Family trees and whatnot…

29 Aug

I was mulling this morning on how I shift my language surrounding the family members in mom and dad’s family trees. I know, just a weird thought that popped into my head, but it got me thinking.

When it comes to family members I knew growing up, regardless if they’re still alive or have passed away, I refer to them in the possessive tense ‘my’, as in my family. When I refer to family members who’d already passed away that I never knew, I refer to them as mom’s grandma, dad’s grandpa, etc..

I don’t do that in my mother or father’s family tree, I use the possessive tense ‘my’ for all, despite the fact I will never truly know most of the living members, nor learn in-depth about those already passed.

It just strikes me as odd as I’m so invested in fleshing out all the ancestors in mom and dad’s family tree, who they were, what they went through, what they did for a living, who they were as individuals; I spend far more time on those trees than my family of birth trees. Maybe it comes down to me being the end of the line in both their family trees, who knows.

Not sure where I’m going with this other than wondering how other adoptee’s feel about it, the language they use in how they refer to their adoptive family members and whether it makes a difference if you knew them or they’d already passed away. If that shift occurs in their adoptive family members, does it in your family by birth members?

Also, consider this an end of summer open-thread to just chat about what’s up with you.

Take care, stay safe.




Posted by on August 29, 2019 in Adoption


Tags: , , , ,

25 responses to “Family trees and whatnot…

  1. Dannie

    August 29, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Ugh you just reminded me that this is the year hey do a ‘modified family tree’ in 5th grade by the way of choose one of your parents culture and write about it project. I can see my daughter having one of those ‘shade’ looks trying to do this project.

    Anyways, in terminology you most likely understand the new year of adventurers and pathfinders started. E is in pathfinders for the first year, S is an eager beaver in Adventurers. S is in children’s choir and E decided to do the choir route in school vs band so she asked to only do the school choir and not be in children’s choir as well lol but still looking at all the calandered events for all these activities just makes my head pop ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 29, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      I don’t think we ever had to do that in school, but then, I’m ancient. I think today it would be hard to do it without challenges – I feel for E. As to activities, can’t even begin to imagine how overloaded you’ll be – plan a do-nothing vacation for next summer to hold onto when days overwhelm?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dannie

        August 29, 2019 at 5:17 pm

        I can see why parents have a hard time with empty nest. I’m sure days are very quiet once the hubbub of all this passes. Will definitely plan -do nothing weekends at times too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          August 29, 2019 at 5:22 pm

          We always want what we can’t have until we have it and realize we don’t want it. Just dedicate a sliver of me time each week and guard it.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Lara/Trace

    August 29, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    I was interested in my family tree, kind of… when I was much younger. When I went into reunion, that’s pretty much all my sister and I talked about. And my cousin and I talk and it usually has some ancestry info included. I have to admit now that I am older, I don’t even think about who raised me or who their ancestors were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 29, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      Lara/Trace – we all have to do what is right for us, based on our stories and journeys – I’m thankful you’ve been able to put them behind you, as you wouldn’t if it wasn’t needed – hope that made sense. I’m also sorry your story turned out the way it did, or had to start that way to begin with. Again, hoping my words make you feel supported as that’s what I’m trying to do. Take care.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lara/Trace

        August 29, 2019 at 11:37 pm

        I hope I didn’t come off as cold. I’m not. I was devoted to my adoptive mom until she passed. I am not in contact with anyone now. I’m OK with that.


        • TAO

          August 30, 2019 at 2:25 am

          Lara/Trace – you never come off cold, to me, you are beautiful, caring, warm – but especially caring and loyal.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. cb

    August 30, 2019 at 12:45 am

    I never really thought about doing any of my family trees (afamily or bfamily) until I went doing a search for my bmother. The very first thing I found via google was a cemetery record for my bmother and bgrandparents, they were both buried in a small country cemetery in the region they were from. I was able to find out from electoral rolls where my uncles lived but at the time, I was not sure how to proceed or who to contact.

