Thursday, August 20, 2015

School and Adoption Sensitivity: Adoption Talk Link-Up

Before I became a stay-at-home-mom/writer, I taught college writing for eight years.  During these eight years, I learned a lot about what my students needed and how I, as their teacher, could provide those things for them to ensure they had the best learning experience possible.    Compound this education with becoming a mom by adoption (x3), and I've figured out that there are some things I need to do for my children's teachers, in terms of adoption, to make sure my kids have a great school year.

My second daughter, a preschooler, is being homeschooled this year.  As you've probably noticed, I've shared about this a lot in the past month, with the publication of my new homeschooling book.

My oldest daughter attended half-day kindergarten (at a public school) last year, and she is now in full day first grade at the same school.   It is important to me, always to protect my kids' personal adoption stories, but there are some things I feel the teachers need to know, including:
  • Adoption is an open conversation in our home.  There are no secrets.  Therefore, the child may choose to freely talk about adoption at school.   However, we've empowered our child to know she doesn't have to answer questions about her adoption if she chooses not to.  
  • Adoption is obviously how we built our family, but we aren't an "adoptive family."  We are a family.
  • Adoption is complex and bittersweet.  If questions or concerns arise, please ask me!  
  • I'll happily provide resources for the classroom or school library; this includes adoption resources and resources created by/featuring African Americans.  
  • We refer to birth siblings and "siblings," therefore, you might here my child mention names of kids who aren't in our family.  
  • We have open adoptions, so our child may talk about visits or communication with her biological family.  
  • Sometimes my child may struggle with separation or transitions.  This might because of adoption, and it may not be.  But either way, I want you to be aware of it.   I let the teacher know the best way to help my child with times of separation or transition.  (For us, it's hugs.)
  • School projects that involve the child's earliest days or biological information aren't difficult for us, as we adopted our kids at birth and have a lot of their information; however, these projects might need to be tailored at times to fit our unique family dynamic (and the different family dynamics of other classmates).  Please be flexible and let us adjust the assignments as needed.   For example, we don't really have a family tree.  It's more like a family orchard.  


  1. Thank you for sharing these points for other families to consider sharing with their teachers if they are applicable to their child/family. Also- congrats on your new homeschooling book! :)

  2. These are such great points! A lot of them are fitting for our family. It made me smile to hear you call it a family orchard, thats what we always call it too.


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