To tell or not to tell?
“How much information do I need to share? Am I being overly sensitive or
is my child’s teacher being insensitive?
Will my concerns be taken into consideration?” These are all questions adoptive families
struggle with when trying to educate
teachers and administrators on adoption related issues.
Parents have to decide who to share information with and how
information to share. Every situation will vary but in general parents will
have to decide “How can my child benefit from sharing this information?” It can be a fine line between advocating for
versus labeling a child.
Benefits may include the teacher being more aware of gaps in
learning, addressing behavioral issues, children who separation anxiety or have
a hard time transitioning from one task to another, attention, and family tree
assignments. It also gives parents the ability to learn more about services
that are offered by the local public school system. Many services are available that may assist
your child in the classroom like speech therapy, tutoring, classroom
assistance, or an individual education plan.
Sharing a limited amount of information with your child’s
teacher may also provide you with the opportunity to be an “ambassador of
adoption.” For younger children you may
be able to read a book about adoption to your child’s class for older children
participating in a cultural activity. I’ve taught preschoolers and elementary
age children to count to ten in Russian, and taken tea cakes and beets to
school for the kids to sample. Keeping
the lines of communication open are important to help your child navigate the
classroom successfully. Questions
school age children are often asked at school:
Where is your real Mom?
Didn’t she want you?
Why were you adopted?
How do you know what you will look like when you
Are you going to try to find your real family?
Both children and
adults need a working understanding of adoption. Preparing children with open
honest information helps then normalize the concept of adoption. It may help them deflect loaded questions and
allow them to move from “he’s adopted” to cool his parents chose him.
Labels: Adoption 101, Adoption Support, Back to School, Mom's, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Positive Words, Pre-adoption Education