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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband's cousins have adopted two boys and I swear it looks like they used the biological mother as a surrogate.<br><br>
Since the resemblance is getting more and more over time, I've been finding myself doing more and more of the "look how much M looks like L, he's got the family nose!" (time passes) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh">
 

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I forget my dd is adopted some of the time. And she looks just like me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Really, it doens't bother me, but sometimes it is awkward.
 

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I think this question might be better answered by adoptees, honestly. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As for if it bothers me...so far, no. Dd is Korean-American, obviously not Euro-American like both sides of our family. We tend not to get physcial comparisons (though I have had people tell me she looks like me...must be the chubby cheeks), but we do get trait comparisons sometimes. "Ooh! She's got the speed-gene! Just like her old Papa!"<br><br>
Honestly, at this point it doesn't bother me. Pointing out how children are similar (especially in likes, talents, and characteristics) is common in our family, and I'm glad that she's included. Biological relatedness or not, we can still have things in common. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I'm curious to hear what moms of older kids (and transracially adopted kids) have to say about this...does it become hurtful or bothersome after a while? Does it hurt adopted kids when bio kids have common traits/looks commented upon? That's unexplored territory for us.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15474077"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've been finding myself doing more and more of the "look how much M looks like L, he's got the family nose!" (time passes) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"></div>
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I don't know how adoptive parents feel about it, but growing up as an adoptee I found these comments to range from annoying to painful.
 

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My dh legally adopted my ds after we got married. It doesn't bother me when people forget that he's not his bio dad and ds seems to like it.
 

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I suppose it depends on the situation. DH has two brothers, both of whom are adopted. It's not uncommon for someone to say, "runs in the family" or make some reference to genetics about something one of them does. I know my older BIL feels comforted by those comments because he was 6 when adopted and struggled a good bit with being part of the family when he was younger.
 

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I do this sometimes, not necessarily about physical traits, but about other stuff...like, my adopted son is left-handed "just like me", or we might say he's got some personality trait just like "The Lastname" that we are....i was actually telling my stbad about having a homebirth, and i said "when i gave birth to Keegan..." when i really meant "Seamus"...oops!<br><br>
I can see how an *insistence* that an adopted child look just like a parent could be annoying or hurtful, almost like you are trying to erase the adoption or pretend they are a bio child, but just random comparisons like you'd make with any other child, i think that should be fine, i doubt your relative is offended.
 

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MY 9 year old sister is adopted, and my mom and I "forget" all the time. She looks like I did as a child, she has the same food allergies as I do, we have the same body type, the same anxieties...the list is endless. Both mom and I will make a correlation between my sister and I, then it'll dawn on us-d'oh, she's adopted! Then we have a good laugh, and a "wow, she was meant to be with us" moment. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I agree with lollybrat, to be honest.<br><br>
Even with people that I was desparately wanting to be related to...I don't know, it always felt strange. Not necessarily offensive. But even as a kid I felt weird about it. I didn't want to correct people, because that would open a can of worms and I might find myself having to go through even more rude, stupid, invasive questions. But not correcting people felt icky too, since it felt (to me) like I was having to deny part of who I was just to make some thoughtless person's awkward moment smooth over. Mustn't freak the mundanes, and all that.<br><br>
It's kind of a weird thing. On the one hand, it's nice tht people have accepted you into the family so completely that they forget. OTOH, if you have someone at all sensitive about not being biologically related to anyone they know, it's kind of unintentionally rubbing their face in it. At least that's how it felt to me as an adoptee. I wonder if folks came to adoption via fertility if there isn't residual grief (esp. if it was never dealt with to begin with) there on the part of aparents.
 

