Adoptive Parents: Allow Your Children to Celebrate Sameness

The importance of recognition...

Melissa Giarrosso December 11, 2014

In this video, an adoptee takes viewers on an artistic journey through her feelings as she sits in an office in Korea, awaiting a meeting with her birth mother and birth father. She has grown up in America, but has moved to Korea seeking a connection to her roots. She talks about how she wonders if she is looking into the faces of her relatives as she rides the bus or visits the market. She walks around looking for her features in those of others. She has never seen a photo of her birth parents and wonders if she will finally be able to see herself mirrored in the faces of the people she is biologically connected to. She has a realization that she might see her features sitting across from her, but “My ears won’t be able to understand their voices, and my broken Korean won’t be able to tell them all I want to say. It’s hard enough to summarize 24 years of life in English.” She hopes her birth family will recognize her as soon as they walk in the room. As an adoptive mom watching this video, I feel awakened to the realization that we all focus on sameness. I catch myself studying families at the store or on the street, wondering how they all fit together, and thinking, “Yes, that’s her son. They have the exact same eyes, chin, and hair.” I wonder if people look at my family with their eyes darting back and forth, searching for sameness. I imagine they do, and I wonder how my children will feel when they realize they, too, look for sameness in other families even though they don’t have it in their own. I wonder if my Hispanic daughter will gravitate to others with her same culture, or if she’ll feel like we never quite understand her, or worse, if she feels an obligation to assimilate. Videos like this help me remember to celebrate my children as individuals, and they make me grateful that our children’s birth families are active members of their lives, so they never have to wonder who they look like or “summarize 24 years of life” in a foreign language. I have found myself scoffing in the past that our world puts such a high value on sameness because it matters little to me; I love my children as my own regardless of our similarities or differences. Then testimonies like these from adoptees make me not want to diminish the importance my children might feel in finding sameness. I realize they might find comfort as they look into eyes identical to their own, and I want my children to have that comfort. Wanting the best for my children is what makes me a mother. Adoption.com recently shared a quote that said, “We know a mother and father can love more than one child, so why is it so hard to understand that a child can love more than one mother and father?” At the end of the video, the adoptee speaking in this video writes, “For my two mothers, two fathers, two brothers, two sisters.” Throughout the video, she does not say “my birth mother,” but instead simply says “my mother.” I found myself feeling warmth inside when this adoptee’s mother held her hands and they compared similarities and recognized sameness. This woman is her mother, just as the mother who raised her is, and each are of vital importance in the life of an adoptee.

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Melissa Giarrosso

Melissa Giarrosso is a Staff Storyteller at Adoption.com and a mom to two quirky kids through open adoption, all thanks to infertility and the belief that adoption is never second best. She and her family reside in a suburb of Memphis, TN where they remain faithful members of numerous open adoption communities, gently advocating the opportunities that open adoption affords all members of the adoption triad.


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