Zoe filled out the mother's side of the family tree, and left the father's side blank. She showed her tree to the boy sitting next to her, and complained to him that her family tree was dull since she didn't have a dad. He was puzzled: "You don't have a dad?" Nope. He didn't get it: "How can you not have a dad?!" Zoe didn't really explain it, saying, "I just don't."
Then Zoe went to talk to her teacher, asking what she should do about the boxes for inherited traits, since "I wasn't born from my mom." Now, this is something her teacher knows, that Zoe's adopted. How could he not know, right, since she's Chinese and I'm not?! He told her to fill in the boxes based on "ancestors she knows." I think he might have been trying to tell her to fill it in based on her adopted family, but I'm not sure. Zoe didn't take it that way, explaining that she didn't know anything about her ancestors. Next her teacher told her to just "do what you know." Zoe left the boxes blank, since what she knows about her biological family is nothing.
Why do schools keep having these projects???? This one isn't even a science lesson, isn't really teaching genetics or biological inheritance! It's RELIGION, for God's sake!!!! And of course there's no warning for the parents that this is coming up, no way to give the teacher a head's up that maybe this project is problematic for adopted kids who have no information about their biological parents. Like they need a head's up to avoid projects that make any child in the classroom feel excluded, abnormal, less than.
Did it bother Zoe? She says no, but I don't believe her. The first thing she did after school yesterday? She pulled out a big piece of paper and markers, and made an elaborate family tree, including every relative she could think of, including her birth parents. And she filled the entire page with family and color and design. No more dull family tree for her. No more missing limbs. No more empty boxes.
Still hoping for change
4 weeks ago