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Family Crests and Punnett Squares Can Torment Adoptees

“How do you not know that?” the teacher asked.

The entire science class looked toward Mandie who was immediately sorry she had raised her hand and admitted not knowing the color of her parents’ eyes.

The science class was working on Punnett Squares, the bane of adopted children everywhere.

For you who don’t remember biology, the Punnett Square shows the possible ways offspring can inherit a gene from their biological parents.

Middle school science teachers love this unit as an exciting way of helping students understand the fundamental concepts of genetics and all “About the Genes that Created Me.”

Adopted children see this science unit as a time where they squirm uneasily trying to determine whether to admit not knowing hair color or eye color of their parents or whether, as a student, they should just fabricate whether dad was left-handed or not.

Even adopted children in open adoptions often do not know these answers. Although as an adoptive parent, if your child admits to needing such information for a Punnett Square, you should immediately help find the necessary information.

“I hated those assignments,” Mandie admitted.

“I didn’t hate being adopted. I just hated recessive and dominant traits and what is the probability you will have one. I remember sitting in science class and looking at that stinking diagram.”

Mandie is one of the resilient adoptees who chose random eye colors in her next science class, pretending to know her mom had one blue eye and one green eye.

Garrett was also resilient and used his adoption to his advantage.

“I just forgot to do the coat of arms assignment,” he admitted. “It’s a family crest thing for social studies and you have to do coloring with color crayons. I hate coloring. Maybe if we could have used markers or even colored pencils, I might have been a little more inspired. But crayons? Really? They feel weird in my hands and they get unsharp. So, I told the teacher, that as an adopted child, I didn’t feel comfortable doing an assignment about ancestors I didn’t know.”

The teacher felt so bad for making the student feel bad. The kid felt so good about getting out of an assignment– cue the capacity for resilience.

Resilience can be fostered.  Read the next blog giving five ways to develop resiliency in your children.