This morning Anthony asked if any of his birth relatives had been approved for visits…like an uncle or cousin. When I asked why, he said, “I’d kinda like to know my roots.”
By definition the root is the foundation. It is the beginning, the base. It is the fundamental cause or essence of something…the source of derivation. It is the giver of life. My son wants to know where his life source comes from…makes sense to me.
Adoption … screwing up genealogy, one court room at a time…
We are an open to contact adoptive family, unlike some. As long as the family members are appropriate, we are open. Mya talks to her mom every couple of weeks. I applaud her mother’s efforts, though they’ve been limited to phone and there has been no actual contact in seven years. That effort is priceless in the mind of a child. I once overheard Robin say to Mya, “At least your mom calls…I don’t even know where mine is.” A phone call. A card. So simple.
It takes little to impress a child who is eager to accept and yearning for some small sign they are wanted.
Last year for a school project Billy had to create a family tree going back four generations. This is always a touchy subject in my house, as I’m constantly irritated by school assignments that require a child to have information beyond their control. Nothing like a graded paper to remind my kids of years they’d rather forget and people who they thought they left behind. His teacher said he could certainly use his adoptive family…they are his family, after all. But he surprised us by making the assignment even more difficult than it had to be…and he chose to research his birth family.
Looking for roots, I imagine.
With the help of Ancestry.com, we were able to trace his family tree. We found relatives on both sides dating back as far as the eighteenth century, documenting who he is…his blood line. It was exciting for him to see those names, even in print on a screen, because somehow it made it more real.
Perhaps, it made him feel more real.
My kids all come from giant families. Anthony is one of nine children, seven surviving. Billy and Robin have three other sisters that they know of, Mya has at least four half siblings and Steven and Luke have a family so large we rarely leave the house without passing a relative. These families mean something to these kids. They are their blood, their resemblance, and for some, their only good memories in a lifetime of horror. Older siblings raise younger ones in families like theirs and there are connections there that are irreplaceable for some.
And now Anthony wants to walk that path. Not birth parents, he says. (which I would never allow and he has no desire for…) “Just some cousin who might be a nice guy.” And so the search will be on. We may not contact, depending on the relative, but the information must be out there.
And I feel that if a kid is old enough to know he has ‘roots’…for better or worse, he’s old enough to know what they are.