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It bothers me that my responses suck, which makes it bother me that I hear these comments.<br><br>
I catch myself saying things like, "it's funny because we are not biological," but it always sounds icky and I don't feel like that's really my info to tell.<br><br>
What should I say? I know my kids have been really attentive, and I want to know what would be best for them to hear.<br><br>
When I am more on top of it, I have been known to say something like, "I see that, but I think she looks like her birthfather most of all," (she TRULY does) etc. etc. But for folks who are saying what they are saying because they are so amazed that my adopted children could look like me, this seems to egg on more uncomfortable conversation.<br><br>
We get these types of comments along different lines:<br><br>
1. From people who know that my kids are adopted-- and remember -- they make a really big deal about pointing out how much we look alike. "It just is amazing!" "If I didn't know, I'd think you gave birth to them." "You could be her mother...[pause]...urh, uh, you know what I mean." "He looks so much like you. It's just crazy." Etc. Etc.<br><br>
This is especially common among dw's family members because they are a darker-olive skinned/darker haired people, and I am not. My dd definitely looks a lot like me, and we stand out together quite a bit when with dw's family. My ds looks like a combo between me and dw, in a way, because even though he has light hair, his eyes are brown and his skin is more olive-toned thus slightly darker than the light-brite glow skin that dd and I have.<br><br>
People who make comments in this category will not let up. They are people who feel the need to say something almost everytime I see them. Again. And again. And when I try to make a quick comment and move on in response, they'll keep going back to it. Like, "I am too amazed to talk or think about anything else." Urgh. This makes this the worst category of comments because after 5 years they've just become so super tiresome. I also worry that my kids are picking up on a subtle racism with these comments because there is definitely a subtle values judgement that seems to come through (almost like they might as well say, "isn't it lucky how fair she is").<br><br>
2. The next category of comment is from people who don't know that my kids are adopted. I wish people would refrain from trying to connect with others by pointing out similarities between parents and children because it puts people in a really bad position...not just in cases of adoption, but also in mixed/step families, etc. etc. That said, I find these the least tiresome comments in a way because people really are trying to connect.<br><br>
3. There are of course the people who assume that dw is the nanny, made all the worse because we are a two-female couple. These comments irritate us mainly because of the racist/ethnocentric undertones, but of course it does make sense that if people are trying to figure out how we all are related and have a typical heterocentrist worldview, that they would assume the kids are related biologically to me because of how much we look alike. We normally don't respond to comments along these lines and instead wait for the kids to call dw "mama" in front of whoever is thinking she is the nanny. However, that doesn't always work because about 50% of the time they call us by our first names. Also, they have a nickname for dw that is a combo of "mama" + her first name that sounds like something kids might call a nanny. Doesn't help.<br><br>
4. Occassionally we do get comments that are something along the lines of assuming that we planned for our kids to look just like me, sort of the old school/historic model of choosing adoptive families for children based on how much they look alike so that the child would "never have to know." It's not like our kids could be a combo of me and dw, but it's like we chose one of us to play the part of "biological mother substitute" or something. This hits on one of the many raw nerves of adoption history, and reminds me of how much pain is in that history. Anyway, it's ironic in a way because when we went to go meet ds, we didn't even know what race he was. For some reason, this comment makes me feel compelled to respond, almost to speak out against the painful history of trying to "erase" adoption from children's realities. At the same time, it's an awkward conversation to have because it involves personal info about my kids' adoptions. Saying "we didn't design it this way" just doesn't seem to cut it.<br><br>
5. The forgetting comments are easy to forgive. Sometimes even we sort of forget. What makes the comments uncomfortable is when people forget and then feel the need once they realize what they've just said to go back and say any number of odd and interesting things as they scramble to "correct" for their mistake. It's easier when someone is more subtle.<br><br>
By the way, as much as our kids look like me, my dd is soooooo much like her cousin on dw's side in terms of her facial expression, mannerisms, behavior, pattern of speech, etc. etc. It's a unique way of being in the world, and they both seem to have been born to play the part. They haven't seen one another in several years since we live on opposite coasts of the U.S., but it is pretty incredible and I do find myself marveling at it.
 

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I find myself forgetting that my kids are/will be adopted. And I've never given birth. And we've got an open adoption. My son looks a lot like me. Until you see his two biological sisters. The resemblance among them is very strong. Plus, my kids don't understand that they are adopted (although it's not a secret at all.) I assume it will sink in with my soon-to-be six-year-old sometime soon.
 

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If it's a physical comparison, I say, "It's funny that we look alike, though he's adopted, but I guess we have certain similarities" or something. I also frequently will say something like, "Well, he does have darker skin like me, yes, but his height is from his birthmom!" or whatever. Affirm both relationships. I also try to add ways he's like us temperamentally, not genetically. So I might say "He's got beautiful brown eyes like birthmom, yes! But I think he gets his sense of humor from [adoptiveDad]!"
 

