As an adoptee, I have always been fascinated with the debate between Nature vs. Nurture. It is a topic of discussion that has been around for decades. Yet there is not one single answer. Depending on the circumstances and the individuals involved, the pendulum can swing in different directions. I am not here to debate whether nature or nature carries more weight than the other. I am simply here to share my story and how nature vs. nurture has affected my life.
A couple of months ago, we talked out digging into our genetic roots and what that looks like for adoptees. Adoptees often feel uprooted and displaced. The feeling of loss and loneliness creeps in causing adoptees to feel alienated. There are times I get tired, and want to stop searching, but as an adoptee my mind will not let me stop. So, over the years I have wrestled with nature vs. nurture and what parts of me belong to what.
Adoptees Tend To Struggle With Nature Vs. Nurture
I love the huge mammoth sunflowers and I have always dreamed of having a yard full of these majestic, yellow flowers. So last year I planted several mammoth sunflowers in my backyard and waited for the flowers to grow. After a few months of little growth and frustration, I asked my mom for help on why the flowers were not blooming. My mom told me that I need to make sure the seeds are planted far enough away to grow, but close enough to each other for the roots to support each other. Trees and flowers of the same species link together at the roots and communicate with each other. I am forever amazed at the thoughtfulness and detail that God put in to create this wonderful world. The roots and soil work together to grow and thrive.
It is very common for adoptees to feel uprooted…
So, over the years I have been digging into my roots. I have participated in DNA testing with Ancestry, 23 and Me, and MyHeritage. I comb through every single match, and detail in hopes of finding some of the pieces to the puzzle that is my life.
Nature Vs. Nature Can Look Like An Unfinished Puzzle
I was born in Haiti and adopted at the age of three into a Caucasian family living in North Carolina. Throughout my life, I had to navigate what it means to be Haitian American, African American while being raised in a Caucasian family. I had many cultural influences that dictated how I moved about in this world. Over the years, I found it to be more difficult to identify who I am at my core. I enjoy playing and watching track and field, and basketball. I love listening to John Coltrane on Vinyl and occasionally beatboxing through the house, even though I am terrible at it. My heart skips a beat when I hear an amazing poem, and I can’t draw a straight line if my life depended on it.
All the attributes make up who I am, but I do not know from where and who I get these traits. I am very different from my family, and I do not know my biological family well enough to know which traits come from where. As adoptees, we do not get the full picture and we are left to paint a picture blindly.