Today we feature a guest blogger, Sara Gregory. Sara is mama to a sweet two-year-old boy through embryo adoption. Her greatest pleasure is to have his hugs and kisses every day!
Lacking a Genetic Connection – Does It Matter?
We are inconspicuous, my son and I. We can go to the playground or to Target, and no one would guess we aren’t genetically related. We’re both Caucasian with similar colored eyes. Our souls are attuned on a deep level. He runs to me when he is hurt, and he holds my hand more tightly in a crowd. I can understand his toddler chatter, pulling specific words and needs out of speech that is unintelligible to others. I know him based on his animated expressions, and he knows me the same: disappointment, fear, and joy in lit up eyes or furrowed brows.
My son came to me as an adopted embryo. He has a different DNA makeup. A different blood type (from both my husband and me). Different heritage; I’m mostly French and German whereas he is mostly British and Irish with a splash of Southern and Eastern European. With all those differences, we notice nothing in day to day life.
Genetic connection means nothing, and it means everything.
Genetic Connection Means Nothing
He’s mine. My body grew him. I felt his first kicks and nourished him with Sonic cheeseburgers and fresh fruit, some of my cravings. In every sense of the world, I labored to bring his almost nine-pound self into existence. His birth was a spiritual experience. They laid him on my chest, and I looked into his eyes. I felt like I have always known him.
I figured out his cries. His routines. His preferences. He liked to be held close, bounced, and have his booty patted. He had an insatiable desire for milk. I miss him while he is gone at preschool, and he misses me.
Not sharing DNA does not affect our attachment and relationship. I’m his mama, and he’s my baby boy. Nothing can or will change that.
Genetic Connection Means Everything
However, by dismissing my son’s DNA, I am dismissing him and his story. He was formed in a clinic across the country. He had genetic parents who tirelessly cycled to get him here, in the earliest stages of life. He’s got a gorgeous olive tone complexion that tans easily in the sun. He’s tall and muscular and has a build unlike anyone in my or my husband’s genetic families. He has his own medical history, apart from mine.
The value of his genetic origins does not compete with my relationship with him. In fact, they exist in unison, forming an unbelievable and beautiful story of redemption. I would not be a mom were it not for his genetic parents. If they didn’t have to do IVF, and if there hadn’t been remaining embryos after their cycle, and if they didn’t choose to place the remaining embryos into a family- if any of those things hadn’t been what they are- my arms would be empty.
Our lack of genetic connection matters. I can’t dismiss it. It’s not “just DNA.” He deserves to know his origins as much as possible and to have them respected. Meanwhile, I am no less his mom because we don’t share DNA. We have the richest connection I’ve known.
For another viewpoint about genetic connection and adoption, read Adoption and Genetics: Implications for Adoptive Parents, a blog post published by HuffPost. And for a more details on genetic connection studies, visit Genealogical Bewilderment on Wikipedia.