An Adoptee Asks, Who Do I Look Like?


I always knew I was adopted. Therefore, I never compared my looks to my parents. My mom had thick, curly hair. I didn’t. My dad had a receding hairline. Since I was a girl, still am, I never compared myself to him. I would look at other families. I would look at the boy and see if he resembled his dad. Lots of times he resembled both his mom and his dad. I thought that was interesting. How someone could look like two very different people. I also found it interesting how a girl, a very pretty girl, could look like her dad. But they do. Genetics is funny that way.

I read that people who live together for a long time, such as married couples, begin to resemble each other. Since they tend to laugh at the same things, share the same experiences, they start forming similar smile lines and frown lines on their faces. Mom and I rarely agreed on anything. Perhaps that’s why I never looked at all like her.

Since I was told my birth mother had died in childbirth, I never looked through the crowds, hoping to spot a woman who looked like me, only older. But I was often told that I looked just like so-and-so. Some friend of theirs, or someone they had just seen in a store. At first, when I would hear comments like that, I just ignored them. Everyone has a doppelganger. We see celebrity look-alikes all the time. When I moved to Ohio, my doppelgangers seem to take on a new meaning. Strangers weren’t just saying, “You look just like…,” they were being more specific. They thought they knew me.

One day I decided to stop in 84 Lumber, a local hardware store. I asked the clerk where I could find a particular product. His response, “You’re in here every week. You know where it is,” surprised me. He didn’t say I looked just like someone. He thought I was someone else. Could I have a twin? I seriously wondered if there was another person out there who not only looked like me, but could actually have been my twin. Maybe we were separated at birth. I was sent to one family and my twin was sent to another family.

A few weeks later, after giving a presentation to a group of eighty Weight Watchers members, I was approached by a woman. A very angry woman. She seemed furious that I didn’t recognize her. I had never seen her before in my life. Was she talking about the same woman who seemed to be a regular at 84 Lumber? Now I was seriously wondering if I had a twin. And if that twin lived in Ohio. Coincidences happen all the time. That would surely make a great story on the talk shows if I found a twin, or triplet, and we were separated at birth.

I started searching my birthdate online. Who knows? Maybe a famous person has their bio listed, with their birthday. I found a match! Yes! A lesser known actor, who appears in many movies, had my exact birthday. Day, month and year. I looked him up. Yes, I know. Since this is a man, people would hardly confuse us for the same person. However it intrigued me. I read his bio. Nothing in it mentioned adoption. I stared at his photo, wondering if there was any resemblance. I imagined there was, even though he was listed as being born in New York when I’m from New Jersey. I knew this was silly. Many people have the same birthday. But I think of that whenever I see him on TV.

We obsess about the unknown. I wish I had been given more information about my birthmother when I was growing up. I didn’t learn the real story until twenty-four years after my parents passed away. And you know what I never expected to find? I did have a relative in Ohio. My bio brother lived only two hours away from me for twenty years and I never found him until I moved to Maryland. It is a small world.

Never give up. Never stop searching.

Call Me Ella explains my search and my unexpected findings.

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8 responses to “An Adoptee Asks, Who Do I Look Like?

  1. I like your blog, can you please read mine that is also about adoption?

  2. Thank you! Can’t wait to read it. I hope everyone reads your blog!

  3. I shared your same experiences many times. All my life I kept wondering if I was related to strangers who looked like me. I tended to gravitate toward other parents and kids who looked like me. It drove me crazy when I was mistaken for some else with a similar appearance or I was told by others that I reminded them of someone I had never met. When I first met my birth family I was enchanted by the experience and astonished by our similarities in body language, habits, facial appearance, mannerisms, ways of thinking, and speaking. Even our voices were alike. In hindsight, I was able to determine that I had unknowingly been in the presence of close biological relatives on more than one occasion. When these events happened the experience triggered a sixth sense reaction leading me to believe they were ‘intuitively familiar’.
    http://judithland.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/are-you-my-sister-cindy/

    • Thank you Judith. I found people who weren’t adopted never understood my need to find a blood relative. Unfortunately, my birthmother passed away the same year I started looking. At least I have pictures. I have her eyes!

  4. I went to school with a boy who was also adopted and his birthday was the day after mine. We looked nothing alike and were born in different cities, but we made up stories that we were twins. It’s basically impossible not to wonder! *****I’m still thinking about your story and wondering if you have a twin!!! 🙂

    • That’s one of the reasons I wrote Call Me Ella. I’m sure I’m not alone. Most adoptees wonder. What if… It’s the unknown that lingers. Thank you for your comment.

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