I have heard adoptees say often that they look in the mirror and don’t “recognize” the face that is looking back at them. It just seems like a stranger. I would love to learn and talk more about this. What do you think when you look in the mirror?
For me, I have always thought I was ugly. Objectively, I am not pretty, and definitely one of those people who don’t come out well in pictures. I’m sure having no one that mirrored me as a child has something to do with this.
Unfortunately, this carries over into my children. When I look at them and see a resemblance to myself (i.e. this one’s eyes, or another’s chin), I think, “Oh that poor child, why can’t she be pretty like so and so’s children? Why do they have to look weird?” Just being brutally honest here, I would *never ever* say this IRL or a non anonymous blog. Other people say they are handsome or pretty, so I know it’s just my weird adoptee perception.
I thought of this tonight, because I saw a picture of a young woman that reminded me of my adoptive mother at that age. I looked at her picture, and thought she was beautiful. Even though I would not call my adoptive mother “beautiful.”This is not the first time this has happened. It’s like I see those features I saw all my formative years, and go “yes, that is good, that is right, that is acceptable and loved.” Looking at my own face that is similar in coloring but different in many ways, and I see “other, different, weird.” We were similar enough that strangers always say “I see the family resemblance!” (and I die inside) but I don’t see it when I look in the mirror. Not the way I would if we were blood relatives.
Strangely enough, now that I am in reunion, I don’t see the resemblance when I look at my first mother either. Other people do, and I see it in the one or two pictures I have seen of her at my age, but I can’t look into her older, real face now and see “Baby Girl B-ness.”
I would love to know if there is any science behind this.