    During that time, I thought I would search for my bgrandparents records via NSW BDM historical records because historical marriage and death records for NSW aren’t dated all that far back (eg deaths are 30 years, marriage 50 years) – when I saw my bgrandparents marriage record, I saw that they had the same surname. Thus, I did further searching via BDM way back to about the mid 19th century. I then googled one of the more uncommon names I found via the search and found the website for a convict and his brother. To cut a long story short, they had some books for sale, I ordered them, found photos in there of my bfamily as well as extended bfamily. I then ended up deciding to contact the secretary to let her know about my situation and it all went from there.

    I did a little bit more genealogy searching for both extended bfamily and afamily although I admit that it hasn’t been greatly in depth. With my bfamily, it has been fairly easy because they are parts of other people’s charts and also because their ancestors stayed in the same region for over a century. With my amum, her maternal lineage was fairly easy because they were listed on one of those Peerage pages way back to a prominent banking family (who are also the ancestors of Princess DI).

    However, even though I find mum’s chart interesting, they don’t feel like they are my ancestors. They are special because they are mum’s ancestors and helped to shape what makes her her but they don’t feel like my ancestors. I don’t meant that in a bad way at all, it is just that one can’t claim that same heritage. For example, mum is 1/16th Maori but of course that doesn’t make me 1/32th Maori (although I think I was more excited about that for mum than she was herself).

    On the other hand, I look at photos of my great grandparents (mainly in the book) and I can see me in my great grandmother especially. Also, looking at pictures of bgr, I felt right from the start that she was the dominant partner in her marriage (even though she was 20 years younger than her husband) and from what I’ve heard since, there seems to a lot of truth to that.

    One good thing also about having ancestors being from the one small country region is that I aws able to find “gossip” via the local newspaper re bfamily. Most of this was done via the state library but there is a newspaper site here in Australia, Trove, that has almost every Australian newspaper online up to about 1954 with some others being more recent. I find that site to be fascinating.


    • TAO

      August 30, 2019 at 2:22 am

      “However, even though I find mum’s chart interesting, they don’t feel like they are my ancestors. They are special because they are mum’s ancestors and helped to shape what makes her her but they don’t feel like my ancestors.”

      Exactly what I feel, I just couldn’t explain it like you did just now. Thanks CB

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heather

    August 31, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    Earlier this month I was supposed to have a court ordered (by consent back in 2012) visit with my son. I haven’t seen him since he was 5 years old in 2010. Not surprisingly he didn’t show. While it was heartbreaking I was not surprised at all (based on aparent’s previous inabilities to keep their word when making agreements with me) so I was able to handle it emotionally better than I expected.

    I wonder if he even knew that he had a planned visit with us that both his aparents agreed to. Now just trying to decide what to do next. I don’t ever want to enter a court room ever again however I don’t like that there are no consequences for their behaviour.

    I do wish he had had the chance to meet my grandparents before they died. They would have loved him so much. I wonder if he thinks about me and if he wonders about his family tree on my side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 31, 2019 at 11:34 pm

      Oh Heather, my heart breaks for you, not even a note, phone call that they weren’t bringing him? That’s just cruel and meanspirited. Do you have a journal where you write notes to him? If not, start now, sit down periodically and tell him what you’ve been up to, when you thought of him, what you didn’t want him to miss – not long notes, just notes from the heart that you’d tell him in a phone call, if you could. I’m so sorry – I wish I had a solution – or even a good suggestion – teen years are hard so weigh that in any decision you make. HUGS

      Liked by 2 people

      • Heather

        August 31, 2019 at 11:47 pm

        Thank you TAO.

        Nope, no note and no phone call so I had a small glimmer of hope of him showing up but I was also not surprised when he wasn’t there. His annual photo arrived by mail the week before the visit date with nothing but his picture inside which made me suspect he wasn’t going to show up. After all, if he was going to be there why not give me the photograph in person?

