Sunday, January 25, 2009

A New Euphemism

I was reading my local paper this morning, and they had published an article from the LA Times from a few days ago. It was about how genetic testing has led to people uncovering family secrets.

In what has to be the funniest thing I've read in the newspaper in a long time, the author of the article summarizes the hardest surprises uncovered by genetic testing:

As genetic testing becomes more widespread for medical information, forensics and ancestral research, more people are accidentally uncovering family secrets. Among the most painful are so-called "non-paternity events," cases in which Dad turns out to be someone else.

A "non-paternity event." A "non-paternity event"? I know what the term means, obviously. But how much euphemism do we really need to say that the man you thought was your dad wasn't really your dad?

The article goes on to ask the following question:

How many of us are not our fathers' children?

And I think that's when this article really became about adoption for me. I know hundreds of people who are not their fathers' children. Nor their mothers'. People who have experienced both non-paternity AND non-maternity events. So I can feel for people who might uncover this.

I'm just not sure we need the new euphemism suggested in the article to describe the experience of finding out you were (are) being raised by people who aren't your blood relations.

The story from the LA Times: DNA can reveal ancestors' lies and secrets.

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