Yes and no. It's not that she's a metaphor for adoption but that she foregrounds identity itself. It's not just Dawn who suffers from an identity crisis in S5 onward...all the characters do. And yes...they intended it. Identity's been under barrage/in crisis probably since the onset of early capitalism. It's why we have Marx' wonderful description of the social maelstrom in The Communist Manifesto: "All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind". Isn't this what happens from S5?I wondered if Dawn was some kind of metaphor for being an adopted child...And when they eventually find out they are adopted, some people have an identity crisis, "Who am I?", "My family are not really my true family" etc. I'm not sure if the writers had any intention of this though.
That would have worked out . Another way you could have worked it was have Dawn staying with her Father for the first season & then at the start of the second season have Dawn come back with her . And i can see Dawn as 13 so old enough to care for her self but young enough to beNot necessarily. Instead of having the monks create Dawn out of, apparently, thin air, then altering everyone's memories to include her, they could have them simply infuse the Key's energy into Dawn, much like Illyria was infused into Fred, but without the destructive results or major character change. The Key would become part of a preexisting being (Dawn) so no background story would have to be fabricated. If it were kept dormant until the time that it could be used by Glory in her spell, no one, not even Dawn, would have to know that it was even there until the last moment. It could all be revealed just 1 or 2 episodes prior to the finale. Better yet, Glory could know all along, but no one else would. Everyone would think that she was trying to attack or subdue Buffy, so that she wouldn't interfere with Glory's plan, until Glory finally reveals the truth by grabbing Dawn.
Spike's "memory" of the Sprusilla break up was completely different to what actually happened in the true pre-Dawn canon. That's the generous interpretation of what is an otherwise blatant retcon designed to push Spuffy by pretending it was "destined" because Dru saw it in a vision.I have wondered how everyone's memories were different of those early years though.
That would have been a totally different Dawn then the one we know . But it does make for some good plot lines .I have thought how it would've worked out if Dawn had been Faith's sister instead. Having Dawn to take care of would've probably grounded Faith, although obviously Dawn would've had a harder life instead of being Joyce's daughter.