Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm gasping for the air to fill my lungs with everything I've lost*

Lana brought home a homework assignment last night and I am just beside myself as to how to deal with it.

Evidently, her kindergarten class is talking about heredity - and Lana is supposed to fill out a chart.

The chart has a list of traits down one side and a list of relatives across the top. The first item says, "I have ____________ hair like my" and she is supposed to write in her hair color and then she is supposed to check off the relatives (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother) who also have the same hair color.

The chart goes through eye color, skin tone, tallness/shortness, "I can/cannot roll my tongue like my" - you get the picture.

It's like an adoptive parent's NIGHTMARE homework assignment. (It's right up there with the "Bring in several photographs of you as an infant" and "have your parents describe the day you were born" assignments which we have also dealt with this year.)

I have NO CLUE what to do...

I mean, the truth is that Lana and my mom have the same color hair, and that Lana and Gabriel have the same color eyes,** but those things are coincidental and not related to heredity.

Any thoughts on how to approach this? Anyone been there/done that?

There are times when it hits me really hard, the weight of the knowledge of all of the things I do not know, can never know, about this child I love so much.


*Snow Patrol, It's Beginning to Get to Me

**Against all odds, Gabriel, the child of two green eyed parents, has dark, dark chocolate brown eyes. While this is statistically unlikely, it is not impossible. And seriously, if Gabe isn't the child of two green eyed parents, he is the child of an alien invasion.***

***After my surgery last week, the doctor came out to speak to my husband, and asked my husband about what previous surgery I had had laproscopically, as there was another scar in my belly button, and he (my doctor) had no record of it. PEOPLE! I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY OTHER SURGERY. AND MY KID HAS BROWN EYES. So I am starting to worry that there may be something to that alien invasion possibility...****

****Yes, I am still hopped up on a lot of drugs


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is why I am not looking forward to school. Uurrgghhh!

Also, the mystery belly button scar... YIPES!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Aren't belly buttons just big scars anyway? I mean, maybe yours just healed differently? Weird. I'm no help with the school assignment, obviously, but every time I read a post like this one, I wonder, "Why??? For the love of God, why?" These types of assignments are not teaching the kids how to read, write, add, subtract, measure, draw a straight line, or anything else even slightly important for giving the kids a good academic foundation. I suppose that is what I'd go in and discuss with the teacher were I in your shoes. I'd tell him/her I'd much rather my children, and the other children, be learning how to READ. And? If they already can read? Then challenge them to increase those skills.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 7:45:00 AM  
Blogger RollerCoaster said...

I have absolutely no experience with this one so take this assvice lightly. Is it possible for you to talk to the teacher and alter the assignment? For example, I like the color red just like _______. No, it's not heredity, but it is more sensitive.

As far as the belly button scar....*shrug* You are just special that way! ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 8:55:00 AM  
Blogger NeuroMama said...

If you read Adoptive Families magazine, then you already know about this. But, if you don't, then they have some great information on their website about addressing adoption in school (including within the curriculum). It may be too late for this particular assignment, but they have handouts you can give Lana's teacher for future reference.

Here is the link:

Good luck and thanks for reminding me to address this at the beginning of the school year (kindergarten for my oldest) in the fall.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Lina said...

I would either call her teacher or return the assignment to the teacher in an envelope and ask her if she has a more appropriate assignment for a child who was doesn't have this information available.

As for your belly button scar and the brown eyes...too funny!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. What would happen if you just did it?

I mean, some people in the family have brown eyes and hair and can roll their tongue, etc, right?

Maybe this would show we are all very very similar after all.

Or, if that is to confrontational (I tend to be that way), then maybe Lana can do a chart of a famous family from history.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger thecurryseven said...

I don't have to deal with this since my children don't attend school, but my first reaction is to ask, "What happens if you just don't do it?" I would send it back to the teacher, with a note explaining why your child is not participating, and leave it at that. If they were learning about genetics, surely she'll catch the lesson some where down the line and you won't have ruined her chances at the Ivys by not doing this one assignment.

Sorry, being the size of a barn and incredibly uncomfortable makes be a bit more snarky than usual.

And the belly button thing? No ideas, but it is a little weird.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Chel said...

The only thing I *don't* like about the idea of Lana not participating is that she might feel left out and wonder WHY she's not doing the assignment when everyone else is. I can identify with that because I was silently "excused" from all sorts of physical activities my classes did when I was a kid and I hated it. I wasn't even given the opportunity to try it out. It's definitely had an impact on my life. So let Lana do the assignment, just put a little bit of a spin on it to reflect your family.

I like the idea of you altering the assignment yourself. The teacher should really have enough sense not to have done the assignment in the way that she is, so I think you should just go ahead and alter it without a discussion. If you've had these issues come up before, then the teacher should know by now.

I want to give teachers the benefit of the doubt, but when stuff like this comes up it REALLY makes me wonder...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that if there were other children who were adopted in Lana's class you would have mentioned it, but what about children who live with step-parents, grandparents, etc? Would it be possible to talk to those families and see how they are doing the assignment? Then maybe you could stress that it's not only adoptive families that are "different" and that genetics is not what makes a family.

I'm glad my kids are still young so I have some time to prepare for this stuff. Please let us know how it turns out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm am SO thankful we have not had any of these kinds of assignments yet! Good grief, I could practically guarantee it would end with R in a pool of tears.
You've already gotten lots of good advice, so um, ditto what everyone else said!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 2:36:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Ugh. Just ugh. This is what I dread. What did you end up doing?

Thursday, May 21, 2009 1:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for altering the assignment as well. This way Lana can participate, and showcase in a subtle way that families are more about shared experiences than a shared gene pool. What about if she filled out her own version of the form with questions like, "I like to [fish] like my daddy".... "I [giggle a lot] just like my cousin," etc.


Glad you're on the mend!!!

Anne K.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous spacemom said...

I would have Lana alter the whole assignment and write about the country she grew up in.

Hello? Hasn't the teacher figured this out yet?

The belly button scar? I would ask the doc about that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger niobe said...

The teacher is a freakin idiot to give homework like that. So many kids come from "non-traditional" families of one kind or another that the assignment shows extreme stupidity or unconscionable malice.

Or, perhaps, both.

Friday, May 22, 2009 11:47:00 AM  

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