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Biological Connections, NaBloPoMo/NAAM—Meet Rebecca

by Laura on November 21st, 2012

I met Rebecca through The Lost Daughters, a blogging project for adult women adoptees. We decided to do a “blog switch” and write about the same topic. Enjoy!

About the author: Rebecca Hawkes is an adoptee who has reunited in adulthood with both of her biological parents, as well as other family members. Rebecca is also a mother to one daughter by birth and another daughter by adoption. She and her husband Paul adopted their younger daughter from foster care and have developed a surprisingly close relationship with that daughter’s original mother. Rebecca writes about adoption from both points of view on her blog Love Is Not a Pie.

The prompt: Biology. According to science, we all inherit something from our natural families. If you are in reunion, are there any traits or characteristics you know you inherited? How does that make you feel? If you are not in reunion, what do you hope to share with your natural family? How important is genetics to you personally?


With seventeen years of reunion experience under my belt, it’s difficult to know where to begin with this topic. Do I tell you how I look almost identical to my mother in certain pictures, or how my aunt noticed the first time she met me that my mother and I make the same gesture with our hand when we are talking? Do I tell you that the shape of that hand is eerily similar to that of my brother, but that my feet clearly came from my father? Or should I focus instead on the similar life choices? How my father and I participated in the same high-school sports and have the same college major. How my mother and I were both working in the publishing industry when we began our reunion. Or, even more subtle: the bookish, essentially introverted personality that I share with both of them.

I lived the first three decades of my life without genetic mirroring. How important is it to me, now that I have it? I can hardly put that into words. I am like a person who could not see color and then acquired that ability. I have the heightened appreciation of someone who has known the lack of something and therefore does not take its presence for granted. I value it in a way that non-adopted people sometimes cannot fully understand. It brings me peace of mind, a sense of belonging, an understanding of self.

I am thankful that this is one of the ways that my adopted daughter’s childhood is different from my own. We know that her soccer ability and her academic learning style come from her biological family, as does her habit of licking the salt off pretzels. Yes, that’s right — pretzels! I suspect it will be quite some time before scientists identify the pretzel-licking gene, but given that her other mother has the exact same habit, I have drawn my own conclusions. All of this information is helpful to me, as the mother who is raising her. The pretzel knowledge, for example, helps me to be a little more tolerant than I might otherwise have been of a habit that I don’t share or, really, quite understand. The learning-style knowledge helps me guide her education. But more important than the benefit to me is the benefit to her. She is able to craft her understanding of self in the ordinary way, using the most basic of tools that nature gives to us: the mirror of family.

Check out Rebecca’s blog, Love Is Not a Pie to read my perspective on “Biology.”
*Images courtesy of Dan at

From → Adoption

  1. Cynthia permalink

    Amy Bloom wrote a fab short story called 'Love is not a Pie' by the way. Enjoyed this post a lot. The sense of belonging through a mirror of traits is not something I'd given much thought to before the read.

    • Laura permalink

      Thanks! You know, when I met my birth mom, she said to me that exact phrase: Love is not a pie. Love is not something that can be divided up. Love is not finite. Just by giving more love to someone, doesn't mean less love for someone else.

      This genetic mirroring makes so much sense. When I first heard the phrase as a young adult, I was completely amazed at how much sense it made to me. –Laura

  2. This analogy is so helpful for me to try to understand: "I am like a person who could not see color and then acquired that ability."


    Also, that the pretzel story helps you see that some things in your daughter are hardwired.

    Cool that you two did the switch!
    Lori Lavender Luz recently posted..The flip side of the adoption interviewMy Profile
    Lori Lavender Luz recently posted..The flip side of the adoption interviewMy Profile

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