Why I Will Never Refer to My Daughters as “Twiblings”
I am a mama of two beautiful girls. They are now 20 months old and 14 months old. That’s right – only six months apart. Life is wildly adventurous and beautifully chaotic with two toddlers but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My daughters have brought me more love, lessons, and adventure than I could have imagined. Their relationship, even at such a young age, has been beautiful to witness. It’s so inspiring to see how they are capable of loving one another with no blood or DNA involved. This kind of love is purely and magically built only by adoption.
I am so grateful for the experience of raising two girls that are so uniquely close in age. It is tough, messy, beautiful, and rewarding – all in the same moment. Of course, parenting two toddlers has its disadvantages, too. We must split the attention between two. We must split our energy between two. We’ve never experienced what it’s like to only have one child to dote on (except for my oldest daughter’s first six months of life – and I don’t even remember what that was like anymore!). Some may say that it’s basically like having twins. Actually, many people have said this to me. Now, I quickly respond with “no, it’s like having two toddlers”. I understand what they’re saying, of course. In some ways it is like having twins but I will never, ever refer to my daughters as twins, “twiblings”, or “almost twins”. I see these terms thrown around a lot in the adoption community because it’s not uncommon for families to have children close in age. Many times, a couple will adopt and get pregnant resulting in babies close in age. And some, like us, have adopted two that are close in age. So, of course, we bond with alike families who know the work that goes in to raising two kids close in age. People like to label their children with these cutesy names because, well, it sounds cute, I guess? But I feel very strongly against these types of terms and labels. I’m certainly not saying these labels are wrong – they just don’t work for us. And here’s why I’ll never refer to my daughters as twins, twiblings, or almost twins.
The obvious. They are not twins. At all. Not even a little bit. They didn’t share the same womb. They don’t share the same DNA. They don’t have the same noses or smiles. Ironically, my daughters couldn’t be more different which I must admit I absolutely love this about them. My oldest has dark olive skin, dark curly hair, and the most beautiful big, brown eyes. She is spunky and has an attitude as big as the sky. She’s fearless and adventurous. My youngest has beautiful porcelain white skin, the brightest blue eyes, and a petite figure. She is conservative, likes to observe before getting in to things, and has an ornery grin. She is caring, kind, and loves to cuddle. They are so very different. And I love to celebrate EACH of them – individually. We talk about each of them, what they look like, how they are the same, and different. We embrace individuality.
Honoring where they came from. My daughters came from completely different places, backgrounds, and DNA. How can I call them “twins” but honor their individual backgrounds? This is perhaps the most important reason I can’t refer to them as twins. We are so proud of each of their stories and they are very different. We talk about their birthmothers and looks at pictures of their birth families. We tell their birth stories and what it was like to meet each of them for the first time. We often tell them about the day they meet each other and how happy it made us to have them. I personally don’t see a way to honor their biological connections while referring to them as twins.
We don’t do labels. I try very hard as a mom to not put any type of label on my children. I recently read the book “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This is a powerful read. It demonstrates in great detail how labels can affect us from the youngest ages. It discusses how parents innocently create these labels in which children get “stuck” in for years, maybe their entire life. Referring to my girls as “twins” or anything of the like may send them to message that they aren’t individuals themselves. To me, that label automatically assumes they look alike, act alike, dress alike. The label could deter them from figuring out the world on their own and making decisions for themselves. I don’t want them to ever be expected to do the same things or have the same friends.
Embracing their differences. As a mother, I couldn’t love my daughters more. Mostly I love how different they are. I already see them making their own decisions and figuring out things on their own. Every week, I make an intention to have a one-on-one date with each of them. My husband does the same. This ensures we get individual time with them and they are comfortable spending time apart. I believe this encourages confidence, expression, and freedom. I want them to know that I am completely supportive of them to each make their own choices.