Thursday, July 7, 2011

What makes a family?

I read and really liked this New York Times article called "Who's on the Family Tree? Now It's Complicated" about the ever-evolving concept of family with the burgeoning use of adoption and third-party reproduction and more fluid relationships among intimate partners.

I liked how one family described that they have "the family tree" and then they have "the day-to-day structure of the family" and the idea that some families now organize their family tree into two separate histories: genetic and emotional.

I also liked that thought is going into how this impacts teaching in the classroom. One teacher is quoted in the article as saying, “You have to be ready to have that conversation about surrogates, sperm donors and same-sex parents if you are going to teach the family tree in the classroom.” Which made me smile. I like to envision that by the time our child is old enough to be grappling with any of these issues that perhaps there will be so many other children through embryo donation, adoption, surrogacy, and the like, that it will not be a situation that will make them feel different or put them in an odd situation in a classroom...say, should they be asked to draw a family tree....or like in my sister-in-law's prep school biology class, perform a PCR DNA analysis on themselves and their parents (yikes! Hope those kids have already discussed their origins before this happens!) 

It's on our minds as we think about next steps: How do you make a family? How do you define love?

So passing case this is of interest to you, too...


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