Sometime ago, I wrote about how society pays lip service to adopted children and parents through adoption being “real” parents or “real” children but how despite making those statements, there are often other subtle nuances that leave parents like me and, I’m sure adopted children, feeling that despite those affirmations, society really does see us as different, as not quite a mother or a father, as not quite a “real” child, as not quite a “real” family.

I’ve been reminded of this a number of times over the past couple of weeks again and each time I’m reminded, I feel as though I’ve been punched in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of me. I really hate that society cannot see my family for what it is – beautiful and perfect in every way. What made us a family may be different but what bonds us as a family is no different than what bonds any other family – unconditional love.

The media play a large part in it, when they publish stories like this one:  Man Guns Down Wife, Adopted Son. Once again differentiating an adopted child from a “real” or biological child. From what I can see, the fact that the man’s son was adopted has no real relevance to the story and the entire thing is based on assumptions. If, for whatever reason, the man did in fact shoot HIS SON because he wanted to find his biological parents, then this should surely just highlight the importance of adoptive parents being counseled properly during the screening process of adoption. The headline should read: Troubled Man Shoots Wife, Son. All that the use of the adoption word does is bring adoption into a negative light and raise questions in people’s minds about whether or not adopted children are “real” children. Once again reaffirming what society believes about adoption, even if on a subconscious level.

I also read a blog from an adult adoptee and now for the life of me, I can’t find the posting, about how she had been disinherited by some of her family because she was adopted and they didn’t want family heirlooms being left to her.

All of this got me thinking about the importance of a bloodline and a family tree. We’re living in the 21st century and for some reason society’s general thought is still that family is only family when there are shared genetics. I know that many would deny this but on a subconscious level people do still think this way and believe this. There are examples of this school of thought everywhere.

Recently I participated in a discussion on Twitter about drawing up a family tree and how the child who’s homework it was, was not allowed to include a separate space for his stepfather. The conversation was interesting and I agreed with it wholly, we as a society need to change the way we view family because families are evolving and changing. There are step parents, there are siblings and half sibling and step siblings. Then the question arose of where an adopted child would fit into that family tree.

Of course my response is that an adopted child would slot into the child block and does not nor should not be differentiated from other blood siblings. Were I to have a biological child would Ava be any less my child? Would she be considered as different or not quite my child? My answer is simple – NO. So why should there be a distinction? Why should she not be entitled to that sense of belonging? Why should she not be entitled to inherit a family heirloom?

Thankfully neither of her grandparents think that way and both of them have had her written into her wills and she stands to inherit from both of them.

But really, in a time where we have blended families, extended families, families through surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation, single parent families, same sex parenting and adoption, surely it’s time that society makes a conscious decision to review all the thoughts and beliefs behind what makes a family?

Image courtesy of Alberta Association Of Marriage & Family Therapy.