social research

Genetics, Adoption and First-World- Curiosities

I was enamored with this photo (this is the first time I met my birth father) for many reasons, but specifically I kept looking at our fingers. The placement on the knee, the spacing between our fingers.

I was enamored with this photo (this is the first time I met my birth father) for many reasons, but specifically I kept looking at our fingers. The placement on the knee, the spacing between our fingers.

For much of my life I've succumbed to the idea that many of my unanswerable questions fall under the umbrella of nature. I hoped that someday my genetic questions would be answered. I wanted to know if my birth mom is right handed or left handed. I fancied that my birth father had dimples and assumed that everyone in my birth family had brown eyes, 4c hair texture and caramel colored skin. But my curiosities didn't stop there, I was also curious about some possibly genetically impacted markers like "Achoo Syndrome" (a dominant trait also called, photo sneeze reflex), or "hand clasping" (learning which thumb one automatically places on top of the other when clasping hands together). Reuniting with my birth family allowed me to learn some of these answers!

However, I’ve remained curious about similarities between biological relatives that aren't necessarily genetic, but actually may not involve nurture either...

  • If a birthmother and her child reunite at a later age and find out that they both use hearts to dot their I's, if this a coincidence or explained by genetics? 

  • When I met my birthfather after being introduced to Bryan he replied; "It's good ta meet'cha Bryan. B-R-Y-A-N, Bryan" spelling each letter of his name aloud. At that moment my mom and I exchanged long glances silently flashing back to all of the times I spelled out words just for the sake of spelling the word aloud. Throughout my childhood we thought this habit was to help me to more clearly understand the word as my hearing loss made it difficult to hear the difference between the words "curb" and "curve." But now...now I wonder - could this be genetic?

  • My sister Shawna, loves cats. She has always loved them. I can't remember a time when our family did not have a pet cat that my sister took care of. You could guarantee that every birthday, Christmas and any other occasion she would recieve at least a few gifts that involved cats - cards and shirts that have pictures of cats on them - she can never have too many. Upon meeting her biological mother a few years ago, we quickly learned that her birthmother was known as the cat lady of her neighborhood.

  • My brother and his identical twin are hard for me to tell apart (pictured below). They walk similarly, the sound similar, their mannerisms are the same - all of this may seem trite, since they are identical twins, however they were raised in very different environments after being separated as young children. When they found each other in adulthood they learned that they even got similar looking tattos in similar places on their bodies!

My brother Steven and his twin (who grew up in a different adoptive family)

My brother Steven and his twin (who grew up in a different adoptive family)

I'm no longer solely curious about hitchhikers thumb (the autosomal recessive trait of having a thumb curved back at nearly a 90 degree angle), diabetes or depression, but am continually curious about how to reason and understand the non-genetic similarities between biologically related peoples who haven't known each other.

I greatly dislike the idea of using adoptees for scientific experiments, or my first world curiosities, but it'd sure be wonderful to learn whether of not there is a genetic mutation for spelling, tattoo placement or a love of cats.