Heading back to school is both exciting and nerve-wracking for all children and parents. However, adoptive parents recognize that their child may face unique challenges.
Here are a few tips to prepare yourself, your child and your child’s teacher for the new school year.
Talk family tree alternatives
When teachers assign activities, such as creating a family tree or finding baby pictures, they may not recognize the emphasis they’re putting on biological connections over other familial relationship. Talk to teachers ahead of time about alternatives that could be used for these types of assignments, such as creating family “meadows” or “forests" that may allow other community members, such as neighbors and family friends.
Be proactive about ethnicity and racial issues
Especially for young children, it’s important to promote positive racial awareness and sensitivity early on. Encourage your child and the teacher to put together a presentation demonstrating your child’s cultural ties to his or her birthplace.
The teacher may also consider discussing Jane Elliott’s famous “Blue eyes-Brown eyes” exercise.
Prepare your child for insensitive questions
Tell your child that he or she may be asked awkward questions, such as, “Why do you look different than your parents?” or “Why were you put up for adoption?” While these insensitive questions are never easy to answer, your child may have an easier time coming up with a response if you’ve talked about it beforehand.
Tell your child how lucky you feel to have found them. Advise him or her to tell children at school that your family was meant to find each other. You can also tell your child to answer any uncomfortable questions by saying, “It’s a long story” or “I’d rather not get into it now.”
If you are interested in adoption, but are concerned about handling the social and legal complexities surrounding it, talk to a Family Law attorney about your options. A Family Law attorney can help you look over all of your adoption options to help determine what types of adoptions may be easiest for you as a new parent.