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Adoption and Genetics: Nature Versus Nurture

smiling adoptive mom holding her baby girl

When we talk about adoption and genetics, the topic of nature versus nurture is sure to come up.

Nature versus nurture is a psychological debate concerned with the extent to which a person inherits certain behaviors and characteristics through genetics (nature) and the environment (nurture). Arguments exist for both sides, but many believe an individual is shaped by a combination of both.

The nature versus nurture debate has an interesting connection to adoption. Adopted children receive genetic characteristics and behaviors from their birthparents. But they also learn characteristics and behaviors from their adoptive family as they grow up. As a result, an adopted child usually demonstrates characteristics and behaviors reflective of both their genetics and environment.

Adoption is a shining example of how great an influence the environment can have on a child. Overwhelming evidence shows that growing up in a loving and stable environment can have a deeply positive impact on the behavior and development of a child — adopted or biological.

Yes, your adopted child will share a significant number of characteristics with his or her biological parents, but you will be raising this child. The environment you provide them with will have a profound affect on their morals, their values, how they act, and the person they become.