Saturday, July 23, 2011
Let the Fun Begin (School Forms, That Is)
I was so excited to receive Miss E's packet of preschool paperwork a few weeks ago. As a teacher, I'm all about the backpacks, pencils, bulletin boards, and paperwork. Yes, I am a weird-o who enjoys paperwork. :)
Some of the paperwork reminds me how unique our family is. For one, we are asked to bring a family photo to our child's first day of school for a special project. I immediately started thinking, should I include one of us with Miss E's bio mom and siblings? (Husband says, no.)
Then I started filling out forms. One of which asks what else I can share that would help the teachers better understand my child. The first thing that popped into my mind after "very social" and a "strong leader" (yep, already, at 2.5 years old), was "adopted."
I don't want Miss E to be labeled as "adopted," yet it's so obvious. And, we are proudly an adoptive family. And because we have open adoptions, Miss E might be bringing up the names of birth family members to classmates and teachers. Should I clue those teachers in?
How much of an adopted child's life demonstrates they are unique and celebrated due to that uniqueness and how much of it makes them stand out "like a sore thumb" to where it becomes detrimental? And as an adoptive parent with a young child, what sort of standard or tradition do I set now, this early on, in terms of what we share with teachers?
Miss E proudly tells people, just as she did at the library yesterday to a 3 year old little girl, her name followed by, "I'm adopted!" :) She loves all the books we have on adoption, and in fact, knows, I would say for her age, a fair amount about race. She says, "I'm brown" and tells me that I'm "pink." She loves a new children's book which focuses on the Underground Railroad where the word "FREEDOM" is stated time and time again. (She walks around whispering it. So cute!)
I guess one of my fears is that if I don't share enough of Miss E's story, the general population (including educators) who are naive about adoption might try to "fill in" or teach Miss E something that isn't accurate or could even be offensive (unintentionally, of course). I want to, to some degree, beat them to the topic so I can, from the get-go, present adoption in a positive, confident way.
Maybe I just leave it up to Miss E. She's well-spoken for her age, oddly adult at times, and confident.
Perhaps I sit back and wait. See if there are questions or concerns. And if there aren't, fine. And if there are, fine.
I'd love to hear from experienced adoptive parents on this topic: your stories, your thoughts, your questions.
At the end of the day, we all want what is best for our children.
GREAT blog post on black hair. It's a letter-of-sorts to people who think they can touch a brown kid's hair. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!
Another great blog post from my friend Crystal whom I had the pleasure of meeting IRL last month. Forward the link on to family members and/or friends who try to make you feel "less than" because you are adopting.
And for my d-friends, some adventures in diabetes with pictures to support my drama. :)
Finally, this organization does some great things for kids. I hope you'll check it out and see if you qualify to host a child.