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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

Are Adopted Siblings Who Look Alike “Blessed”?

The other week I was at my local pool with my three children, holding my two-year-old son, when a familiar female voice behind me asked, "Is this Keith’s little brother?"

I looked around and saw it was a teacher from the school Keith, my seven-year-old, attends.

"Yes," I replied, "this is Brent."

She gasped and said, "Oh, my! He looks just like Keith. What a blessing. What an amazing blessing."

Though I wasn’t sure what the "blessing" was, I assumed she meant I was lucky to be able to adopt such a handsome child, so I said, "Yeah, we think he’s pretty cute."

She continued to stare at Brent with amazement. "I just can’t believe how much he looks like Keith. This really goes to show that God had a plan when he brought the two of them together into your family. You are so blessed for them to look alike."

I replied with a quiet "Uh huh," before changing the subject to Keith’s summer school classes.

This teacher’s comments were odd and puzzle me still, many days later, and I am left with many unanswered questions:

She obviously thinks my kids are lucky to look like one another, but what about my third child who does not look like either of her brothers? Will she face more difficulties because she does not look biologically connected to the rest of her family? Do people who look like their siblings have an easier time in life? Is this a comment parents of biological siblings hear on a regular basis? Do adopted children need to look genetically connected to someone in their family?

I’ve never heard a parent—adoptive or biological—brag about how lucky they are to have their children look alike.

When my husband, Paul, and I were planning for our first adoption, we were open to building a transracial family. While trying to find kids with looks similar to ours didn’t affect our decision-making process throughout our multiple adoptions, wanting to parent children who would share similar backgrounds to each other did. We considered the label of being adopted, and we thought about what it would be like for child to be raised by parents of a different race (we’re both Caucasian). And, in doing so, realized that, no matter how much we increase our awareness and try to educate ourselves about these two truly unique circumstances and the challenges they might pose, we will never fully understand what life is like for our children. So we decided to let the race of our first child determine that of future adopted children, so they would always have one another to turn to for support. So when Keith, a Hispanic baby, came into our lives, we began growing a blended Caucasian and Hispanic family.

I shared the exchange with a friend who, having adopted two children from Russia and one from Kazakhstan, is often a source of transracial parenting support. While agreeing that the intent of the comment was not mean-spirited, my friend, who has white skin and red hair, while all three of her children have brown skin and black hair, was equally puzzled by the teacher’s comments. She could not tell me if she thought I should be offended or if I was possibly being too sensitive about a comment regarding my children’s looks. It was nice to know that there was no obvious answer to my predicament.

In the end, I have chosen not to be offended by this teacher and am coming to terms with the fact that I won’t ever understand why she said what she did. Since I do not feel that she has ever treated Keith differently because he was adopted, I will continue to interact with her as I did before.

But I am curious if this line of thinking is common? If you’ve adopted transracially, how did you come to the decision? Would you be happy if your children looked alike? Has anyone commented on your children’s similar or dissimilar looks?

Answering Tough Adoption Questions

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle

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We are not adopting transracially, but we are adopting a little white girl (my husband, bio-son and I are white as well). When I show people pictures of our soon to be little girl they all comment on how she looks like my son and how great that is. ??? Beats me as to why…

By iHeartEllie on Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 10:04 am.

I am black and I adopted a little boy who is biracial. Many people tells me how much he looks like me then say how lucky I am that he looks like me or it must be God’s plan.  We both have dimples and when strangers say , “oh my, he has your dimples ” I am often conflicted.  I also wonder if our physical similariteis will confuse him as he grows up.

By Karen011 on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 3:53 am.

No, it’s awful when people tell you that you look like someone.  Thanks for reminding me that it’s a total coincidence.
It’s worse when someone says this even after they know you’re adopted, as if looking like the people who adopted you will make “better” somehow.

My 0,02.  If you know someone is adopted, forget all about who “looks-like” who.  There are only losers in that conversation.  Adoptive parents and kids will politely smile, but they really think you’re inconsiderate.

By sno-kite on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 12:52 am.

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Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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