As your child enters school and progresses through the grades, you may find that many teachers and fellow students don’t understand modern adoption and are unsure how to address the subject.
Being proactive by sharing information and discussing the topic with your child’s teacher can significantly benefit your child. Not only that, but it will also provide a benefit to their teacher and the other students in your child’s class. Here are 3 ways teachers can involve adoption in your child’s classroom.
1. Ask the teacher if they can read an age-appropriate adoption book during storytime. There are some amazing children’s books about adoption out there. You could donate several books to your child’s classroom so the topic can be covered again and as your child outgrows the books you have, consider donating to the school library. Here are some book suggestions:
My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson (for three to five-year-old children)
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis (for ages four to ten)
Built Together by Mina Starsiak (for ages four to eight)
My Forever Mommy by Jacqui Bester (good for babies up to age 10)
2. Celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month. November is recognized nationwide as National Adoption Awareness Month. You can promote adoption awareness by educating fellow parents.
One Lifetime adoptive couple in Texas shared with us that they provided parents with handouts explaining the beauty of adoption. These handouts included advice on how parents could talk about adoption with their children, and how to encourage them to be accepting of their adopted classmates.
Visit NationalAdoptionAwarenessMonth.com for other ideas on how you can promote adoption awareness.
3. Watch out for confusing assignments. At the beginning of the school year, have a conversation with your child’s teacher to ask about any assignments that may cause confusion or anxiety for your child. The assignment doesn’t need to be cancelled, but the instructions might need to be tweaked a little.
The “Family Tree” is a common assignment that may be confusing and difficult for an adopted child whose background may be different from their classmates. With just a few changes, this task can give all the children more opportunities to be creative and show their family how they see it. Check out some great ideas for alternative family trees that are even printable for your teacher.
“Bring a Baby Picture” and “Create a Timeline” assignments can also cause some issues. If you adopted an older child, you might not have baby pictures or a timeline of their early years. The teacher might simply change the assignment to “bring your favorite picture.” For a timeline assignment, the teacher might leave the start and end time up to the child.
For a complete list of assignments and the tools to help you and your child’s teacher handle them, you can view the Center for Adoption Policy’s publication “Adoption Awareness in School Assignments.”
School is a fun and wonderful time for kids. It can also be a little nerve-wracking when adoption circumstances collide with assignments. Preparing for some of these bumps in the road will help you, the teacher, and your child.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”