A disgusting case in point -- Maya bites her nails (I have to say "her nails" not "her fingernails," because she's been known to bite her toenails, too!). As we were getting ready this morning, I'm only half paying attention, I confess, when I heard Maya saying something that included the words "bite," "nails," and "Zoe." Took me a minute to figure out the sentence, then I asked for confirmation, "What did you say?!" Maya first said, "Never mind," maybe realizing I wasn't going to like what I was about to hear. I insisted, "No, you were saying something about Zoe and biting nails. What was it?" Maya, always truthful, replied, "Last night, I bit Zoe's nails. I didn't have any left, and she asked me to!"
Every family is different, I know, and the ability or desire to adopt siblings for an adopted child is a personal choice. But at a forum I read, there was a recent discussion about whether it was important for a transracially adopted child to have a same-race adopted sibling. Intuitively, I have the sense that the answer is yes. I didn't have much to add to the discussion, but did recall that there was something about it in the Evan B. Donaldson Institute report, Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, about Korean adoptees:
While the listing of experiences/services in the survey did not specify “adopted” siblings, almost all of the respondents with brothers or sisters reported having adopted siblings, so we can likely assume that having a sibling who also was adopted was the context of this support. Previous research has found that for transracially adopted young adults, having only a sibling born to their adoptive parents was associated with maladjustment (Brooks & Barth, 1999). Also, Korean adoptees participating in the “Gathering” reported that having a sibling from Korea was a source of comfort and support (Freundlich & Lieberthal, 2000).
Not very definitive, hmm? There are no absolutes about this. I think Zoe and Maya are very fortunate to have each other, for lots of reasons including the support they give each other on issues of adoption and race. But I also think if I had decided not to adopt again after Zoe, things would still work out well for her. And I was reminded of this issue of same-race siblings today because I showed my Adoption Law class Adopted: The Movie. I was again struck by the extraordinary support Korean adoptee Jen got from her only sibling, the brother born to her white adoptive parents. So this probably falls in the "it depends on the individual" category . . . .
And yes, Zoe is the artist featured above!