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Birth order

April 19, 2011

I keep mulling over the revelations from the adoption lady. It occurred to me that if I have two older sisters, that means I’m not really an oldest child! I’m not sure I buy into birth order theories, but if they hold water, I wonder how they bend or break if adoption is thrown into the mix. I have always considered myself an oldest child, and it is really hard to imagine having older siblings. I’m not sure I like the idea of being a youngest or a middle kid. But I guess that is probably not surprising since I AM the oldest in my adoptive family.

I have read profiles of adopted kids who were adopted a little bit older. There was one boy who remembered being an oldest child in Korea, but was a youngest in his adoptive family. I think that would be really hard and confusing. Yet another identity marker that is all of a sudden completely different than what you thought it was. Maybe there is something to this birth order idea, I don’t know. I am having an awfully hard time lately trying to decide if the things I am reading are actual fact, or pseudoscience nonsense. Sometimes we think something is hard and fast fact, and then we learn more and discover we were totally wrong. But sometimes we learn more and the fringe crackpot theories of 20 years ago turn out to have more than a hint of truth to them. Science? Propaganda? Hypothesis? What to believe…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Becca permalink
    April 20, 2011 5:50 pm

    It’s been awhile since I’ve studied it, but I believe that there is not a whole lot of evidence for birth-order effects on personality. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s almost entirely a function of nurture, as opposed to nature.

    I am sure you’re not looking for science answers here, but I thought I would throw out what little I know. I am finding all this adoption mulling totally fascinating, and I hope you keep working through it here on the blarg. Miss you times a million.


  2. Julia Bates permalink
    April 22, 2011 11:31 am

    I once talked to a family structure theorist at a conference. I told him about how we lived, inviting young men into our family to live–like William and Samuell and Johannes. He wondered if that was confusing for our boys to suddenly have older brothers. Maybe that irritated Justin at some level that he couldn’t articulate, that we took his oldest brother position away from him? What I was trying to do was model how to live with other races. I didn’t really work through all the other dynamics. Sigh.

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