There are several aspects of adoption and school that can be tough, one of which is the dreaded school assignment. It seems at least once a year, at least one of my kids, gets at least one assignment which is trickier for them than it is the rest of the class. We’ve encountered family trees (am I supposed to make my birth family’s tree or adoptive family’s tree?), bring in a baby picture (but we don’t have a baby picture), name assignments (a painful reminder that the person who picked the name isn’t the every day mom anymore), and various assignments to write about your family’s country of origin (which we don’t know and calling our kids Irish or German just because we are is a lie).
So far we’ve been able to somewhat navigate three of these. We did a “grafted” family tree, we went on a weeks long hunt and tracked down a baby picture, and we had a good conversation with my kids birth mom on why Mariyah’s name was selected. However that last one, write about your family’s country of origin, is something I thought we’d never have access to. Without going in to too many details, I’ll just say that this is not information that anyone in our children’s birth family has available for them either. When James first received the country of origin assignment in kindergarten, I’m sure it seemed like a trivial little thing to his teacher. A simple “wear an outfit representing your country of origin.” But it wasn’t simple to him, he feared being the only one in the class who wasn’t dressed up, it was painful to have a blatant reminder yet again that he was adopted, and even in kindergarten he yearned for that information about himself. We had a long talk about how in adoption there are just some things we may never get to know, and it’s unfair, but we can’t usually change it. We’ve had variations of this assignment and this conversation a few times over the years. My kid’s family’s country of origin is just something I never thought we would get to know.
A few years ago I started hearing rumblings about DNA kits that could reveal where your family was from as well as link you up with any distant relatives who had taken the same test. Several adoptees that I knew were encouraging these kits. I mentioned the idea to James and he was ecstatic. I tried to focus mainly on the country of origin aspect, and less on the linking up family members thing as I didn’t want any disappointment when my kids discovered they did not have long lost twins or a genetic connection to Jackie Robinson. The kits were much pricier back then, and I had a lot of trouble figuring out which specific brand to order. Too many choices. I’m not great at making choices. Weeks went by, and my plan to order the kits was pushed to the back burner.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to listen to a few adoptees speak, and again they all reiterated how awesome the DNA kits were. One had even tried every kit (and said they were basically all the same). Another had genuinely found her long lost twin by using them. That was all it took, I ordered our kits immediately. I went with Ancestry, simply because it seemed like the biggest one, and although I know we won’t be finding any long lost twins, it would seem like the biggest would have the best chance of linking up genetic connections.
These things just arrived! Don’t really know why I ordered 5. Violet doesn’t actually need one, but I suppose now we can all have fun spitting into that little tube together. I’ll update you once we get our results back. Has anyone else tried them yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, our kids got their syllabuses yesterday and I noticed a heritage project on the horizon. BAM! We’re going to knock that thing out of the park this year.
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