Monday, September 8, 2008
Virtual Twin Studies Show that Nature Wins Again
Adoption news is popping up everywhere...in the Home section of the New York Times on Thursday (9/4/08), in the TV reviews on Saturday (The Locator) (9/6/08).
In Studies of Virtual Twins, Nature Wins Again (By Sarah Kershaw) the headline reads. The story is about what happens to children who come into a family fewer than nine months apart, usually the result of a couple doing all they can on several levels (trying to get pregnant, having multiple feelers out for adoption) to acquire a child and voila! two babies arrive at the home less than nine months apart. So...how do these "virtual twins" fare?
Are they alike? After all, same environment, same parents, pretty much...same everything....Are they as alike as two regular twins would be?
Not by a long shot.
Nature's pull is stronger. One family quoted says the differences between their two daughters are striking, and that the girls became more different as they grew older and were less influenced by their parents. The researcher, Nancy L. Segal, who has been studying twins for seventeen years, has come to the conclusion that there is clear evidence that genetics play a greater role than environment in intelligence and a range of personality traits. Quelle surprise! The research is scheduled for publication in the fall in Personality and Individual Differences, a psychological journal.
There was so much about my daughter that I could recognize from myself, and her father. The way she walked; a similar style in dressing, a potty mouth, a deep sense of irony. She smoked and loving hanging out in a pub--sound Irish? Well, her father was. And he certainly loved doing those things. Some of these traits absolutely drove her adoptive parents mad and turned them away from her. There was so much about her they simply didn't get. We all wanted her to quit smoking, say, but her husband smoked, and hey! she met him in a bar. I might not have liked it, but I understood it.
Jane, one of the other bloggers here, told me once that her first daughter Megan was sitting there once with her sisters telling them how she wasn't like them in many ways, but she and one of the other daughters both had on Birkenstocks, which you have to agree are popular but still, a very specific taste, and they all wore no makeup, same kind of hair style, same posture.
Last night when I got around to watching the birthmother/daughter reunion on The Locator, wouldn't you know the two women both wear lots of eye makeup and were dabbing their eyes as they cried when they met. The Times reviewer made a sarcastic remark about them not forgetting they were on camera, but hey, anybody who wears that much mascara is aware that tears are not mascara's friend. Both women had on blue tops. When I met my daughter, we both had on pink sweaters. We both loved men's style clothing.
As for The Locator, we can criticize this kind of reunion, but it seems rather snobbish of us to do so. If the only way you can get someone to find your mother is to approach a guy you know does searches in a bookstore and start weeping when you want to talk to him, who are we to criticize? To find my daughter I would have done it on camera if necessary--hell, I would have done it at Grand Central Station with a thousand people watching under the camera lights, if those were the conditions. I didn't have to, but I'm not going to criticize anyone who does--or even the shows that exploit this heart-tugging material.
And the mother says all the right things, how she never stopped thinking about her daughter, how she had this hole in her life, etcetra. Yes, I cried by the time the reunion came. If the show furthers our agenda--to open records, to show that closed records are cruel and unusual punishment for being adopted--what's to complain about? I'm hoping the show airs again, so check WE and if anybody finds it, please post a comment telling us when.
We are only going to win the war against closed records when we reach the public--and because of deeply ingrained feelings that "forever families" should not be "interfered" with by natural mothers who search--we still have a long road to go.
see you around campus--lorraine
Incidentally, the story was written by the same person who wrote the story written about in an earlier post (Loss and Gain Collide in Adoptee's Search for His Birth Family) about the probably identical wins who had been separated, and the remaining son tracked down the adoptive family of his brother. Sarah Kershaw. She gets it! Anybody know her?