The adoptee family tree?

Do you have a family tree? Who made it? Do you appreciate it or you don’t really care? Did you have to make one during primary school? How did that make you feel?

So many questions, I know, but this is kind of tricky, isn’t it? Weather you are a traditional family, foster family, adoption family, reconstituted family or any other kind of family, making a genealogies tree isn’t simple and can be a very delicate topic at times. While some people insist that genealogies are only meant to be genetic, most agree that the purpose of a family tree is to represent the family – whatever that family might be.

A family Tree

A family Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember as a child, my adopted maternal grand-father (what a mouthful, let’s call him Opa). So, my Opa , had one. I’ve been a history buff as long as I can remember and when I found out that he had a super-duper old family tree, that he kept up to date, I just couldn’t wait to see it and ask all kind of questions. Oh, how I wanted in on the the family scandals. But when he proudly showed me the old document with a great big tree on it, I remember frantically looking for my name, to only be disappointed by not seeing it. My mom was on it, so was my dad and my cousins, but I was not.

But that was many years ago and now having been found and welcomed into the arms of my birth family, one of the first questions I had,  “What’s my heritage? Where are my ancestors from?” I am only now getting into the whole family tree thing again and pretty excited I must say. But where to start? How to do it? Should I make a double one? My family situation is so incredibly confusing that I wont only need a family tree to explain it, but a Power Point documentation and some pie charts, hey I’ll make the Power Point with a pie chart included. “Euh this one right here is my cousin from my adoptive father we are 0% related, however this cousin from my birth mother’s side is related to me for about , hmm, 25 % …I think”…Help!

My husband and I form a reconstituted family, his side of the family are pretty traditional people, I’m the weird one. I have my adoptive family side and my birth family side. I almost broke out in a sweat at my wedding trying to explain who was who. That’s my dad, oh, he’s my dad too.

Anyway, tell me about your family tree, give me some advice, I beg you ….help, please?

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12 thoughts on “The adoptee family tree?

  1. My husband being a concept artist, I would suggest you get someone to DRAW you one. A proper tree with names and facts in Italics. My mum was adopted and I’m so curious about her half of the family, but also my Dad’s! But for you, if you know some about both families, get down with a piece of paper, write up all the names and all the different legacies upstream as far as you can go, and then then add a note or two of their distinctive features/life, what have you. I’m sure it’ll be fascinating, once your artist friend (or you if you’re not as incapable of holding a pencil as I am) has drawn the large large tree, it will look amazing.
    Gee I have to do it too, thanks for the great idea :))

    • To draw my own tree. Hmm, that’s an idea… unfortunately, I myself cannot hold a pencil properly either. Hehe. Maybe I should update my Facebook status now and see who is artistic. Thx for the idea.

  2. As an adoptive mamma, we have thought long and hard about this for our daughter. Our social worker suggested thinking outside the “boxes” that you have shown above! 😉 Our thoughts now are some sort of triangle (my side, DH side, birthmother side (birthfather is totally unknown)) or circle. Good luck! You will find the perfect form!

  3. Sharon says:

    I’ve thought about this exact subject and in fact, I blogged about it here: http://sharonannevanwyk.wordpress.com/?s=family+tree
    As an adoptive mother, I stand by what I said there, I feel my daughter should be entitled to claim her rightful spot on our family tree (were we to have one) but for her it would not be that simple. I like the suggestion above about having one drawn up specifically for you. As an adoptive mother, I am proud of my beautiful daughter and would want her as part of our family tree but I also think it would be awesome if she could have a family tree from her biological family to, perhaps she is the link that will mesh two families into one? I don’t know. It’s all so complex but again I go back to my original point of my post, perhaps the reason it’s so complex is because as a society way to much emphasis is placed on blood lines and genetics making up a family and perhaps it’s time to start re-looking what we consider family?

    • “perhaps she is the link that will mesh two families into one” —->wow, just wow! I like that.
      I will have a look at your link after answering the comments here.
      I tried using programs online, unfortunately I haven’t found one that could merge or even mention adoptee…
      The idea of having one drawn seems more and more appealing.

  4. As the dad to two boys adopted from foster care, as well as being the step-dad (hopefully adopted dad, soon) to another son, this is something I’ve thought a lot about. I’ve mostly thought about it from MY side of the story though. I haven’t yet considered how my sons’ family tree would look. The two that I adopted were adopted by me and my first wife, but she passed away. Her family, though, is still very much involved in our lives. Do my boys include them (even though they were both too little to remember my first wife)? Do they include their birth families (one of my boys has sisters that have been adopted by another couple and we keep in touch with them regularly, but they are also in contact with the birth mother)? Does my step son include his birth father, who lives in Australia and who he never sees?

    All very interesting and potentially sticky questions. On my side, I consider my boys as much mine as if they were biological, and therefore, would be (and should be) included on any family tree that includes myself. I think I will let them decided, when they are old enough, who they should include in THEIR family tree.

    Great blog, by the way. I thorougly enjoy reading it…

    • Yes! I think you should just start it out simple, with your side and let them chose for themselves how they would like to expand it! Wow, you had it tough it seems! I’m wishing you all the best of luck there sir!
      Thanks for liking my blog ! ^^

    • Oh my goodness… how funny is it that I read this blog entry and was thinking about my reply…decided to read through the other replies before posting…and there’s my husband!! LOL Small world after all, I suppose! He worded our unique situation better than I could have, I think!

  5. When I worked on a tree for my son’s life book, I found this idea: use roots for the bio family, tree for adoptive family… Then you can go endlessly in both directions.

    Here’s ours…. Not finished: shantijoy.wordpress.com/2012/05/family-tree.pdf

  6. You weren’t on the family tree? That is all kinds of ridiculous and messed up!!!

    I do in fact remember family trees; some coworkers and I were talking about it the other day. It really is different talking with children of nuclear families about the family tree, because they don’t consider it to be a big deal.

    In eighth grade all the students in my history class were expected to do a detailed family tree… with glitter and pictures the whole nine. We were told to “investigate” and “go back as far as we could.” As the day drew closer and closer I recognized that I was not going to do the project; I didn’t discuss it with anyone because I was still really closed off about my situation. So I got an F… if I had the same mentality then as I do now I would recognize that doing that project wouldn’t tear my family apart, but at the same time I would still not do it. It is funny how such a stupid project, held together with glue and ink can really destroy a person.

    —-I would suggest mixing everyone in your family together, because frankly you are a piece of every one of them, why keep them seperate? You can designate the family differences as A-Mom (as you do in your blog) or Bio-Mom.

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