Nature vs. Nurture is a funny thing to consider as an adoptive mom. When you open the door to my son’s room, there are many things you can learn by looking around. You’ll quickly learn that he loves the outdoors. There are mountains, bears, and woodland creatures everywhere. He gets that from me. You’ll also see baseballs, books and a circuit board—all a reflection of his daddy. There are Bible verses framed on his walls next to handprints and crafts from this week’s creative sessions with his sister at the art table.


There are tools and musical instruments that his grandparents instilled in him. Then there are stars– so many stars, including Texas stars, pictures of his birth family, a calendar of the Best of Texas which has his birth grandpa’s name and office info on it. All of this he gets from them. You know what else he gets from them? His creativity, his smile, his curls, the way he says “Texasssssssss,” as he stomps his little boots on the ground. He is a reflection not only of the love and circumstances that created him, but of the love and nurture we dote upon him.


Nature Vs. Nurture Combine For One Complete Adoptee


Two families came together to cultivate this amazing child; his birth family and his adoptive family are both intricate parts of him. In a culture that tells us we should disregard his nature and pour into his nurture; we choose to nurture his nature.   


My son’s nature spurs him toward the way he looks, his artistic abilities, and the many things that make him who he is. He is confident and brave; he is intelligent and kind. These things are written into his very being from the moment of conception. He is uniquely hers in a way that I am honored and blessed to see. But that is just the beginning.


Ultimately it won’t change his heart or how he views the world on its own. However, how I embrace his mom and all that she equipped him with does reflect on him forever. Our nurture is where he gets his mannerisms, the way he says “actually…” just like his daddy or his ability to make a perfect latte at just 3 years old. There are so many things that he gets from his dad and I but just as much that he gets from his Grandpa and Glamma (Birth Grandparents) and his biological mom.  


Nature vs. Nurture. We’ve all heard it, and to some degree we all tend to believe in one above the other. So how do I look at my son and nurture him despite his nature? I don’t. Yes, I make sure that my love and nurture showers him and sets him up on the path of great nurturing; but I don’t diminish his nature. In fact, my goal is to nurture my relationship with his nature. That is- his birth family. If I speak poorly, think poorly, or simply gloss over his birth family then I cannot possibly be nurturing him. Most importantly, my nurture of his nature will forever encourage his love of his nature. 


Nature vs. Nurture Was Not Covered In The Home Study


Frankly speaking as an adoptive mom, I was not well prepared for this by adoption professionals. There just is not enough education that exists that speaks openly and honestly about the necessity to embrace birth families. What do I mean? Whether your adoption is open or semi-open you should still strive to know as much as you can about your child’s nature, as well as be trauma informed. Too many adoptive parents work towards finalization as if finalization is the end of their adoption journey.


The judge stamps a paper and suddenly all the grief, trauma, and education ends. This is so incredibly flawed, and no one is doing anything about it. We need to do better and be better for our children and for the love of their birth families. Finalization is merely a blip on the radar of a lifetime adoption journey. We can’t continue to pretend or falsely believe that finalization is the end when it is just the beginning. Nature vs. nurture and how to navigate all that well has to be considered at every stage in the adoptee’s development.  

We are the only education that many of our friends and family will ever receive about adoption. We dictate the way our children, our parents, our siblings, and our friends will view adoption. It is our job to nurture not only our child but their very nature and strive to truly love and assimilate to the culture and nature of their birth families. To encourage a positive perspective of their adoption, not by painting rainbows and butterflies, but by truly embracing their origins. We need to face the reality that we have severed family ties legally, but our job is not to sever the emotional or mental ties that exist. We need to encourage growth and knowledge and relationship with birth families where possible.


It Is A Matter Of Embracing Instead Of Assigning Value


His biological mom being his mom does not take away from me being his mom. Celebrating her and making sure he has a healthy relationship and view of her is just another way for me to love her and encourage his development into a healthy adult with a grip on his trauma and view of his story.  


So, parents- embrace your child’s nature. It is something you did not give them, but you can certainly embrace with them!