“Can you wear your Ireland sweatshirt, Mama?  Please!?!” she asks as she rummages through her overstuffed closet in search of the perfect outfit.

She is eight and she still wants to match with her mama.

“What a great stage… all kids do that,” chime the voices in the peanut gallery.

Well, yes. And (just like everything else in adoption) not really.

As little kids, my sister and I (and most of our cousins) were a matched set. Same big blue eyes.  Same curly blond hair. There was no denying that we belonged together. That we were family.

Even as an adult, when I meet someone who knows my parents, they almost always tell me how much I look like my dad. There’s no denying our family resemblance.

This little girl and I, we are family too. There’s no doubt about that. She has mastered my vocabulary and my facial expressions. She knows exactly how to make me laugh…and get under my skin.

We’ve lived joy and heartbreak and everything in between together. And we have the pictures, the stories and the court order to prove it.

And still.

She and her tow-headed cousins are hardly a matched set.

No one will ever meet her and tell her how much she looks like her mama.

Some people say that this doesn’t matter.

To us it does.

And so I rummage through my overstuffed closet and pull out my sweatshirt.

“Do you remember when we went to Ireland, Mama?” she asks. As if I could forget getting her first passport, stressing about her first airplane ride, watching her dance until midnight at her first wedding reception.

“Yes, baby.  I remember.” I say as I slip the sweatshirt over my head.

This is our shared story. One stop in our grand family adventure.

This is what binds us together.

Not our eyes. Not our hair. But our story.

Today, our sweatshirts announce to the world that we are, indeed, a matched set.

Today, her hand locked in mine, there is no denying our family resemblance.