December 7, 2009

Adoption & Family Tree Grafting

The search for your family history is the search for your family’s story and adoption stories are among the most compelling. Just watch the new ABC reality show “Find My Family”.(No, I’m not crying. I’ve got something in my eye. Stop looking at me!)

Adoption stories are stories of love and acceptance. I’ve been blessed to know many people who have been adopted and others who have adopted or are in the process of adopting. The bonds that are formed are like a mended bone - stronger than one that was never broken.

If you or someone you are researching has been adopted, it may be confusing to work on two family lines – the blood line and the adopted line. On the practical side, the blood line will reveal much about potential health. And on the sentimental side, one’s adoptive family history is just as important to them. Tracing both can get messy. Tracing a blood line for an adoptee might be difficult if records are sealed or misplaced. There are some hurdles no genealogist can clear. But don’t be discouraged. Time will tell. Until then, focus on what you can find and grow your family tree with what you have.

Charting your family tree with both lines can also be difficult. There’s no standard for signifying an adoptive relationship so most people simply make a double-crowned tree with the adoptee at the bottom, fanning up to 3 or 4 parents (whatever the case may be), grafting the two families onto each other. It may look different but not every family tree has to fit the perfect “V” shaped mold. Just like grafted trees, they can be uniquely beautiful.

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