        She can barely write my surname on the envelope she sends once a year with his photograph inside. We tried counselling sessions many years ago to do what was right for him and it was all about her and her losses. So threatened and so selfish. I don’t know how they sleep at night creating so much unnecessary pain.

        How would you feel if you found out you could have met biological family members when you were 14 but your aparents kept that information from you?

        I just wanted to get to know him. Find out what his personality is like and what interests he has.

        I have written him many notes over the years. They are less detailed as time goes by but I still keep them for him. I hand wrote out a small family tree graphic and I’m keeping photos and other notes in a binder for him incase he ever wants it.

        I wasn’t sure if I was going to share about the (non) visit. I really appreciate that you have this space here for us to share TAO.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          September 1, 2019 at 2:44 am

          I’d be really upset if my folks were so insecure that they needed to hide me from a willing family.

          I so wish that if your son had to be adopted that he’d, you’d, found folks like mine. Mom and dad pulled major strings to open a sibling’s adoption (wide open – by the time when the sibling married they planned the wedding and shared the head table), got some questions of mine answered as a teen was the best they could offer there, when I asked mom to petition the court for me because my health, she immediately went to the court house to file the papers. And these were parents from the BSE who instead of getting their feelings hurt, did what was right.

          Probably why I’ve stuck around here for so long – I lived parents doing it right and get so damn angry seeing the insecurity and bad behavior and need an outlet.

          I’m so sorry Heather and you’re always welcome to this space – whether to chat or rant – you’re welcome my friend.

          Hope that all made sense, I’m tired tonight.

          Liked by 1 person

        • beth62

          September 3, 2019 at 1:34 pm

          “How would you feel if you found out you could have met biological family members when you were 14 but your aparents kept that information from you? ”

          :/ I’m not sure how I’d feel. But fairly certain prison would be my new forever home. Unless I could get away with it. Or unless they paid me enough to take it.
          Maybe I could restrain myself enough not to hurt them, and just demolish or take away all their stuff. I guess that’s the best case scenario I can come up with. Them sitting on someone else’s curb with nothing. Yep, sounds fair to me.

          Yeah, just thinking about that brings rage and a serious need for vengeance to me. Those are feelings right? :/

          (((Heather))) That really stinks. I have to think he didn’t know, or know much about any visit. If mom were all for it and son said he didn’t want to… a typical human mom would get a message to you, with an explanation of what is up right now with him.
          No message? Yeah, the question must be, what is up with mom?
          Can you request more therapy? For her? Lol

          I know enough about teen boys to know, if it were most of mine, I’d have to make them talk about it, maybe even “make” them go! Some would ask me to make them go. Or send a letter for them if it was just too much to handle right then. I can only imagine a mom who isn’t happy about the meeting would take the first no they hear… or uncertainty, seeming disinterest, his fear of being disloyal, fear of her being upset…and run with it.
          I’ve seen many moms run with that iffy no not now, and they seem to do it with some weird kind of pride. Like they’ve won something. Gotten over on someone, gotten away with something. It’s sad 😦
          It doesn’t last long usually, but if it does – it’s really sad then.
          One of my neighbors thinks her adopted son, her maid, and her nurse all love and care about her dearly. She really believes it, it’s fantastic. She’s a fool, they are all there doing what they believe to be their duty, while waiting for her to die, and a little ticked off that it’s taking so long.


  5. L4R

    September 2, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    It seems pretty similar. If I personally knew my adoptive relative, I would refer to him or her as my ________. If I didn’t know them, I’d refer to them as Mom or Dad’s __________. Didn’t matter whether they were alive or deceased. It only mattered whether or not I’d personally known them at some point.

    With my biological family, I refer to all of them as my ___________, even if I’d prefer not to be related to done of them. ; )


    • TAO

      September 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks L4R – wondered if I was just being weird, now I know it’s probably normal – hope you’ve had a good summer.


