Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dear Sugar: School and Younger Adoptees, What Parents Need to Know

Dear Sugar:

It's back-to-school time!   Most of us who have adopted consider what we will or won't share with our child's teacher regarding adoption.   If you're struggling, here are a essential questions to ask:

1:  What info is essential in order for my child to have a successful year academically?

2:  What info is essential so that my child will have a socially successful year?  

3:  What info will help the teacher better understand and respond to my child? 

4:  Who else do I need to pull into the conversation (social worker, principal, therapists, etc.)? 

5:  What is must-share now and what is "wait and see"?

6:  What info do I need to keep private, because remember once info is shared it cannot ever be taken back?  

7:  What does my child want shared?  

Each year our children's teachers have invited us to fill out a form OR write a letter to them about our child.   This is usually information like the things that motivate the child, things the child struggles with, and then there's always a "what else?" section.   That's where adoption comes in.  

I highly recommend putting something in writing.  At the beginning of a year, teachers are so incredibly busy and overwhelmed. Having info in writing can be more helpful than a one-time conversation. 

Here are some things I usually include:

-domestic infant adoption (not foster care or international which can have different implications) 

-open adoption (because our children WILL talk about their bio siblings and parents, as well as trips to visit them---like what they did; also for the teacher to keep in mind that some assignments may need modification, such as the family tree assignment)

-who is in our immediate family

-an invitation to ask me questions or request resources 


-check in from time-to-time, especially after open-adoption visits or assignments that needed modifications.

-set up an adoption display at the school library during National Adoption Month; offer to run a training for the teachers on adoption

-donate a few adoption picture books to your child's classroom library.   Here are some of my recommendations: 

What has worked for you in the past?  What do you plan to do differently this year?  Let's chat about what has and hasn't worked for us and share ideas!  

-This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

1 comment:

  1. This is SO SO good! Thanks for sharing this.
    My daughter is only in preschool but last year I sent her teacher an email about our family, adoption, my daughters personality. I also asked about how the preschool class addressed diversity and offered to come into the classroom to talk to the students or send books that the teacher could utilize.
    I will send a similar email this year and also add an update on how many daughter is doing since last spring.


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