty, throw in sociology. Maybe even some socioeconomics, too!
If you think your adopted or foster child is too young to know about human reproduction, don’t tell them how babies are made but why. Babies grow from love. Which is sometimes true. From there, one day, you’re going to have to go into what is either going on with your child’s birth parents or what happened between them that made them separate from each other or separate from your child. Oh, the joys of adoptive parenthood!
Your child is going to feel different in your family, especially if their race or ethnicity is different from your family’s. You can explain briefly about genetics to your young child or go more in depth for an older one. It makes for a good homeschooled biology lesson.
Physical differences aside, your adoptive child may enjoy things that the adoptive family doesn’t or may be the quiet one in a rowdy family crowd. Or your child may be more sensitive or react to stress differently than their adoptive family. Yes, your child will be different in some way to your family. What’s important is that those differences are celebrated.
Your child is unique. Encourage ownership of her differences while pointing out what you have in common. Your child will find her place in the family, because she is your family. Being a little different won’t change that. Biology and genetics do make people who look and think and talk alike, but only love can make a family.
Theresa Davis is a former early childhood educator and has worked in childcare centers for more than 15 years. She is also an adoptive mother, living and taking care of her family in the Capital District.