Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kiss Me, I [could be] Irish!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  After serious severe weather this winter, and torrential rains and river/lowland flooding the past couple weeks, I was so happy to wake up this morning to beautiful blue skies, sunshine, and what is expected to be 65 degree temperatures!!  Based on the large Irish population here in Northeast Ohio, I might just say this welcomed weather is thanks to the luck of the Irish!

However, St. Patrick's Day tends to hold a sentiment that differs from the usual green beer and corned beef for those conceived from anonymous donors (especially those from the by-gone era of secrecy  and no records).  For most of us, we are deeply interested in the ethnic makeup of our biological father, and therefore half the ethnic makeup of ourselves.

Earlier this week I was talking to Stephanie Blessing on the phone about the newfound knowledge that her biological father was/is Jewish.  For adult offspring like Stephanie, who have absolutely no information, this tiny bit of knowledge gives her not only hope in learning more about him, but also a small sense of self that previously was unknown.

Often donor-conceived adults and adoptees are questioned and wonder about about what ethnic group they supposedly resemble.  It becomes a sort of game, matching personal characteristics with those characteristics that are stereotypically associated with certain ethnic/racial groups, and therefore trying to identify some bit of knowledge about our own identity.

Growing up I often wondered what ethnicity my biological father was, and eventually concluded it was most likely that he was of Anglo-Saxon descent since I still had light colored eyes and my complexion was somewhat fairer than my mother's dark Armenian complexion, and most of all I have LOTS of freckles (and no one else in my family has freckles).  The freckles and the hints of red in my dark hair always made me wonder if my father was Irish.  So I used to joke that I might be Irish so I might as well celebrate St. Patty's Day in full force (mostly in college.......).

Now, when I finally learned my donor number in 2008 and subsequently received minimal information about my biological father, I learned that my hunch that he was Anglo-Saxon was confirmed.  His mother was English or of English descent.  However, there was no ethnic group assigned to his father.  So, I will still stand by my stance on March 17th, "Kiss me, I [could be] Irish!!"


The Declassified Adoptee said...

I've been told my whole life "oh, you look Irish." Frustrating to not be able to know, isn't it?

Laura Schwartz said...

I've also been told all my life that I look Irish. Strangely enough, I look exactly like my great-grandmother, who was German on both sides! But she married an Irishman and so I did inherit the green genes after all.

Kevin said...

Lindsay, you hit the nail on the head. Its been assumed for my entire life that my bio-Dad is Irish. No one else in my family has the red hair that I do and it has always set me apart. And i've always identified myself as being Irish and have participated openly in that culture. The prospect of discovering that I am not Irish would be absolutely devastating to me.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the growing importance of ethnicity in our culture, is somehow related to the fragmentation of our more immediate family