school assignments and adopted childrenQ: Should you ask your child’s teacher to alter school assignments that might make your adopted child feel out of place or different?​

A: Adoption social worker LeAnne Carnes says that with the number of adopted children increasing and the definition of family changing, there is a need for more inclusive lessons in the classroom. Asking the teacher to alter school assignments to be more inclusive can be very helpful to many children in the class.

However, it’s not necessary to tell the teacher your child’s entire story to request inclusive assignments. It’s possible to request inclusive lessons in the classroom out of concern for any child who doesn’t have a “traditional” family or who may not know their entire history. For example if you are aware that the teacher will be asking the students to create a timeline of their life, you can request that the assignment not require it to start at the child’s birth but just to cover a period of the child’s life or to have the child record a memory at each age that they are able remember. This way a child who doesn’t have his/her complete history can be included and not made to feel different or out of place. Of course, it’s up to each parent to determine how much of their child’s story should be told and may depend upon the relationship that has been forged with the teacher.

LeAnne Carnes is an adoption social worker and the Vice President of Children’s Connection Inc. For more information on this topic, listen to the Creating a Family radio show: “School Issues for Adopted Kids and Families” and visit our blog: “7 Tips for Adoptive Parents at the Beginning of School Year“.

Image credit: Elizabeth Albert