Genotype – Punnett Square

I find it interesting how something related to my adoption can come up so randomly and make me feel at a loss for what to do. There are and will be many situations that I can give as examples.

I will always remember this particular instance that caught me off guard during middle school biology. We were learning about phenotypes and genotypes and making Punnett squares.

For an assignment, I had to go home and write down my parents’ traits. I was supposed to make my own punnett square, and the purpose was to show how you ended up with traits from your parents. Of course, the results didn’t match up for me.

What was more troublesome was how my teacher responded. Before the assignment, a girl in my class raised her hand and asked the teacher what I should do since I was adopted—I guess I wasn’t quick enough to speak up for myself. The teacher said I should just write down what my parents look like instead of making something up. Sure. Okay. Whatever. That was fine.

But then, the next day, we corrected the assignment in class, and everyone had someone else’s assignment. When I got mine back, I had points marked off. I went to the teacher and asked her about it, trying my best to describe my situation (she must have forgotten that my parents look different even though she’s met them quite a few times before). She looked at me funny and said that my traits should have matched up with my parents’ traits. I was dumbfounded and went back to my seat, holding back tears. It was like I was slapped in the face.

I didn’t let myself cry, thank goodness. Crying in front of others draws attention, and I didn’t want to blow up the situation. I told my parents at dinner that night. I can’t remember what we discussed, but I’m sure they helped me feel better. Sometime later, my teacher apologized, probably realizing my situation, but because it was such a frustrating event, I can’t forget that it happened.

I actually enjoy making Punnett squares. However, if they relate to me, I feel somewhat bitter about making them.


6 thoughts on “Genotype – Punnett Square

  1. M. says:

    Reblogged this on Ghost Kingdom and commented:
    And, these are the moments, the moments our self-esteem takes a hit, the moment we become ‘different’, the moment we enter the Ghost Kingdom. School’s a tough place, kids are mean and ignorant, teachers overworked, ignorant and insensitive, but in the unenviable position of having to be a role model in all situations. I applaud you for not crying – don’t let them win – and your parents for being there – that makes you one of the lucky ones.

    • Thank you for commenting and reblogging my post! It means a lot to me that people are reading my blog and that I may be able to help others by giving my perspective on adoption. I know everyone has their own struggles and experiences, and I hope they find a way to cope and get through the hurdles. I am very grateful for the love and support that I have from mentors, friends, and family. I think crying can be a good reliever, but it sucks when it happens in public. Sometimes the tears just have to flow, even when you don’t want them to.

  2. This story makes me SO angry for all of us who had to deal with that (but I just lied on mine, though I’m white and so are my parents)…especially teachers of BIOLOGY should freaking understand adoption, you know?

    • Thank you for your reply! Yes, sometimes I find myself really frustrated with people who don’t understand, but I think that if we can inform others of what our situations are and what we have to go through, it will help others see what it’s like.

      • Yeah, I remember teacher’s giving the ‘family tree’ assignment in class. It went one of two ways…I either did a detailed lie of a tree using my adoptive family Or I wrote down me and my birthmom and her two kids (the only information I knew) and turned it in. Teacher’s couldn’t get mad at me for that, but mostly I did it to be an a-hole and show them that cookie cutter assignments don’t work well for students…I know we need to learn about punnett squares, but without marginalizing people…they could have asked you to take your traits and guess based on them, working backward, what your parents looked like, ya know?

      • I definitely think it could have gone smoother, especially because I was not the only adopted kid in the school. I can understand the mistake happening once, but I hope that teachers learn from it and understand that family dynamics are always different for each person. Perhaps two options (make-up your own story or base it off your family) should always be given for students when dealing with family-related projects. Adoptees are not the only ones who may suffer from assignments that require personal, family information. In my case though, I hope my teacher has learned and remembered specifically what an adoptee may have to go through.

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