“To reflect back, especially with babies, children’s own image of themselves so that they find that image to be positive. Mirroring, something that mothers do naturally, builds self-esteem in children.”
For an adoptee raised in a family with no genetic ties, mirroring doesn’t happen and many of us struggle to understand who we are and where we fit in this world.
When I became a parent I was thrilled when people told that my son and daughter looked like me. They were, after all, the first people I ever saw who were biologically related to me so. Even though I struggled to recognize the resemblance, knowing other people saw it was enough.
We just returned from spending a few days in the happiest place on earth–the city where my grandchildren live– and I had an experience while we were there that surprised me.
My daughter and I were sitting on the floor working on a puzzle with my granddaughter. Makiya is three now and at an age where we can really have a conversation together. (She’s also at the age where she has a qwirky sense of humor as evidenced by the goofy look on her face in the picture shown above!)
It struck me, as the three of us chatted and worked on the puzzle, that we resembled one another and that we shared the same DNA. I can’t do justice to the feeling I had with mere words, it was a sense at the core of me of belonging that I don’t ever remember feeling before.
I’ve spent many hours together with Laurinda and Makiya in the three years since my granddaughter was born and never had such a sensation. Perhaps the difference this time was that the three of us were relating to one another verbally, in addition to visually, in a simple and casual manner while we worked on the puzzle together. Perhaps it had something to do with three generations and a recognition of the circle of life.
I thought to myself, so this is what other people feel who are blessed to be able to spend their entire lives among people they are biologically related to.
It was an amazing and affirming moment.