My youngest son recently asked, “What will I inherit from my birth parents?” I get the most profound and perplexing questions from my boys about their adoptions while driving in the car. Usually there is very little time to answer or clarify the question. This one felt easier than most. I knew he was thinking about the future and material inheritance from other conversations and the way he asked the question. Simple answer – you’ll inherit nothing from your birth parents when they die. More complex, yet complete answer – you have already inherited your entire genetic makeup from them. Your hair and eye color, body type and build, those adorable dimples all come from what you inherited from your birth parents. Though I didn’t have time to go into the details of heredity, I think my son got the difference between inheriting money and stuff verses inheriting genetic makeup. Time to look at the Lifebook and see the one photo we have of his birth mother.
I have to stop and remember that my son may act like me, but he has different DNA that he got from his birth father and birth mother. Those eyes, nose and mouth that wrinkle in that oh so familiar way, do not come from me. They are a reflection of two other people I will never know except as I see them in my son. The down side of this is filling out medical forms. My sons have not had to do this for themselves yet, but one day they will have to deal with the unknowns of their inheritance – the family medical history. Putting down “unknown” or “no information” and then answering the questions of why don’t you know from the nurse, doctor, or worse the secretary taking the forms. I wish I could spare my sons from this, yet it is part of the “inheritance” of being adopted. I just pray they never need that kind of genetic family history.
What questions do you get from the back seat?