“We felt like adoption was a good way to start a family,” said Patrick, whose wife was familiar with Asian culture due to frequent business trips to Japan. “So we began looking into programs. And I will tell you it is the best decision we have ever made.”
After the Denny family had gone through an extensive examination, six-month-old Geena was placed with her new family, then living in Rochester, N.Y. When Geena was 4-years-old, they moved to Andover.
“You just get randomly assigned a family, and I lucked out with a great one,” said Geena. “As soon as I could understand they told me I was adopted. They really had to tell me since they are both blond with curly hair. I think it is much easier I knew early. It would have been tough to find out later.”
Once Geena entered school, the Denny family was very open about their family construction.
“When I was young my mother would come into my class and talk about adoption,” said Geena. “She probably did it every year through third grade. We never hid it.”
But while the Denny family worked to educate, the occasional question as still asked.
“Sometimes kids wouldn’t understand why I didn’t look like my parents,” she said. “It was a little strange to meet coaches because at first they couldn’t make the connection. People will still say, ‘I know someone who was adopted.’ I tell them, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to seem relatable.’
“I remember once I got in a fight with a girl who said, ‘At least I wasn’t abandoned at birth.’ That was sad. But, for the most part, when people ask it doesn’t really bother me. Being adopted isn’t something that I think about. My friends don’t see me as any different. Once you get into high school no one really stands out.”