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Many people are surprised to find out that my brother was adopted from Korea as a baby. People regularly comment how much he looks like dad (complete Euro-mutt <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">).<br><br>
My brother and my dad like it. We giggle about it, because people's inability to differentiate is kind of funny to us. But the reason it's not hurtful or offensive is that from the time he was a toddler, my brother didn't want his identity to be "The one they adopted from Korea" but simply son/brother, not qualified, not seperate or "special" from the rest of the family. He didn't want his adoption to be the crux of his identity and actively resisted celebrations of his homecoming day or any education about his birth culture. He's a world traveller now, and has still chosen not to set foot in Korea in spite of having plenty of opportunity.<br><br>
So I suppose it depends on the family and individuals involved. You could always just tell them you're worried about offending them by "forgetting". Then they could let you know if it's a reasonable worry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hmmm answering as an adoptee and now as an adoptee adult mom to my biological children...<br><br>
When I was younger I never really got (or caught onto) those comments from family. Growing up my cousins would say stuff about the "lastname" family being "nuts" but that wasn't really offensive.<br><br>
Strangers I just always laughed at because they didn't know. People who didn't know didn't bother me. They just didn't know.<br><br>
Doctors bothered me the most because I was tired of telling my I was adopted and then ten minutes later they would be saying something ridiculous and forgetting I was adopted. The worst was when I had a new doctor asking about genetic problems in the family and I said I didn't know because I was adopted and she straight faced asked "well can't you find out" and I was taken aback but just said "no" and then she said "Well why not?" Yeah that hurt.<br><br>
However since having my own biological children family or people who know have said some really annoying things. Mainly how my children act or look like my parents. Many of the comments have even come from my own mother. And they kind of do sting.
 

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To me, it feels about the same way as when people say that my bio son inherited my red hair. (I dye my hair!) The same sort of thing would be the comments about my adopted son's brown eyes looking like mine.<br><br>
If it's a stranger in the grocery store, I smile and thank them and don't bother to set the story straight. My kids and I laugh about it when we get home.<br><br>
With friends and relatives who may or may not remember, I decide on the spot whether my answer is "um-hmm, how 'bout them Mariners?" or whether I gently remind them and chuckle with them about our similarities and differences. I usually do bring up something about DS's birth mom, like her cute smile. As he gets older, I'll have to feel it out, whether he wants me to bring it up or leave it be. I'd imagine if I were in his shoes as a kid, I'd be a little annoyed, like I was a kid when people would go on and on about how tall I was. Get over it, people!
 

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This is really interesting to me to read. My mom loves to make familial comparisons in regards to my bio son (of course, all positive traits relate to her, all negative traits relate to my dad, and it seems as though nothing is really like DH's family). I have asked her not to do that, and she has really gotten much better about it. I find it super annoying for a number of reasons, really. I have actually given a lot of thought to how I would deal with it in the future (and not really come to any conclusions), with both family and strangers, when we do have a bio child and an adopted child. It obviously depends on the individual child, but I can't imagine responding to someone who comments on an adopted child sharing traits with someone in our family by bringing up that the similarity is more with their birth family. I am a pretty private person, so maybe I am just projecting how I would feel. It seems like a pretty personal bit of information to toss out to a stranger, though. I would think some kids would be OK with it and some wouldn't. I would be curious about the families who do clarify the similarities are more related to birth family - how did you decide to respond that way? For adult adoptees, I am curious to hear more about how you would have preferred it been handled.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamadebug</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15483706"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It obviously depends on the individual child, but I can't imagine responding to someone who comments on an adopted child sharing traits with someone in our family by bringing up that the similarity is more with their birth family. I am a pretty private person, so maybe I am just projecting how I would feel. It seems like a pretty personal bit of information to toss out to a stranger, though.</div>
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We do this. People often comment on dd's height, and sometimes her appearance compared to the rest of our kids (she has a very similar round face and chubby cheeks like ds3). We're all tall, as is she, so people ask about it.<br><br>
I often bring up her birth parents, especially when people (or dd) comment about dd's looks. Dd looks SO MUCH like her birthmom, it's amazing. To me, and for dd so far, it seems positive to bring that up. It's one of the rare circumstnaces when dd's birthmom comes up casually in conversation, and I think it's a very positive mention. Dd is often thrilled when I bring it up, and it can sometimes lead to her asking (welcome) questions about her birth mom or birth parents.<br><br>
What I don't like is when people take the simple passing comment "she looks a lot like her birth mother" into lots of intrusive comments like:<br><br>
You have pictures of her parents? I didn't think they did that.<br>
How much do you know about her parents?<br>
Wow...why did her birth mom give her up? Do you know?<br>
...or any of the strange things people seem to ask about international adoption and birth parents.<br><br>
So yeah, sometimes it can backfire. But at 2.5 years, just as dd is starting to grasp her story and get enthusiastic about knowing all her "moms" (birth, foster, me), bringing up her birthmom in everyday references has actually been very positive for her. She's proud to look like her birth mom. I also like that bringing it up publicly shows/demonstrates to her that we're open about her adoption, and willing to show our own love and excitement for the difference in her looks.
 

