Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Genetics & Speculation

Zoe's 5th grade class is currently studying genetics -- red, white & pink flowers; brown, white and brown & white guinea pigs.  (Which is better than how one of her friends is studying genetics at another school -- even though her teacher knows she's adopted, she had to do what all the other kids had to do, which was bring in a picture of her parents (being adopted from China, she has no pictures of her birth family), and then stand in front of the class with the picture while classmates tried to pick out which of her physical traits she'd inherited from her parents.  Insensitive much?!)

The genetics study has definitely piqued Zoe's interest in genetic inheritance and birth relatives.  Last night at dinner she said, "Wouldn't it be funny if I had the same birth mother as someone from Chinese School? Who at Chinese School do you think I look like?"  That led to a far-ranging conversation about inherited traits.  At one point Zoe wanted to know what would have happened if she had had a twin -- would they be adopted together or apart?  I told her about the few cases from China where twins were separated at adoption and then found each other.  She really thought that was cool. 

Zoe and Maya also discussed the possibility that they had the same birth mother, Zoe thinking maybe they were genetically related since so many people say they look alike (I don't think they look at all alike, but lots of people seem to think they do).  Maya is sure they don't have the same birth mother, because Zoe was left with a note, so obviously the same birth mother would have left a note with Maya and Maya doesn't have a note (I didn't mention that Zoe's note might be a fake).

I mentioned that there were DNA tests that could possibly tell if they were biologically related, but they shrugged it off, seemingly more interested in their speculation than in discovering the truth. But it is a possibility for the future, though I'm 99% sure it would reveal they are not biologically related. I wonder how they would react to that. . . .


Liz said...

I'm sorry, I couldn't focus on the rest of your post - I was too busy being completely outraged by the assignment Zoe's friend had to do! Are you kidding me? I think I have to go take some deep breaths and calm down...

OmegaMom said...

I'm with Liz. Zoe's friend's teacher needs to be hung up by his/her thumbs. That's appalling. You can bet that even this laid-back, "whatever!" type mom would be storming the principal's office after that egregiousness!

I get frustrated with the general "all cute adopted Asian girls look alike" thing we get from teachers/camp counselors/adults. NO THEY DON'T. They don't look anything alike, thank you very much. We've gotten that even from a camp counselor who is extremely good at dealing with racial teasing...Grrr.

Interesting that your girls don't want to investigate the DNA testing. It's scary, actually--right now, they can daydream that they are blood relations, but a DNA test might put the kibosh on it so thoroughly that it crushes a dream.

Jane Ballback said...

Hello Everyone,

I have some interesting experiences along these lines as well.

I actually have twin boys from Korea, but they are fraternal twins, not identical, and don't look much alike. On top of that one has always been 2 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. This doesn't stop people from telling me they look just like.

I'm an identical twin myself, so I have had a lifetime experience of dumb questions and comments. My twin and I actually did look alike.

The boys have younger sister, also from Korea. She is taller than most Korean girls, so the three of them together look like triplets, if you don't really look at them.

I'm so glad all of my children's teachers were very sensitive to their issues, but I always made a point of introducing myself and nicely coaching them about not embarrassing my children.

My blog is filled with pictures if you'd like to check all this out.

I love this site...