The school family tree exercise – a teachable moment
Every 2nd, 3rd or 4th grader goes through this assignment or something like it – draw a family tree, show and talk about your ancestors, etc. Our daughter had to do this in third grade. Since she has older siblings, I knew this was coming. I was prepared to do whatever she wanted to do. If she wanted to just draw her adoptive family, that was fine. If she wanted to talk about her birth parents, that was fine too.
She struggled a little with this. She drew her adoptive family. And then she drew dotted lines to “Ai” and “Baba”, her names for her birth parents. When she presented her family tree in class, it was the first time she told her entire class that she was adopted. She said “Ai and Baba couldn’t look after me and my parents came and CHOSE me.” She then went on to talk about her brothers, grandparents etc. It was completely natural and easy, and the class accepted it without question. In fact, many times over the years, she has referred to herself as “THE CHOSEN ONE” to lord over her brothers who are biological children.