Monday, November 16, 2015

ABCs of Adoption: N is for Nature vs Nurture

The nature vs nurture debate can be examined in detail in adoption.  I have always believed it is not just one or the other but a combination of both.  There are some things that are just in our DNA and no amount of environmental influence will change that.   Other things can more easily be influenced by environmental variables.  When junior was placed with us he was a Denver Broncos fan, by the end of the season he had decided he no longer liked the Broncos and instead was a Steelers fan.   This decision was clearly influenced by his environment of having a dad who is a die hard Steelers fan.

Junior has also developed the following likes and interests

  • His favorite food is sushi
  • He is very interested in taking photographs
  • His favorite baseball team is the Chicago Cubs (and he thinks the Red Sox are ok)
  • He wants to go to London
A year ago this list would have been very different - part of that comes from being older but the larger part comes from imitating his parents.   

On the nature side of the argument he has unbelievable athletic skills - this is not something that either of his parents possess.  It only took him a few minutes to learn how to throw a perfect spiral, he can connect bat to ball more often than not, he has surprised adults at the basketball court when he makes a shot, and he is begging us to let him learn how to play hockey.   As he gets older I am sure we will see more traits and skills emerge that are part of his DNA.   

Surprisingly this topic can end up causing issues for adoptees.   What can seem like an innocent school project can send an adoptee into a tail spin.   Being asked to make a list of traits you inherited from one parent or another can be a trigger for some kids as they don't know.   We need to be prepared to ask teachers for alternate projects if this arises down the road.   

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