Ancestry is very important to adoptees. Knowing where we came from means the world to us. Learning who our parents are is part of that, but knowing family and cultural history is important as well.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I discovered I really loved Eastern European food like borscht and perogies. Anytime I made those dishes they tasted like comfort food, even though I didn’t grow up eating them. A year later, I visited my birth grandmother’s house for the first time, and she made kielbasa and perogies. When I commented on them, she informed me that she’s Polish. I didn’t know I had strong Eastern European heritage until I was 25, but some innate part of me knew about it.
Digging Into Ancestry And The Adoptee
After I found out about this fact, I wanted to know more about my ancestral origins. I made an ancestry.com account and through a DNA test, I connected with another relative and found out about my Irish descent. She was kind enough to send me a whole file with ancestral stories and even an old family recipe.
I loved having this journey of discovery, but the advice I’d give to adoptive parents is to let their adoptee go through it sooner so it can be incorporated more into the adoptee’s life. Cultural heritage is embedded in a person’s DNA and that curiosity is very likely to surface. Furthermore, this journey is even better when the adoptee’s adoptive parents are right alongside them.
Helping an adoptee connect with another family can be intimidating, but doing so doesn’t mean the adoptee values their adoptive parents any less. Adoptees want to know who they are. Part of their identity is their ancestry and part of that is also the amazing adoptive family who are raising them.