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Each of my adopted sisters have had moments of "forgetting", even as adults. Like when my Dad died, and the doctor was speaking with us all quite frankly about familial risks of stroke. My oldest sister nodded gravely, agreed, and then we all burst out laughing.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> Racially and looks-wise, we all have nothing in common.<br><br>
My 2 foster kids (full siblings of a sibling group of 5) look nothing alike - you would not even guess them as the same ethnicity. My LittleGirl "reads" as white, LittleGuy appears Latino, and their sisters seem to be African American, perhaps mixed with Latin.<br><br>
Appearances are further confused in our family by ages - I am nearly 50 years older than my youngest kids, so people often guess I am the grandmother raising my grandkids.<br><br>
Maybe it's too confusing, or maybe I am not so approachable, but strangers rarely comment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If it helps, I gave the nose example because of seeing a picture of cousin at 13 next to a current picture of her older ds. Thus far, I've only commented on things like their smiles and how they crinkle their eyes when smiling. All stuff that ends up being the same for all families. Like partners end up doing those the same way and there'd better not be a biological connection there.
 

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I've written about this here before. DD looks <b>identical</b> to DH, in part because she is his bio half-niece. In fact, she looks more like him than she does her bio mom. She has red hair and, while DH (in my mind) clearly HAD red hair (it's faded now), people are constantly saying, "Where'd you get your red hair?" They'll even ask me who's redheaded in my family. I just say that there are redheads throughout the entire family, which is true. DH and DD's bio family is full of them, DH's paternal family (not bio-related to VeeGee) is full of them, my family members all have red undertones, etc.<br><br>
People also say things to DH, in front of VeeGee, like, "You can't deny her! She's definitely yours." We just nod and smile. She <i>is</i> ours, and is even biologically "his" to a certain degree, but it feels weird. I chalk it up to how people constantly tell me that I look like Parker Posey. My dad looked just like Ryan O'Neal (the 70s version) when I was a kid and my mom was Linda Carter (Wonder Woman). These comparisons were pretty much constant in my life. I think it's part of our human experience to look for classifications, ways that we sort the world into manageable chunks of information, relationships, etc. It's like being at a cocktail party and getting asked those same old, "Where did you go to school, oh, so you must know so-and-so?" questions. We're trying to relate to each other, in this case, very literally.<br><br>
My concern is that it will be confusing for VeeGee. I don't want to make a fuss over denying the biological connection because, like someone else said, it's just an awfully personal bit of info to toss out to a stranger. And, when family members, mostly on my side, comment, I know they're just remarking on the extremity of the similarity of appearance, which really is uncanny (some of you have seen the pics, she really is identical to him). I don't know, though, if I'll ever ask them to stop, mostly because I don't want to make a big deal out of it, and which might make VeeGee uncomfortable and, further, make family members feel like I'm assessing some faux pas to them, when they're just stating the obvious. I suppose if someone went on and on about it, I might say something.<br><br>
I do feel uncomfortable when people say it within earshot of VeeGee's bmom, though she's not around often, mostly because I just feel sorry for her in such situations because she's kind of a deer in headlights. For some people, I do feel like they're, in their own way, trying to defend <i>me</i>, like they're "taking my side," because they know that the relationship is strained. I just try to just move the conversation quickly away from it. Perhaps it's because I'm a Southerner, but I'm just averse to making any sort of scene out of such things.<br><br>
I'm curious to see how this unfolds for our family, and how my feelings evolve, as well as how VeeGee will respond.
 
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