What Does Adoption Have to Do With Poisoning Your Mom?

poisonThe calendar says 2010, but didn't you know you can't always believe what you read? A recent spate of headlines about a teen girl who tried to poison her mother with insecticide and put dog poop in the mom's food makes it sound an awful lot like 1908.

That was the year L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery published Anne of the Green Gables, the story of the orphan girl Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are repeatedly warned not to adopt -- after all, adopted girls are known to go nuts and put strychnine in the well.

So you'll excuse the deja vu when we read the headline on AOL News: "Police: Girl Tried to Poison Adoptive Family With Bug Spray" in the case of Janet Tinoco's poop-laden dinner.


And this lead over at Gather: "A 13-year-old girl is accused of poisoning her adoptive family in the Orlando, Florida area."

We get it. She was adopted. Which means the people she tried to poison are her family.

Not her adoptive family. In 2010, we are supposed to finally recognize that families can be made in a number of ways: sperm donation, surrogacy, re-marriage and, yes, adoption.

So when was the last time you read a news story that warns a child born to a surrogate attacked her biological mother who didn't carry her in her womb?

The world is full of crazies. Proof: People of Walmart.

You don't have to be adopted to apply.

Just ask Lyle and Erik Menendez. They were the biological crazies children who killed mom Kitty and dad Jose back in 1989. Or look to Lizzie Borden. One of the world's most famous axe-wielding nuts is said to have killed her flesh and blood daddy in addition to her stepmother (although, to be fair, it was never proven).

Adoption advocates came together last year to protest the Hollywood film Orphan which depicted an adopted girl much as the Cuthberts were warned Anne could turn out. They worried it would turn people off from adoption.

That was just a movie. But these real-life examples of adoption being thrown out as a descriptor rather than a footnote in a child's history are that much more dangerous.

Just as Angelina Jolie's kids are all hers -- and the media needs to stop separating "her adopted son Maddox" from her "biological twins Knox and Vivienne" -- once kids are in a family, it doesn't matter how they got there. They're part of the family. 

Janet Tinoco may be suffering at the hands of the daughter she adopted, but she's still her mother.


Image via Cavin/Flickr

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