  6. beth62

    September 11, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    My kids (adults) have a hard time saying “my 3rd great grandfather”. Like me they tried “my Adopted 3rd gg” … Either can be awkward.
    I guess because it’s a lie and not a lie, real and not real, true and not true…
    it’s pretending with a legal pass – believing anything else can make you insane I think.
    Family History and Ancestry are not the same, but they are the same.

    I retold my son that he can claim these Adopted Ancestors whenever he wants, or not, it’s up to him. It was like he was asking for permission, was uneasy about it, since it’s not “true”. I told him, again, I’ve, we’ve paid that price, we have the printed ticket, we can claim and never have to utter the word Adopted, that’s how it works. If anyone disputes your claims, I have a certificate of birth as proof. “You sir, are free to use it whenever you choose.” So my son enjoyed his lunch in the tavern that his many times great grandfather built as an inn for seafaring men 300 years ago. And was rightfully honored as a many times great grandson. His grandfather is very, very pleased with it all.

    My daughter is living in the land of her adopted grandma’s mother’s ancestors. They founded the place, even says so on many of their gravestones, “founded this place”. It’s kind of funny, and not. I had to tell her too, give her permission that it’s okay to claim them publicly as family. In historical preservation and ancestry groups she had little issue in claiming her grandma and those ancestors.

    It was all fairly easy until she ran into an Adoptee who was adopted out of this family, had recently found this original family of hers, and was a DNA match with grandma. I was very happy when my daughter immediately, and with great concern, told this Adoptee that they were not genetically related, since I’m Adopted. Also asked her, please don’t blow my cover in this Facebook group! LOL
    And yes, of course (just like mom guessed) this kind and recently reunited adopted person completely understood that request and agreed 🙂

    More power to em, I hope my kids continue to use their secret powers whenever they are of benefit.
    I find it troubling to tell my children it’s okay to… Pretend is the nice word I guess. It’s against my mom nature to do that LOL

    It does make me feel better that they are uncomfortable enough about it to ask me if I am sure it’s okay to do. I’ll always say, Yes, I paid dearly so you could. Yes, please take that ticket and run with it whenever it will do you good! Take full advantage, whenever you find it, take it if you wish. I’d suggest that to any and all Adopted ones.

    Of course on the other hand, I feel like I’ve raised some very understanding and tricky little liars.
    That’s normal, right? Ug. Maybe they’ll do the same for my grandkids. 😉


    • TAO

      September 12, 2019 at 3:20 am

      Oh Beth, I love that story, can I post it in the blog post, or as Part Two in it’s own post? No pressure…cheers


      • beth62

        September 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm

        Sure, I’d love to hear anything from others about the kids and grandkids of Adoptees, and how it all works for them. It’s been a huge part of my motherhood, my Adoption. It’s not about me so much, it was them that really pushed me to learn more about it all, including their/our ancestors, all of them.

        Oh yeah, I find saying ‘my Adopted 3rd great grandfather’ entirely too strange and awkward. I’d forgotten, but a long time ago I changed my language. Now I say “my Dad’s 2nd great grandfather. Which allows me to be more specific while avoiding saying ‘my” anything, other than “my Dad”.💕
        Which I believe is how it should be. To me it just feels a little disrespectful to that family otherwise.
        I feel more respectful when I’m pretending, if I acknowledge the pretending to myself first, before I pretend. Like, I’m not lying, but it’s okay to pretend, without telling anyone involved, you know, since we’ve been given that pretend pass. Ug. Does that make any sense? Lol

        I’m still laughing a bit at this thing 🙂 Somehow my daughter believes it’s okay to lie/pretend with the nonadopted, no need to tell a thing. But it’s likely safe, and only right, to let another Adoptee in on the secrets. That upsets me too, that she knows this phenomenon so well 😦 Maybe that’s just what happens when you’re raised by a bunch of wildlings. I dunno.


  7. beth62

    October 23, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    A whatnot question.
    Any suggestions of where to find someone that can help an elderly Adoptee with figuring out DNA matches?
    Someone that doesn’t charge thousands of dollars? This puzzle has gotten past my very low level of knowledge!



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