My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘child’

Philadelphia Mommy Blogger Must Decide How To Count Her Kids…

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

OK, I hate “Mommy Blogs.” Seriously. Don’t ever make me read them. I’d rather be sentenced to hard labor. Nonetheless, here’s a fine blog post from a mother in Philly who doesn’t want to differentiate between her “adopted” and “biologicial” children on her 2010 Census form:

Biological or Adopted? and Filling out the 2010 Census

Censusquest_2443-med Today has been a busy day of filling out forms – camper registration, health form, emergency contact information, autism grant application, back-up camp forms (in case we decide to send my son to a “special needs” camp), nursing home application (for my mother in law – and by far the most difficult of the forms I tackled today) and two rebate forms. What an exciting thing to do an a beautiful weekend afternoon.

Oh yeah, I also just finished filling out the 2010 Census form.

This is the third census form I’ve filled out as an adult. It gives me a sense of fulfilling my civic duty, just like when I vote. It took me about ten minutes to fill it out. It probably would have taken less time except I was a bit taken aback when I got to question two when I was entering the information for my two sons. That question asks how this person is related to Person 1 (the first person entered in the form). The options you can check are “biological son or daughter,” “adopted son or daughter,” or “stepson or stepdaughter.”

I suppose if we hadn’t created our family the way we did I wouldn’t think twice about it, but we did, and I do, and the question upset me a little.

At first I was irritated that I was being asked to differentiate between my two children. They are both my sons! They both took a hell of a lot of my blood, sweat and tears to get them here. And since we weren’t able to create a family the “old fashioned” way, they both cost us a damn lot of money to get them here too. So why do I need to indicate that my oldest is my “adopted” son? He’s no different from my youngest son as far as being my son. I’m hard pressed to think of any rational for this differentiation and my quick search on-line didn’t help me either.
But then I started to fill out the information for my youngest and I was actually stumped. Because he doesn’t really fit either of the three options if you want to get down and dirty technical with it. Because despite the fact that I was pregnant with him and gave birth to him, he is not genetically related to me or my husband. Since he is the result of embryo donation can I technically consider him my biological child?

I looked up the definition of “biological” and on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary it defines it as “connected by direct genetic relationship rather than by adoption or marriage.” On the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition and the The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary it is defined as “related by blood or genetic lineage.”

I assume that when they came up with the questions for this census something like embryo adoption didn’t factor in there. I guess egg donation and sperm donation didn’t either. It’s actually a little tricky when you fill out the form, because depending on who you list as person number 1 dictates how you would “technically” answer this question. Do a Google search and see how this question is troubling the LGBT community.

Of course I filled out the form and answered all the questions and it will be in the mail tomorrow. Despite my irritation at that question I know it is important that everyone be counted. It certainly got me thinking though, and more interested in why the Census asks what it does and how information like “adopted or biological” will be used.

So did you send your Census back yet? And if you did, what did you think of that question, especially if you have “biological” kids? Did you think the options were strange?

This is an original Philly Moms Blog post. Kristine also writes on her personal blog, Mommy Needs Therapy or a Bottle of Wine, where she chronicles the good, the bad, and the crazy of her life as a mother, wife and woman.

Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office