Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Family History

Zoe and Maya had their eyes checked on Monday, whittling away one more item on our "Back to School" list:

Uniform shoes? Check!

New lunchboxes? Check!

Any family history of eye disease? Um. No check.

Nearly every adoptive parent has had to do it, and as they become adults, adoptees have to do it -- fill out that pesky medical history form. How easy to do it for myself -- cancer on my mother's side, stroke and heart disease on my father's side. If I don't know an answer, I can ask my parents.

Not so with Zoe and Maya. Difficult pregnancy? No idea. Premature birth? Only guesses. Prenatal exposure to chemicals? Family history of breast cancer? Has that mole been there since birth? No answers.

Still, it was fun at the eye doctors -- they're all Chinese there, and they twittered and fussed over the girls like crazy (I actually picked this eye group because they're all Chinese, an easy way for Zoe and Maya to see sucessful Chinese role models). Zoe was in full drama queen mode, cringing and crying over each indignity. Bright lights, puffs of air, eye drops -- oh, the cruelty! Maya stomped over the quivering body of her big sister to clamber up on the stool to face all dangers. Bright lights, puffs of air, eye drops -- let 'em come! (Did I mention the two polar extremes on the temperament thing?!)

Even though I filled out the forms saying family history unknown, the assistants asked me the same question, first for Zoe (don't they even look at the forms? why do they make us fill them out if they are never going to look at the form?!). I say, "We don't have any information about their biological parents." Oh, of course, is the reaction. And then damned if they don't ask me the very same question when it's Maya's turn. I just looked at her and raised an eyebrow, and at least she had the decency to do the "I could have had a V8" thing!

As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons I chose China for adoption was that I wouldn't have to deal with birth parents. In my insecurity, it was my way of ensuring that my child was MINE alone. But when your child becomes real to you, when you feel her pain at missing her birth parents, when you can envision her future of trying to fill in that form at the doctor's office as a teen or young adult, you are ashamed.

On a happy note, Maya doesn't need glasses, and Zoe's vision has improved a bit leading to a new prescription and some snazzy new glasses! Maya is a little disappointed to be the only one in the family with no glasses . . . . Except for Baby Joy, Zoe's perennial favorite doll (a transracial adoption, as you can see)!


Anonymous said...

Love the new glasses!! So cute! clf

Anonymous said...

It means life and death sometimes and adoptees with no family history are often given a death sentence.

I went through many years of extensive blood tests and exams to determine whether one of my circulation problems was related to Lupus. I was actually denied health insurance because I did test positive at one time.

If I had my family medical history and had known that circulation diseases were hereditary, I would have been spared a lot.

I'm tempted to make a stamp to carry with me just for doctor visits. A stamp with big red letters: N/A ADOPTED.

malinda said...

I do so sympathize, Anonymous II. I hope my post didn't come across as flippant, because I fully understand the life and death nature of this issue. I'm so sorry you are suffering because of it.