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Adoption in the Classroom

When helping your child get ready for school, what should you be aware of? Adoption experts and fellow adoptive parents offer their input.

By the time your child heads off to preschool or kindergarten, adoption talks are likely well-established in your family. Your child understands adoption, as best a three- or five-year-old can. Friends and relatives know how your child joined your family. You've learned how to deflect nosy comments from strangers at the park or doctor’s office. In your circle, adoption is normal, ordinary -- it's just the way you did it.

When your child enters school, however, her circle suddenly expands. She'll spend her days with adults and children you rarely see, and probably didn't know beforehand. So, it's natural for parents to wonder: Should I tell my child's school that she was adopted? Her teacher? What questions might she be asked by her classmates, and how do we prepare her to answer? How might adoption come up in the classroom, and how would her teacher respond if it did? And this line of questioning is renewed each September -- Mrs. K last year was great when we asked to adapt the family tree assignment; will my child's teacher this year be as sensitive to adoption?

You're not alone in grappling with such questions. We've been there, and so have countless others. In this special section, we present advice from adoption experts and personal stories from fellow parents. They discuss how to team up with the teacher, prepare your child to answer questions, make an adoption presentation in the classroom, adapt tricky assignments, and more.


  • Is Your Child Ready for School?
    She has her backpack, pencils, and notebook. But does she know how to field adoption questions that might come her way?

  • Should I Tell Her Teacher?
    I haven't decided not to tell my daughter's preschool that she was adopted, but, so far, I haven't told.

  • A Memo to My Fellow Teachers
    When it comes to adoption, instructors need to check their curriculum and their stereotypes.

  • My Most Pressing Back-to-School Task
    After bringing up race and adoption with my children's teachers at the start of each academic year, I always feel worried and hyper-vigilant. But, invariably, they get it.

  • School Savvy
    Prepare for awkward school assignments now, and you’ll soon be watching from the sidelines as your children handle them with grace...

  • "Just Like Mrs. Bear"
    With the right props and preparation, my adoption presentation to my son's first-grade class went wonderfully. He was proud to be a part of it, and I was proud of him.

Photo: Gabby (5, China) heads off to her first day of kindergarten.

Share your child's school photos with the adoptive community in the School Days Adoption Photo Album on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle

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