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Adoption and Remote Learning

As an unprecedented school year looms before us, many unanswered questions remain. The beginning of school is always a stressful time for parents and families—add a pandemic and adoption into the mix, and there are truly no rules. Parents will now be tasked as the gatekeepers of their child’s education. This is stressful beyond comprehension, but it does provide an opportunity to meeting some of the more common “adopted-and-school-aged” challenges head-on.

Will the teacher use adoption-positive language? Will there be literature that supports and normalizes adoption? Will my child make friends? You are your child’s biggest advocate and by establishing a clear line of communication and expectations – you are setting them up for success. This year, more than ever, you’ll have insight into your child’s mindset as they’re taking in these lessons. How can you support them with the adoption reasons you already have at home?

Add some adoption literature to your school supply list. Introducing your child’s curriculum to adoption-centric literature can help set an adoption–positive narrative in the classroom. The Cradle has a great list of children’s literature that explains adoption in age-appropriate terms. Enlist your child for help in picking out the books to ensure they are finding books that speak to what they’re feeling.

Beware the “family tree” assignment. This is a common assignment – tracing the roots of your family back to its origin. What about children who don’t have access to their own biological family tree? Encourage the teacher to include more options to build your family tree off of: a root for biological parents, a branch for biological grandparents. Not every family has the same lineage and by adding more “inclusive” options you are really giving a child the chance to tell their story. Adoptive Families has an excellent pictograph highlighting how to “tackle tricky” assignments.

The hardest part about integrating your child into a classroom that isn’t fully inclusive to their situation is wondering about the effects it will have on their mental health and self-esteem. Get ahead of this by opening a dialogue with your child’s teacher. It can range from an in-depth conversation to simply sharing resources that have worked for your family. It’s no secret that schools often don’t have the staff or resources to give significant 1:1 time or to curate their lesson plans to individual students. That’s why it’s so important to share your knowledge—you are part of the solution. You know your child better than anyone else and until you find a ideal solution, be proud and confident that you are doing the best for your child.