School Issues for Adopted Kids and Families

Adoption issues sometime arise at school and adoptive parents need to be prepared. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews two adoption social workers: LeAnne Carnes, Vice President of Children’s Connection Inc; and Danielle Goodman, Regional and District Supervisor with Adoptions From The Heart.

Hit the Highlights
  • With open adoptions as the norm, and fully open adoptions with contact becoming more common, should adoptive parents let teachers know at the beginning of the year who is who?
  • How best to help give teachers the preferred adoption friendly language? I heard recently of a first grade teacher asking about the child’s “real” mother when referring to his birth mother.
  • Why you would need to say anything about adoption to the school, especially if your child was adopted as a baby? What does it matter, and why does the school need to know.
  • How to handle the negative stereotypes about adoption.
  • How much info on your child’s history do you need to share with teachers? What if child has been sexually abused and on occasion acts overly sexual? How to balance sharing information to help your child vs. over sharing?
  • How to handle when children “over share” their history because they don’t feel ashamed?
  • Privacy vs. secrecy
  • Learning issues that may be due to early life experiences or prenatal exposures. Is it important for the school personnel to know the cause or just that the child struggles.
  • How to be proactive at the beginning of the school year with learning disabilities and IEPs? How soon to get moving on this if you child doesn’t have an IEP, but you think she might need one?
  • How to help your child’s school be inclusive of all types of families, including transracial families thru adoption? Suggestions on what we can do to help make it that way without overstepping our bounds?
  • Typical school assignments that may cause problems for adoptive families and tips for handling.
    • Baby picture assignments
    • Family Tree assignments-family orchard
    • Assignments that ask about birth stories
  • Checklist for adoptive parents at the beginning of the school year.

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Image Credit: woodleywonderworks