When There's No Family Resemblance
Understanding your child's genes
A human being, however, cannot be created out of just 23 chromosomes, requiring 46. Sperm, carrying 23 chromosomes must meet an egg, also carrying 23 chromosomes, in order for a new cell to be created carrying the proper number of chromosomes.
So your baby inherits half her chromosomes from you and half from your partner. But just which half she gets is a complete “gene lottery.” If both you and your partner have dark hair, but both carry and pass on the gene for fair hair, for instance, your child might get both of these light hair genes, and voila! You’re daughter’s a blonde. The results of the gene lottery can become especially interesting when siblings in a multiracial family manifest different characteristics from each parent’s race.
Environment and Adoption
Remember, genes aren’t the only factors that determine who your children will be; the environment in which they grow up has a huge influence. Nicola Saunders’ daughter, Tazmin, is very much like her mother in looks, yet is also startlingly similar to her father, even though she’s not biologically his daughter. Nicola says, “[My husband] treats her as his own, he is the only father she has ever known, and interestingly enough she has adopted many of his traits.”
Many adoptive parents frequently face the question of whether or not they are their child’s “real” parents. Katrina Carlisle, BSW, LSW, Executive Director of Coleman Adoption Services, Inc. and Tracy Barr, authors of Adoption for Dummies, say that if you are struggling for a response to this question, consider keeping it simple: “Just smile and say yes. Your answer may or may not satisfy those asking, but their satisfaction isn’t your concern.”
Whether your children look like you or not, it’s important to remember that they are your children and, as unfortunate or annoying as it may be, people will continue to ask prying questions and share their observations about your appearances. Why not keep your sense of humor and take compliments where they’re intended. Nadine recalls a recent comment from a woman in a shop: “My goodness, what a beautiful little girl. She must look just like her Daddy!” Smiling, and nodding benignly, Nadine thought to herself, “What am I? Fish paste?”
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