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Questions from the backseat: What country would I represent in the Olympics?


With the Winter Olympics in full swing, we have been watching each night.  My boys are taken with the sliding sports!  Early on came the question of, “what country would I represent in the Olympics?”

Emulating the Winter Olympic sliding sports

During the opening ceremonies the commentator talked about Julia Marino being the first Paraguayan Winter Olympian.  She was adopted as a baby and raised in a town next to us.  When asked about this Marino said, “The Olympics are about representing where you are from, and Paraguay is where I’m from.” (, 18 Dec 2013)  This was not lost on either of my sons.

Making a "skeleton" run

Then there was the gold medalist in the snowboard halfpipe who was born in Russia but competed for Switzerland.  Now he wasn’t adopted, his family moved.  The idea that you could represent a country other than the one you were born in, or live in, was interesting.  It brought up questions and spurred conversation.  Might they get to the Olympics, not by being the best in the USA where there is greater competition, but by competing in the country of their birth where there are fewer people competing?  We did let my boys know you still have to qualify by winning on the world stage, but that you might get the chance to compete in a country with fewer athletes in your sport.  Is that fair or right?  Great discussions to have with young active boys!

Not all runs are successful!

It never ceases to amaze me how little things bring up adoption issues in our family.  Where you live may influence your language and culture, but genetics and history will always play a part in who you are.  I’m glad my boys are thinking about their options.  Will they be Olympic athletes?  I’ll be happy for them to enjoy actively participating in what ever sport they choose.

About Philip Griffith

I am a Certified Personal Photo Organizer. I love helping people tell their stories using photos and memorabilia. I grew up with photos and home movies always being shown and shared as part of normal family life. When we adopted our first son, I wanted to make a lifebook for him. I've been telling our family stories with photos ever since.

  1. Philip, I think you and Susan are so wise to openly discuss the boys’ heritage with them. It will result in them being secure in your love and thus happier with themselves and their lives. You’re good parents.

    • Thanks Stacy. I can honestly say I didn’t come up with this. Just following the advice of people who have been dealing with adoption and foster care issues for much longer than we have been parents. The biggest advice that we received was that this is an ongoing conversation.

  2. Philip,
    Your posts are often thought provoking. I love that adoption is part of your family’s ongoing dialogue rather than a once and done approach. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Ann, Thanks for your feedback. We never know when one of these conversations will pop up. The trick is being willing to engage them with our boys.

  3. Philip, how great is that your boys have a choice! Your Questions from the Back Seat blog really underlines what great parents you and Susan have been – children who openly communicate and are unafraid to ask about and share views on life are destined to be well adjusted adults. I look forward to reading more stories and “watching” them grow up into fine young men:)

    • Thanks Daina, We’re about a year away from the teen years and that is what all our work with lifebooks and fostering open dialog has been aimed at. I pray they will both grow into fine young men full of grace and wisdom.


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