These are my parents. I love them. Adore them. And what a family resemblance, right?
I know I’m extremely fortunate to find deep family connections where there are no actual bloodlines. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never felt any level of disconnect between my parents and I. There is, however, a genetic gap. A part of them that is not mine and a part of me that is not theirs. I’d love if there were no gap but there is and it isn’t one that can be bridged; while I feel no actual sense of disconnect, with regards to my family, there is a lack of connection based on genes and genes alone. I often find myself caught between two worlds and, ideally, I want to experience the best of both of those worlds. I already have the best of one side; my husband and daughter, parents and brothers, in-laws, nieces, nephews and many extended family members. I thrive in this world. I love this world. I love these people.
However, over the course of the last few years I have begun to wonder about the other world; a curiosity that can envelop me wholly at times. I have a nagging, growing desire to be connected to the woman who carried me in her womb and to the city where I breathed my first breaths. Writing my book has proven to be incredibly therapeutic and a lot of these desires have surfaced because of my willingness to really delve into thoughts I’ve never previously given any merit; to the intricate parts of me where there is a small space reserved for a birth mother I’ve never known and a culture that is unfamiliar; an empty space that craves fulfillment.
Adoption is a really interesting and misunderstood experience. I’ve found that one of the most misunderstood and overlooked portions of adoption is the trauma that’s involved. I don’t believe trauma affects each of us in the same way but it is still trauma. When I was growing up I never spent much time wondering about my biological mother. I tried to be more like my (adoptive) mom by attempting to emulate her laugh and once emptying an entire bottle of her Clinique foundation onto my face but I didn’t contemplate the complexion that I clearly share with the woman who gave birth to me. I find that so interesting. And, actually, it’s quite complimentary to my parents and how tightly knit our family was and is. I didn’t have a need to reach for something I had lost because I had everything I needed; all of the love and acceptance one could ever hope to have.
It’s not been an easy path to travel but I’m learning that it’s okay to walk through this struggle openly. It’s okay to wonder. It’s okay to crave. It’s okay to feel deeply satisfied on one hand and deeply unsatisfied on the other. I am incredibly fulfilled within my family but there is a portion of me that is unfulfilled. It’s okay for me to want to satisfy that part of me and it’s okay to say that it’s something I need. It’s okay for me to ache for it; for my birth mother and for my city. The genetic gap between my family and I isn’t the reason for my ache; they, in fact, are the reason for my joy. My ache comes from what I do not know; from a trauma imposed on me at birth and all that I have yet to discover about that trauma.
4 thoughts on “The Genetic Gap.”
Well said. Couldn’t imagine being closer with any other parents or siblings. But there still is a gap… That gap became more apparent after starting my own family.
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Yes…I agree with you, Jamie! Having Rubina as my first and only biological relative has definitely deepened these longings where they were almost nonexistent before.
This is a great post. Often my mom will take any discussion about “the bio gap” personally. I think she honestly believes that us even wondering about bio fam or “life over there” is a personal affront or some sign of her inadequacy. I really like how you stressed your love for your parents here. It’s hard when we can’t control what hurts other people’s feelings. Our curiosity is inevitable, natural and often it’s not related to them at all. It’s a sense of wonder. Yes it stems from loss but like you I have had a rich and loving experience with my adoptive family. It’s healthy. I had a mom’s makeup moment too, but it’s only because I am makeup-obsessed and I didn’t have any makeup of my own so I used my mom’s. She called my youth pastor in a panic and told him I was trying to change the color of my skin which was 100% untrue LOL. She didn’t even ask me about it.
It’s so fascinating how similar portions of our stories are, meaning the IMH babies, and how much they can vary! Thank you for being willing to share!! It makes the journey more comfortable to navigate when others are walking it with you. xO.