My twin! Family Resemblance
Going to Zoo was a treat. There we stood as a family in front of the ticket counter. My Mom took the lead here.
"One Family entrance, please."
"Mam, this is a birthday party, right? This discount is only for Families."
"Would you like to see our family picture? We are a family, some of our children are adopted."
We huddled behind my Mom in situations like these feeling a bit uncomfortable and proud. We were blatantly being told, yet again, that we don't 'look like a family.' My Mom was never thrown; she stayed polite, firm and simply explained.
Part of the fact that we looked different had another effect on all of us. I, for example, felt like a giant next to my adopted sisters. I dreamed of being petite like they were. I was upset about how big and clumsy I looked and would stare in the mirror trying to be dainty. My sisters pulled on their eyes after they arrived trying to make them look round. We desired to be connected by our looks, an impossible feat.
Sometimes as teenagers we got sick of the remarks. That is when practical jokes started becoming part of our routine. We would hear.
"Hey, you're related how is that possible?"
My brother would answer, "Dude we are twins and one of us came out black and one white."
This argument would continue for awhile, my brother and I fabricating all kinds of things. We even succeeded in getting a,
"Oh my Gosh, I can see it now, you have the same nose."
I am not proud of pranking people and making them look like fools, but as teens, my brother and I pulled it off and then laughed with our victims. My brother was a great sweet talker, and he convinced as I nodded innocently in agreement.
I forgot about all of this until this summer. My daughter was told yet again, "You look just like your big sister, you could be twins!" She started rolling her eyes and complaining. "I hate it when people tell me I look like you guys; I just want to be me."
My sister Olivia was visiting us and overheard Maya's outburst. She, now in her 40's, looked at my daughter and scolded her, "Be happy you look like someone! I only look like me and would love to know who I look like; I never will. Why don't you stop complaining and be happy you look like someone." Her words silenced my fourteen-year-old daughter, I smiled and thanked my sister. A beautiful longer conversation about adoption followed.
Sometimes we complain about the silliest things, and only others can make us realize that maybe our complaint shouldn't be one at all.
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife