Social Question

Val123's avatar

When attending a family reunion where they have a family tree physically posted in the room, do you think there should be special notations for the family members who've been adopted into the family?

Asked by Val123 (12679points) February 9th, 2010

It happened at one of our family reunions once. Took us by surprise when we got there. The folks who had the idea were just tickled pink, and actually made a formal announcement about it, as if it was the best idea anyone had ever had.

It devastated my oldest daughter (who is adopted, although I usually forget that,) and she didn’t go to another reunion for 15 years. I was VERY upset. I don’t think I was the only one, either, because they didn’t do it it subsequent years.

Am I the only one who viewed that as callous and thoughtless?

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50 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No,they are part of the family.I do think there should be gold stars next to the dumbasses who came up with that idea;)

Blackberry's avatar

Sounds like a great idea, but I’m confused, why would anyone be devastated they were included in a family tree? I would be happy they thought of me as family.

ModernEpicurian's avatar

I genuinely believe that I would have ripped the family tree up there and then.

I once had a similar experience (though not quite on as grand a scale). I’m adopted and my mother and I were out shopping. She bumped into one of her friends, they were chatting away and her friend asked her “So, are you thinking of having children?” (bare in mind I was standing with them as part of the conversation) My mother replied, “Well I’ve already got children, Marty” My mother’s friend looked at me and squinted her eyes, then she well “Well, you know what I mean, real children.”

grumpyfish's avatar

In geneology, there is a symbol for an adopted child (heavy dotted line), but for a casual family tree, why wouldn’t they just be indicated as your child?

Blackberry's avatar

Ooohhhh nevermind I get it, they made an extra effort to point out that they were adopted….that’s horrible lol.

Blondesjon's avatar

I had an “A” branded on my forehead for easier identification.

Man, I miss having bangs.

Val123's avatar

@grumpyfish I have NO idea why they suddenly thought that needed to be pointed out.

@Blackberry Ya. It’s like, “This is a family reunion and this person is included, but she’s not really family. Just so you know.”

@ModernEpicurian I got that a few times. You just want to scratch their eyes out. But…what’s funny is that of all my kids, my oldest daughter looks the most like me! LOL! More than anything, Jen and I would get, “Well, there’s no doubt you’re mother and daughter because you guys look identical!” :) We’d just grin. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would never do such a thing – that’s just dumb. Family is family – when we adopt a child, they will know they’re adopted and so will others but they will be just as much our child as any of my other children.

simpleD's avatar

The creators of the Tree were obviously proud of their genealogy skills without consideration of the feelings of their family members. It was thoughtless. If you will be attending another reunion, I would contact whoever was responsible and kindly suggest that adopted members of the family not be singled out. They are as much a part of the family as those born into it. Any greater level of detail should be reserved for those doing actual genealogical research.

Val123's avatar

@simpleD O, it was a long time ago. I certainly contacted the person who was responsible, but I wasn’t very kind! The never did it again. I think that’s insightful of you….they were proud of their genealogy “skills.” That has got to be the only explanation….

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s right. She’s my oldest daughter and that’s that.

tinyfaery's avatar

How crass.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @simpleD‘s explanation. There was probably no malice intended. They were just being thoughtless or dense or stupid (if you will).

I wouldn’t make a big deal about it. I would simply take that person aside and suggest they remove the Family Tree from the wall before I break their fucking hands.

Sorry, my daughter’s adopted and I’ve heard more than my fare share of idiocy surrounding it.

katwalk65's avatar

Being adopted, yes I do.

cookieman's avatar

@ModernEpicurian: You should have bit her in the leg.

jackm's avatar

If everyone already knows the child was adopted, why was she upset that it was pointed out on the family tree? It is not like the person was specifically trying to ridicule your child, but family trees are made to denote the relationships between and around family members. The genealogical relationship between an adopted child and a biological child is different. This doesn’t mean the actual relationship is, or that the child is any less of a family member.

Now I do understand that it may be a sensitive subject because the child may have been teased about it, or because our society seems to think adopted children are bad, but I don’t think in this particular case the person who made the family tree was being rude.

