April 03, 2007

Through the Generations

Issycat's post about finally being able to place her sons' ears and asthma within her family tree got me thinking about Puppy. The source of his ears, which manage to grow almost perpendicular to his head, is a mystery to us all. I find them unbearably cute, although they never fail to garner comments. (T's grandmother once suggested we tape them down so they would grow the "right" way.)

One benefit of an open adoption is solving some of these genetic mysteries. I know that Puppy's dimples are from R, his rosebud lips from K, and his gorgeous coloring from R's mom. But no one knows where his ears come from. We were discussing the mystery last month and K finally shrugged, "I guess they must be from my side."

K was adopted a few days after birth. Although her parents met her first mom once, it was a closed adoption. I know that her family has tried unsuccessfully to search for her first mom, although I am not privy to the details. It is not something K talks about often. The last time I mentioned it to her, she cried and changed the subject, and I felt like a complete heel.

I sometimes think about K's first parents, especially her mother. I wonder how she feels about K's adoption and if she has ever searched for her. I daydream about introducing her to her grandson. (What would people label him after two generations of adoption? Birth-birth-grandson? Gah.) How would she feel to learn that she and K are not just connected as mother and daughter, but as women who placed their children for adoption?

K's adoption influences her relationship with Puppy in subtle ways. Her experience as an adoptee informed both her decision to place and her choice of open adoption. She worries that Puppy will go through a phase of hating her. Though she's never explicitly made the connection, I wonder if it is because she has felt that way towards her own first mom before.

And I wonder what will Puppy think about his truncated family tree. Somewhere Puppy has yet another set of grandparents, and at least one more half-aunt. Somewhere out there are people carrying the same genes which produced his wonderful ears. They are the keys to the medical histories and family stories which we have in abundance from R's family, but which stop abruptly with K. Would he ever want to find them? Is that that even his right?

I'm learning that for our family that the effects of adoption are not contained neatly within the triad. They wriggle into subsequent generations for better and for worse. It pushes my own sights ahead to the next generation and motivates me to maintain connections to Puppy's extended families not only for him, but for his possible children. The ones who will be not only my grandchildren but K's and R's as well.

1 comment:

Overwhelmed! said...

Heather, you make some interesting points in this post. I'm really enjoying reading your blog! I found you through TheMomBlogs!

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