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Children dancing in a circle

I can’t help but wonder sometimes how my experience as an adoptive mom might differ from the one I would have had as a biological mom. I think my biggest curiosity is what it would be like to see my face in my child’s face or my personality traits within theirs.

Interestingly, God chose to make my daughter resemble me. From early on, people would look at her dark hair and eyes, compliment her and say to me, “I see where she gets it.” I would smile and say, “Thank you, but God gets all the credit.” This usually led to a confused frown and a great discussion about adoption.

In one such conversation, an adoptive mom told me I should enjoy the similarities now because when my children became adolescents, their “biology” would suddenly show up. She lamented that during the teen years, she would look at her adopted children in amazement because they seemed so different to her—as they exhibited traits she had never seen in them before.

To be honest this still scares me a bit. So far my children are my children. They have their own personalities, but I can see the power of their environment shaping them. They like the things we like, value the things we value, and live according to the rules of our house. What would it be like to one day look at my son or daughter and wonder, who does he or she get that from? Would I feel somehow emotionally separated from them?

And yet, I am reminded of the many biological parents who feel they don’t know their children as teenagers. Perhaps this mom assumed the change she saw in her adoptive children was a consequence of adoption when it was really just a consequence of adolescence.

For now, I am enjoying the similarities. God in his infinite goodness chose to bless our children with talents that fit right into our family, as if they were our biological children. My daughter likes to read and write and is very athletic. My husband and I enjoy many sports and both have graduate degrees in English. My son loves music and art, talents that are also shared by both my husband and myself.

So, as it has been with this entire journey, I am trusting God with the future. If that sweet adoptive mom was correct, my prayer is our family will have developed a strong enough bond to see our way through those turbulent waters. As my children discover who they really are through the process of adolescence and cope with their adoption and identity, hopefully they will know that God knit our family together not by accident but by design and our differences will become our strengths.

~ Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton