The Bio Bond

The nature vs. nurture conversation is an interesting one.

Dreena Melea Tischler April 24, 2014
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I recently read an interesting Newsweek article about adopted twins. The two girls were abandoned in China about a week apart and ended up in the same orphanage. Eventually both were adopted by US families. They lived hundreds of miles apart, but somehow, they “knew” they had a sister. Eventually, DNA tests proved the girls were, in fact, twins. Coincidentally, their adoptive mothers had both named them Meredith. Their amazing story became part of a study on twins separated at birth.

I grew up with one “full” sister and two “half” brothers. My mother divorced and remarried when my sister and I were very young. All of them were the same to me; we were raised as one family, and no distinction was made between my sister and the boys. I also have two half-brothers through my birth father. I knew little of these boys growing up and only met them once as a young adult. Yet they are my family, and I have always felt something “missing.” I know my biological father had a dream of getting us girls together with those two, but he experienced a sudden illness that ended his life, and our reunion with one of my half-brothers took place at our bio-dad’s funeral. Living over 2,000 miles apart, we’ve had little opportunity to really get to know each other.

My older girls both have half-siblings elsewhere too. They are very drawn to these individuals and hope to have relationships with them one day. When my oldest met her half-sister a year ago, I was shocked by the physical similarity. She connected more with her sister’s personality. Though they’d never even met, somehow, they “knew” each other; it was truly amazing.

I do not fully understand what it is in our “nature” that drives us to seek out our siblings and birth family. But I know it is there. The little Merediths and the other twins are helping to unlock the mysterious DNA part of the story. The story confirmed what I have often suspected– there is more to kinship than being raised together. There is something in us that drives together and some needs that are met by these biological ties. I think that science will one day underline the true importance of placing kids with their siblings and yes, I’m saying it, their relatives whenever possible. It will be interesting to see all of what is learned from this study.

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Dreena Melea Tischler

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