Val123's avatar

LOL YOU GUYS!!!! @cprevite I’m seriously reading along in your post and about fell on the floor when I got to the last words “I would simply take that person aside and suggest they remove the Family Tree from the wall before I break their fucking hands.”

@jackm Not everybody did know. Pretty much the only person who DID know was the one who came up with the brilliant idea. Our family isn’t all that close and we’re scattered all over the country. And we don’t stay in touch much. Hell, they didn’t even know who my biological kids were. It was a pointless and thoughtless thing to do.

gailcalled's avatar

It would be like labeling me “BOC,” (Bossy Oldest Child)...uncalled for and unnecessary and unkind. What about surrogacy, IVF, etc?

jackm's avatar

@val123
well that’s an entirely different situation and it was uncalled for by the person who made the tree.

Val123's avatar

@jackm Exactly. Totally uncalled for. Pointless and hurtful.

@gailcalled What about….what about….“This one is really smart. This one over here is really stupid.” :) Or “Graduated from Harvard with honors.” “Dropped out of school in the 9th grade.”

susanc's avatar

@jackm – When your parents adopt you, they’re your parents. Not your sort-of parents. Not your parents except you can expect to be teased about it and called bad, unlike biological children. Your parents. They made a big effort to get you, they love you, they belong to you forever, it’s real. Not a joke. Not a temporary arrangement. Not a one-night stand. As real as real. “Rude” isn’t the issue. “Too stupid to live” is the issue.

Val123's avatar

@susanc You go!! That’s right. I got so sick of hearing “but she’s not your real daughter…” The hell she’s not!

ucme's avatar

Yeah not so much a tree more a neatly trimmed bush,oh that came out wrong oops!

KatawaGrey's avatar

That is just terrible. I would imagine that children who are adopted have some insecurities about their origin anyway, but having it advertised so blatantly? “Hey, you see those people, yeah, they’re not related to us but we love them anyway! Aren’t we so damn progressive?” That’s just awful.

I have this idea about children. Pregnancy and labor are hard. You earn that child when it comes out of your body because you worked so hard to bring it into the world. The same goes for adoption. It takes a lot of work and effort and pain to bring an adopted child into your family. When you get through all that, you’ve earned that child. The only difference is that child isn’t going to have some physical similarities that other family members might have.

Just out of curiosity, were other family members singled out this way, or were just the adopted people labeled as “other”?

Likeradar's avatar

@katwalk65 why would you want to be singled out in that way? I’m honestly just asking. I’m not adopted, and my reaction to the original q was hell to the no.

Supacase's avatar

Maybe not malicious, but beyond thoughtless. What if a child did not know they were adopted and found out because of that idiotic tree?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Supacase: That just opens up a whole other can of worms. I’m a child of artificial insemination and I’ve known since I was six. I’ve heard of people whose folks didn’t tell them and then they find out when they’re adults and it tears the family apart. I would imagine it would be a similar situation with adoption.

cookieman's avatar

@Val123: Glad I could cheer you up. I know of what you speak. There’s a lot of ignorance about adoption.

phoebusg's avatar

You may not like my answer, but I would just put up a biological family tree. With our cousins the chimps, going all the way to what we think is the first ancestor. That’s what I’d do if I was running the event.

Val123's avatar

@Likeradar I think @KatawaGrey was responding to the question in the details: “Am I the only one who viewed that as callous and thoughtless?”

@KatawaGrey Actually, yeah. But I don’t remember who.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Val123: Different user. :)

Likeradar's avatar

@Val123 I was asking @katwalk65. She said “Being adopted, yes I do.” :)

Val123's avatar

@Likeradar and @KatwaGrey Yeah! I meant @katwalk65. :) Ya’ll startin’ to look alike! But we’re still waiting to hear though, aren’t we. I can’t imagine anyone being adopted and wanting to have it announced at a family reunion….

Nullo's avatar

Nope. Family reunions and family trees are about family, not genetics.

katwalk65's avatar

I guess, for me, I would want to know—if I know I am adopted, that is—if you are referring to child who doesn’t already know, then do not post, but my mom told me when I was 7, I have a birth family, it liberates me from the inherited insanity of my adopted family, which I refer to as my family as they are, and I am 44 now, my only known family.
Hope that makes sense?! I want to be branched off from the 2 bloodlines, believe me, I am the sanest one of all with the craziest life! Go figure.

