Friday, February 10, 2006

Family Resemblance

I've heard from several people now that my daughter and I look alike. I find that a bit odd and yet strangley understandable. My daughter was born in China to Chinese birthparents. She has beautiful black hair with just a hint of red to it. Her eyes are large, beautiful, almond shaped black pearls. The bridge between her nose is wide and flat and I love it because it wrinkles when she's really happy and smiling. (Maylee Beezir means "beautiful nose" in Chinese). Her skin is golden, like the tan I always wished for every summer growing up. Her face is heart shaped with round rosy cheeks, a cute chin and rosy, full lips. I, on the other hand have very pale skin with pink undertones, blue eyes, an oblong shape and blond wavy hair. My nose is certainly not ugly, but would never be described as a button nose. My lips are small and my skin can be blotchy sometimes. So, the differences are evident, right?

Shortly after we brought Buttons home, I held her and we looked into a mirror and I was surprised she didn't look like me or I didn't look like her. Now, the social worker told us when we were doing our home study to remember our daughter wouldn't look like us and I thought she was a bit wacky or maybe she had to say this just in case someone is delusional. But after I watched this child, held her, fed her, soothed her, laughed with her, she became such a part of me that something inside of me that goes beyond rational thinking really expected the reflection to be different. Now, don't get me wrong. I am glad she looks like she does and it would be odd for me to look different than I do, but when I looked at her, she seemed familiar like an aunt or a grandmother. I knew any child who came into our home would be loved and would be family, but I didn't know I would have these thoughts. Somehow they comforted me a bit, though. I guess before we adopted I had some worries or pre-conceptions about seeing my child as always looking different than me. In my rational space, I know she does. However, I see her as such a part of me now that when I look at her I see the expressions of myself, my husband and some of our relatives.

This makes me think back to when I was reading Yahoo groups during our wait. There was a man who made the comment that he "sometimes forgets his daughters are Chinese". People were very upset with him and there was a heated discussion about this comment. Well, I don't know exactly what he was thinking, but maybe it's something like the thoughts going through my head. I think in this world we categorize people for whatever reason and in general the categories of "family" and "looks different from me" don't usually connect. In my case, these categories are very happily linked now and it makes me hopeful that I can do more cross referencing and maybe knock out a few more categories. I won't forget that my daughter is a Chinese American, but I must say that seeing a familiarity in her helps me to understand we are all family.


At February 12, 2006 at 1:59 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

As you know, neither of my kids "look" like me - but boy do I see myself in them. Just the other day I helping out in Brent's classroom & something flew out of his mouth & I froze. At that moment, he may have his dad's features, but he sure looked (and sounded)like me.

BTW, I forget that Allison is Chinese - or I guess I should say, I just don't think about it...

Hope you folks get better soon!


At February 14, 2006 at 4:14 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Great post. My husband is Chinese and we have a biological daughter. We are currently in the process of adopting from China. I can't wait to see our family photo once she comes home - my husband likes to tease that he and i will each have a matching girl! Of course, I am just looking forward to them being sisters.

At February 15, 2006 at 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know where I see a similarity between you two: most of the time I see you, you're both smiling and laughing and happy happy happy!


At February 15, 2006 at 10:28 PM, Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

She sounds absolutely beautiful from the way you describe her. I would treasure every single comment that you look alike. :-)


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