Nature versus nurture

April 7, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 2 Comments


Sometimes as I rock Sunshine to bed at night, I think about her first mother. I mostly grieve for all that she will not have the privilege of experiencing with our special girl. I wonder what she is doing now and if she thinks of our daughter. I wonder if she knows how loved Sunshine is and what a true blessing she is to our family. I wonder if she knows how honored I am to be her mama. I wonder if she is curious about her personality, and the cool little person she is growing into.

A few nights ago as we rocked and I was singing You Are My Sunshine, Sunshine started singing along. She’s been singing with me off-and-on for several months now, and it is just the sweetest thing a mama could hear from her speech-delayed baby! But it got me wondering about her first mother a little bit more. Did she like to sing? Does Sunshine sing along with me because her first mother was musically inclined? Or is it simply because I’ve been singing to her for almost two years? Is Sunshine’s feisty, sugar and spice personality a product of her environment or is her first mother the same way? Is she silly because she learned from her older brother or was her first mother also silly? Do they have the same desire to help others? The same keep-trying-till-I-get-it attitude? Are they both observant and careful or did Sunshine learn to be that way because of her life experiences? Is Sunshine loving and affectionate and sweet because we love her in a similar way? Or is it because her first mother was sweet and loving and caring as well? Maybe it’s nature. Maybe it’s nurture. I can’t help but wonder what parts of her personality were decided while still in her first mother’s belly. It’s a part of my daughter’s history that I just don’t know, and is unfortunately unknown in many adoptions.

Oftentimes, I take it for granted that Sunshine just is who she is. I don’t think about the parts of her that her first mother gave her. She is just “Sunshine” to me on most days. There are sometimes when I see her do something that I know, without a doubt, she learned from our family … things she does that have her big brother or big sister written all over them. It’s undeniable. “Oh, she got that from Lovebug,” I can easily say. But I just don’t know about many of the other traits. I’ll probably never have answers to these questions, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering. And it shouldn’t stop me from celebrating what may have come from her first mother. Even though I may not know the exact traits that she gave Sunshine, they are no less important. And I love her first mother for giving them to her. Sunshine is growing into a miraculous, inspiring little girl partly because of “nature” and partly because of “nurture.” What a beautiful thing that is to witness.

2 responses to “Nature versus nurture”

  1. Nancy says:

    We mamas wonder and wonder about all the unknowns. I suppose it’s not nearly as much as they will wonder themselves.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kate Hall says:

    I wonder this all the time about my kids. Sometimes I see them doing something beautiful that seems so natural to them that I know didn’t come from us and I wonder, did that come from their birth parents? My daughter goes around introducing our entire family to strangers. I’m an introvert, so I’ll go as far as avoiding people all together but she does it so easily and with such joy. It’s so beautiful to watch and think, I wonder if her first mom or dad does this?

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