We’re in semi-open adoption with Levon’s birth family, and we’re absolutely not trying to hide anything about his biology. But...
My husband recently ordered genetic testing kits for our whole family and was shocked to learn that I refuse to do it for Levon, who is adopted.
“Aren’t you curious?”
No. I’m not. My mother is adopted and my father’s dad was raised by his stepfather, so I’m used to living with a lack of genetic knowledge. I’ve been writing “unknown” on medical forms my whole life.
I think what surprised my husband was my outright refusal to allow him to buy a kit for Levon. For the rest of my family, it was fun science experiment. But for adoptees, information about their genetics is a loaded subject.
We’re in semi-open adoption with Levon’s birth family, and we’re absolutely not trying to hide anything about his biology. But there are certain family members we’re not connected with, for various reasons, and I believe it should be Levon’s choice to pursue those relationships, along with any information about his biology, once he gets older. There’s absolutely no reason beyond curiosity to pursue genetic testing, and if I’ve learned anything from adoptees, it’s that that they long to control their story and family connections. I know adoptees who long to connect to their birth families and others who go to great lengths to avoid it. As Levon grows, I will support whatever path he chooses to take in regards to his biological family. But I know the greatest gift I can give him is control over his own story and my unconditional support as he writes it.
Did you choose genetic testing for your adopted child? Why or why not? Share with us in the comments!
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of Raise, stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to Raise, she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.