Val123's avatar

@katwalk65 Well, of course. My daughter has known that I wasn’t her biological mother as soon as we were able to have conversations. That’s not the issue. The question is, is it right to note it on a family tree at a family reunion?

@Nullo Best answer yet!

Likeradar's avatar

@katwalk65 It doesn’t make sense to me, but if it works for you, then it works. :)

Val123's avatar

I told my daughter about this question, and told her some of the answers (my favorite is still @cprevite “I wouldn’t make a big deal about it. I would simply take that person aside and suggest they remove the Family Tree from the wall before I break their fucking hands.” I had to forewarn her of the use of that cuss word cause Momma don’t do that word! But it wouldn’t have worked any other way :) Anyway, I told her that the person responsible is all black and blue, and has no hands now. She laughed really hard! It doesn’t bug her so much anymore, after all these years, PLUS she’s a full grown adult, but she seriously got a kick out of it and said to tell you guys thank you very much! XXOO!

Supacase's avatar

@KatawaGrey I didn’t intend to start a discussion about whether or not the children should already know or not. Just pointing out that if they didn’t that would be a terrible way to find out. Not because it is a terrible thing, but because it should private.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Supacase: Oh, I know, I was just pointing out that if those people didn’t know they were adopted, it could cause bigger problems than hurt feelings.

Val123's avatar

@KatawaGrey I really can’t imagine anyone not tell their kids if they’re adopted….?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Val123: I haven’t heard of it much but I think those are the people who think that adopted children aren’t they’re real children so want to sweep it under the carpet. :(

Also, I once heard an excellent retort from an adoptive mother. When someone asked her which of her children were “hers” she replied, “All of them. I didn’t steal any.”

Nullo's avatar

In fairness, some people see adoption as ++good; you were chosen, after all, and in their finite wisdom they might decide that a special connector on the tree is an honor.

Odds are good that they didn’t really think about it at all.

katwalk65's avatar

In reading all these answers, let’s just say this, if you’re not adopted or didn’t give up a child for adoption, don’t judge those of us who are. As an adopted person, all I was trying to say, is I wouldn’t want to be ‘branched’ from a family I am not really genetically a part of—if that is the point. Singled out? someone asked. I’ve been singled out my whole life so this is just an annoying debate at this point.
Basically, don’t write the child’s name if the person is a child; if an adult, ask them. Is that so hard to figure out?

EmpressPixie's avatar

Any time you start to qualify the level of family membership, feelings will get hurt. When doing something like that, you should be as inclusive as possible and not try to single out people like that. If you want a personal tree with notation, go for it, but a group tree should be as peace oriented as possible.

Val123's avatar

@katwalk65 I’m having a bit of a hard time understanding your point. Everyone agreed that it was a bad idea, and nobody was judging anyone, except the person who came up with the bad idea. Further, you said, “don’t write the child’s name if the person is a child; if an adult, ask them” Are you saying exclude them from the family tree if they’re a child? And only include them if they’re an adult and want to be on the tree? That doesn’t quite make sense to me.

@EmpressPixie Very nice.

augustlan's avatar

I think what @katwalk65 is saying is that she doesn’t like her adoptive family, and therefore wishes it to be known that she’s not biologically related to them. If that’s the case, certainly her experiences would not be the norm.

Val123's avatar

@augustlan O! OK, that does clear it up. But, as you said, certainly not the norm.

augustlan's avatar

To answer your actual question which I forgot to do, I doubt they did it with malicious intent, but it was stupid just the same. I can’t imagine what my special ‘tag’ would have been… perhaps The Red-Headed Bastard Baby, You Know, The One With No Father. Woohoo!

Val123's avatar

@augustlan What an excellent point! (As I’m rolling around on the floor!) Yeah, my daughter’s two kid’s label could be “The ones who have different fathers of different races and Mom didn’t marry either of them! Whooohoo!”

No, it was done with malicious intent but…it certainly was thoughtless.

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